With circulation numbers sinking and print ad rates dipping just as fast, now seems like a really bad time to start a magazine, reports Digiday. But digital publishers like Politico, Pitchfork and Pando are doing just that: backwards-engineering their online publications for the physical page.
The trend is a 180-degree flip from the typical publisher transition from print to digital: Whereas print publishers have sold their websites as extensions of their print products, today’s digital publishers are creating magazines to supplement their websites.
Technology blog Pando, for example, will sell its magazine Pando Quarterly to readers as part of a site membership, which also includes access to premium video and monthly events. The magazine’s content, a combination of repurposed web stories and those written exclusively for each issue, benefits from the “innate gravitas of print,” said Paul Carr, investigations editor at Pando.
Publishers are leaning heavily on the idea that these are “premium” magazines, with deep reporting and full-page photos. Music reviews site Pitchfork even hopes that printing its quarterly magazine’s long-form features and illustrations on high-quality paper stock will encourage readers to collect them just as they collect vinyl records.