How to Future-Proof Your Print Magazines (

There is no denying that it has mostly been a rough decade for print media. Many of the brands that have survived, however, appear poised for a profitable future by leaning into print as a pivotal part of their strategy, rather than merely preserving a dying platform.

Following a year of continued consolidations and layoffs at several mass-market publications, some insiders see opportunities ahead. Doug Olson, president of Meredith Magazines, says that the company’s acquisition of Time Inc., completed a year ago, illustrates its positive outlook.

“We’re very bullish and excited about the awesome portfolio that we have,” Olson says. “If we didn’t believe that magazines and brands matter, we wouldn’t have done the deal.”

Still, the business model is changing. The top 50 magazine advertisers spent a combined 6 percent less on print in 2017 than in the previous year, according to data from the MPA, the Association of Magazine Media.

“I don’t think anyone thinks that ad revenue is going to dramatically increase in the future,” says Gregory Gatto, executive VP at Bonnier Media. “It would be great if it did, but I don’t think that’s in the cards.”

In response, successful publishers are turning to subscribers to make up for lost revenue, creating lower frequency, higher quality publications catering to niche audiences who are—ideally—willing to pay more for a higher grade product.
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