Magazine Subscription Growth in 2020? It’s True.

The 2020 pandemic has created a challenging business environment for publishers. However, fresh data suggests one silver lining in a world turned upside-down: magazine subscription growth among publishers in the United States and United Kingdom.

Magazine Subscription Uptick Surprises Some in the Industry

According to What’s New in Publishing, the “lockdown lifestyle” has increased the appetite for magazine subscriptions. Some of the figures are surprising:

  • New Condé Nast subscriptions in March and April were double the same period last year in the United States.
  • In the UK, Condé Nast reports new subscriptions are up 420%.
  • Dennis Publishing reports a subscription increase of 9% across all titles.
  • Bauer Media reports 10x the number of new subscribers compared to the equivalent period last year.

All things considered, this is good news for publishers who are working harder for advertising dollars compared to this time last year.

What’s Causing the Bump in Print Magazine Popularity?

Experts cite a few different factors that contribute to increased interest in magazine subscriptions compared to years past, including:

  • More time to consume media. First and foremost, live events, dining, and other out-of-home activities at a standstill. Therefore there’s simply more time to read magazines at home.
  • Renewed interest in niche topics and hobbies. Home improvement, cycling, and gardening require time and energy away from the office. Now, those sectors of the economy are booming. Consequently, we’re seeing a thirst for new content related to people’s renewed hobbies and interests.
  • Storytelling in the post-COVID world. Long-form investigative journalism and in-depth interviews are just two of the storytelling methods that magazines do well. In an era where everyone is longing to better understand our new reality, print media takes on a whole new meaning.
  • Escape from the Internet. If you’re working from home, you’re spending your day at home online. Your kids rely upon the internet for learning. Then, at night, you’re probably hit the streaming devices. After months on end, people are longing for an escape. As a result, magazines—including children’s titles for the kids—are occupying this space.

Subscription trends are a key ingredient to viability during a time where advertising dollars are harder to pin down. According to a Buzzfeed News article examining the COVID magazine subscription bump, it’s changing the outlook of some online news publications:

“In normal times, advertising means 2/3 of the revenue, but with the big push of subscriptions in the last few weeks and the declining prospects for advertising we think this year it’s going to be 50/50 or even more in favour of subscription revenue.”

Maria Ramirez, El Diario

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