The era of the digital revolution: is print dead?
Welcoming and embracing the digital age is the only way any media outlet can survive in a world so immersed in technology and all its advances, but is print media on its way out? To keep a publication afloat, an organisation must first and foremost think ‘digital first’ or else it will be doomed to failure, as many perceive that the appetite for print publications is slowly, but certainly, declining. I well and truly refute that statement. To me, print opens up a plethora of creative opportunities. If done well, it can be a visionary space combining the talents of many, or a few, where wonderful ideas can be explored or imagined.
I grew up reading print magazines, so Glamour, Vogue and Dazed etc. all hold a special place in my heart. As much as it is important to evolve with digital innovation, I think that neglecting print is a definite mistake. A real magazine can mean so much more than a flow of online articles, it’s a form of escapism – escaping into a dream world satiated with feminism and empowerment and innovation. All I’m seeing online these days are copious amounts of listicles – ’20 of the best new mascaras’ etc. and compared to how special and meaningful print articles can be, it all just comes across as worthless filler content. Complete drivel in other words. As less and less people are reading print copies of publications, outlets must perpetually think of new ways to evolve along with the ever-changing world of technology, which I think is a truly dismal outcome because more and more people are perceiving digital-only platforms to be the only way forward.
Why is print so great?
While the internet is so immersive and accessible, it can also be a bit frenetic – taking the time to read a magazine can provide a peaceful alternative to the endless distractions we all experience daily. It’s a quiet and refreshing moment in an otherwise hectic day, and I think print should always have a place in peoples’ homes. Reading through an article online doesn’t really compare with the sheer tactile gratification I get when I see how much work people have put into making a magazine so beautiful. Plus, if you read it in the bath it’s not going to malfunction and die like any piece of technology, so everyone’s a winner!
As the internet and digital aspects of showcasing news to the people is slowly eroding the need for print, organisations are finding ways to keep news sustainable as there is already an infinite supply online. They know that they must face difficult challenges, but outlets must think of new ways to keep the way they present news fresh and exciting, to continue holding the attention of the consumer. Previously, I thought that the ‘death of print’ was a huge exaggeration, but it turns out that some of my favourite magazines are now making the journey to becoming digital-only. Glamour, for example, recently made this announcement. I was absolutely gutted when I heard this. I’ve been reading Glamour religiously for about a decade, with it being the only magazine I make a point of purchasing monthly.
The myth of 'digital first'
The ’digital first’ strategy means that Glamour will only be releasing two glossy print issues a year, and anyone with introspective insight into the industry will understand that declining print sales are the issue. By 2022, the market for print will be almost a quarter smaller than it had been about 10 years ago. Revenues and cover sales are expected to continue falling as the years progress, with sales declining 18 percent by 2021, according to the New Statesman.
Although the feeling of decline is pervading the magazine industry, I feel that there is still hope yet. I’m definitely not speaking on behalf of everyone when I say this but, I feel that a magazine is something that I share an affinity with. It can be anything from a vessel of inspiration, to a stunning piece of art (if done well). A magazine is a beacon of diversity all in one place – something that digital platforms can fail to showcase at times. Plus, the richness of content is something you may not find online and is guaranteed not to vanish amongst the multitude of articles you read digitally. I think that magazines can engage your senses and they can provide a sense of connectivity in ways that technology will never be able to.
What do you think?
The Glittery Goose x