The print magazine market contracted by an estimated 6.5% in 2014 as publishers faced increased competition for attention from other forms of media such as e-books and video streaming services as well as cannibalisation from the increasing popularity of digital magazines and magazine websites. This represents a 35.9% contraction since 2009.
The decline of the print market shows no sign of abating and Mintel expects contraction to accelerate to an 8% drop in 2015. The increased rate of contraction will be fuelled by an accelerated shift to digital as ownership of tablets increases, people generally become more accustomed to spending money on digital content and publishers explore alternative, more attractive revenue models for accessing premium digital content. By 2019, Mintel expects print distribution to fall to 773 million, down 27.9% against 2014 estimates and down 53.8% since 2009. Women’s and home titles continued to dominate the market in 2013, accounting for 44% of all consumer print magazines distributed during the year. However, the genre suffered the largest volume contraction as distribution fell 32 million copies to 508 million. Contraction in the women’s and home segment can be attributed, at least in part, to the withdrawal of Easy Living, More!and Full House from print circulation.
The men’s segment suffered a 4.3% decline in distribution in 2013, slightly outperforming the 6.9% declining suffered by the total market. However, Mintel findings suggest the print segment faces the biggest threat from digital as men are significantly more likely to read digital magazines or magazine websites.
The news/current affairs segment was the worst-performing segment by percentage change in 2013, suffering an 11% contraction. This could be attributed, at least in part, to the withdrawal of Newsweek from print circulation in December 2012.
Exclusive research highlights a high proportion of digital readers who only read free titles -symptomatic of a broader market trend of an unwillingness to spend money on digital content. Instead of trying to persuade the 45% of digital readers who only read free titles to start spending money, publishers could seek to generate revenue through alternative revenue models such as survey walls, an increased number of adverts or the option to pay a small amount of money to unlock content piecemeal.
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