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Print Magazines Can Survive If They Prioritize, Says Study

Old-school print media was said to be heading toward an inevitable death, but a new study suggests they may have a way out after all.

Print Magazines Can Survive If They Prioritize, Says Study
[Image: Flickr user ChurchHates Tucker]

Print journalism is dead–or at least that’s what media outlets have been saying about themselves since 2008. But a glimmer of optimism about the publishing industry arrived today from a University of Toronto Scarborough study.

As it turns out, print magazines are viable if–and only if–they prioritize their digital departments. The coexistence of a print magazine and a companion website brings in more revenue through advertising than either type of media alone, according to the study. Magazines are catered for a specific audience and “the more homogeneous the magazine’s audience, the more attractive it is to advertisers looking to target a specific type of consumer.”

Furthermore, “multihomers,” or people that consume information from more than one medium, are the most appealing type of consumer for advertisers. The thinking goes: If consumers see an ad more than once, they are more inclined to buy the advertised product. Therefore, magazines that have an online component are more attractive to advertisers because readers have two “homes” in which to find the same ads.

Print magazines have long been thought to be archaic media forums, (even Newsweek famously went digital-only last year and then switched back). Despite this assumption, the amount of new online publications being published surged in the last year. The Rookie Yearbook, the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, and the Pitchfork Review are just some of the new print magazines that will grace newsstands this year, reports the L.A. Times. Luckily, Rookie, the L.A. Review of Books, and Pitchfork already have the infrastructure of a website, setting themselves up for a successful business model.

It’s still not clear what the split should be between digital and print, in terms of resources. But with media staples like New York magazine cutting back publication to become a biweekly and pumping up their websites, it would appear that most print magazines lean too heavily on print today. For now, it is a comfort to readers (and writers) everywhere to know that their favorite glossies aren’t extinct, after all.

[H/T: Science Daily]