With newsstand sales down almost across the board, the past few years have been, well, bumpy for the magazine industry. But hey, it’s a new year right?
And with the dawning of 2012, the print industry is pulling out all the stops to refresh, innovate and improve their product. So what exactly does the industry have in store for us this year?
Here’s what to expect:
Prettier Pages New year, new look. Seems like it isn’t just troubled starlets dreaming of a makeover in 2012. Magazines are hopping on the self-improvement bandwagon and giving their pages a sleek new redesign, WWD is reporting. First up, Glamour is planning a “major overhaul,” which will see more trendy and pop-culture-driven content, and has enlisted the help of two design firms: Triboro Design and Geraldine Hessler, which is run by the former art director of Nylon, Michael Angelo.Harper’s Bazaar is getting bigger (literally, larger, as in Town & Country‘s size) and will apparently be “unrecognizable” from what it is today. Brides will unveil a redesign in May, under new editor in chief Anne Fulenwider. And finally, Vanity Fair‘s new hires in the art and photo department (Chris Dixon is the new creative director, Judith Puckett-Rinella is photo director) bode well for a makeover.
More Reality TV Stars on Covers This one’s kind of scary. With the launch of Reality Weekly, a magazine dedicated to covering only reality TV stars, readers can expect even more glossy pages saturated with the Kardashians and Real Housewives. WWD even makes a frightening comparison between the recent reality TV star takeover to when models were almost completely replaced by actresses. Dear God, we hope not!
Direct Shilling For years magazines have recommended products to their readers, and then those readers have dutifully gone out to purchase those products from retailers. But in 2012, magazines are cutting out the obvious middleman and selling items directly to their audience, via e-commerce and pop-up stores. InStyle, Elle, Vogue, Esquire and GQ have already dipped their toes into the retail waters, and Hearst is planning to launch a women’s fashion e-commerce site.
More Apps, Tools and Devices Finally, the print industry has clued in to the fact that this whole internet, digital age thing isn’t going away any time soon. And they sure are making up for lost time. In 2011, every magazine intensified their digital presence, whether it be by launching an app, creating a new website,developing a social media tool, or implimenting mobile codes in their issues. And with all the excitement surrounding the iPad, Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook, you can expect magazines to focus even more of their attention on developing unique user experiences for new gadgets.
360-degree PR Strategies Remember when it was enough for magazines to just, you know, sell issues? Well those days are long gone. Whether it’s with headline-making events (ahem, Vogue‘s FNO), strange collaborations (Teen Vogue‘s bedding collection comes to mind), or Conde Nast’s newly launched entertainment division, magazines are going after the public’s attention in any way they can off the page. Our bet is that the magazine industry will up the ante exponentially in 2012, with more TV appearances (or heck, a whole show–Teen Vogue has been rumored to be developing a reality TV show since 2010) and more product collaborations. Couldn’t you see a magazine designing a line of T-shirts? And it’d be perfect to sell on their new e-commerce site, too!