Will the double-digit declines in print sales continue?
Folio.com published an article yesterday that is no different. Although to me this particular article reads as native advertising for The Economist, it is true that The Economist is running well ahead of most of print and is doing well on all fronts including newsstand and subscriptions as well as digital editions.
That particular success, as well as the success of quite a few other print publishers — Hearst is one that comes to mind — provides some joyous moments in the magazine industry, which is otherwise in total free fall when it comes to newsstand. And unfortunately, those exceptions are fewer each reporting period.
The Folio author tells us that, “Double-digit decline has been a commonality for many publications — last year the magazine industry overall haemorrhaged 14 per cent of its newsstand sales in North America — but I expect that the decline will soon recede into single digits.”
I don’t agree that the double-digit era of newsstand declines is over. I think it is a trend that now has its own momentum for a variety of reasons and that it will continue for several years more. What is there to change that juggernaut of a trend? Is it the survey results that people love print? Indeed, I believe that they do love print, but they are clearly not willing to pay for it as they used to. At least not the vast majority of readers.
Like The Economist, there are still many titles that make great money on the newsstand. Some of them will make enormous amounts of money in retail, but they are the aberrations of the industry to the overall sad trend that is still in play.
It is worth noting that many printers and publishers will do just fine in this malleable period of tectonic changes in the information distribution industry. It is my hope that your title will beat the odds and rise above the negative trends. That is always my hope. But that hope doesn’t change the overall trend of the magazine newsstand industry. Is there a bottom to the decline? Yes. Have we hit it? No.
Read the full article here
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