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Consumers Drop Magazines For Online Media

Printed magazines are continuing to see a decline in sales while online and digital editions continue to grow. Does this spell the end for magazines? Are you still buying paper-based products? Share your thoughts below.

| General Photography

Consumers Drop Magazines For Online Media: Printed magazine titles are still having a rather tough time, according to the latest figures published by the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). 

Print sales for those titles sitting under the rather large magazine umbrella are down by 6.5% in the last six months of 2014, when compared with the previous year, said the BBC. This isn't to say that some titles aren't seeing growth but many, including those in the photography magazine sector, aren't really seeing great circulation rises. In fact, year-on-year results show that many magazines grouped under the photography heading are seeing a percentage loss of figures ranging from 5 - 25%. 


Digital Is On The Up

However, it's not all doom-and-gloom as figures show a rise in the popularity of digital editions of magazines, plus many are also turning their attention to the online market as well. Amateur Photographer, Digital Camera Magazine, N Photo and Photo Plus are among the photography titles which saw growth in the year-on-year percentage figures for their digital editions. This goes to show that the photography magazine business can be reinvented, even if it's at a mediocre pace. We say 'mediocre' as digital edition figures are nowhere near those of the print editions but you do have to remember these have been around a lot longer than their digital counterpart and it may take a while to persuade those who really love the paper edition to switch to something they can only view on their screens. Although, if you take a look at the top 100 digital edition results published by MediaWeek quite a few photography titles are featured, with specialist magazine N Photo taking the highest spot placing 20th in the list, which can only be a positive thing for the photographic magazine industry's continued growth and popularity in the digital age.


Are Magazines Soon To Be A Thing Of The Past?

As well as digital editions, which tend to be copies of the paper-based magazines presented in a way that makes them viewable on iPads etc., websites and online communities continue to grow in popularity and photographers now, more than ever, have plenty of options to choose from. Plus, various publications are now paying more attention to their online presence and are continuing to make improvements to their websites so they can continue to compete in this very popular area of the consumer market. 

Take ePHOTOzine, for example, we were the first photo site to have our traffic independently verified by ABC and we continue to lead the way in the online photography magazine industry. We're mobile friendly, something many sites are now having to be to give visitors a better viewing experience, and we continue to develop the site to ensure we stay on every photographer's radar. Yes, we don't, and never have, had a paper publication but this means that from the start, all of our efforts and time were, and continue to be, focused towards our online platform. By doing so, we are able to bring our audience content faster, news almost instantly and users only have to switch on their tablet, phone or computer to keep up-to-date with all the latest goings-on in the photographic industry.


Consumers Drop Magazines For Online Media:


Online And Digital Is King

So, how is ePHOTOzine and other online sites succeeding in a market that's seeing declines in the more traditional methods of reaching an audience? A survey conducted back in 2012, which can be found on Statista, suggests the main 2 reasons consumers began walking away from paper-based products was the cost and their own lack of time. Websites get around these issues by offering free access to content, often with an option to upgrade to a paid-for service if it's wanted, plus they're often easy to navigate and access meaning users can quickly look at what specifically interests them and skim for relevant information without having to actually leave their home to purchase a magazine. From a business point of view, websites give advertisers direct contact with those specifically interested in their products. Instead of a creative sitting on a page in a magazine, adverts are actually interactive and clickable, taking users directly to brand websites where more information or even purchases can be made.

The mentality of needing to have everything instantly and at the touch of a button also plays in the favour of websites and digital magazines as information can literally be online in minutes whereas with some paper-based products, you have to wait a week or even a month to see what's new. Of course, you'll always have an audience that will continue to purchase a magazine for the simple fact that they really like them. Some collect them, storing them for reference as they have done for decades while others still stand by the fact that it's much safer to take a copy of a magazine in the bath than it is an iPad! However, this won't stop the changes that have to be made and different methods of working the industry is now having to adapt to stay relevant in this increasingly tech-driven world. 


Change Has To Happen

Commenting on the latest ABC report Barry McIlheney, CEO of the PPA (Professional Publishers Association), said: "This release also serves as a reminder of our sector's changing dynamics. The linear measure of magazine readership is now being superseded by a more layered measure of magazine brand communities, and their reach across multiple platforms." His statement, published on the PPA website, sums up what's happening to the photographic and consumer magazine industry as a whole which is seeing a switch in focus to diversity and the exploration of how technology, the internet and electronic devices such as tablets are becoming a more prominent method for how consumers learn, interact and share information. It'll be interesting to see how the next set of ABC figures reflect this and how the print magazine industry will adapt. 

Do you still read magazines, have you switched to digital editions or have you migrated to just accessing information via websites instead? Feel free to share your comments below. 

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