There’s no doubt that the magazine industry has drastically changed in the last 20 years. Sid Holt, chief executive of the American Society of Magazine Editors, says just wait and see what’s next. “Media consumption is going to have devastating effects that’s going to make what happened in the last 20 years a walk in the park,” he said.
Holt tells our class how rapidly pervasive digital media has become and how much it is being consumed on a daily basis. Digital media has changed the way magazines operate. He said magazines (including print magazines) don’t have an audience problem, they have an advertising problem.
“The audience is stable,” he said. “The problem is advertising dollars. They’re going online from newspapers, magazines, television and radio.”
Google and Facebook, not content producers, are earning most of the advertising dollars now. Holt said the challenge is to persuade advertisers to invest more in magazines in print, online, and other forms such as social media. Holt makes a noteworthy point, but the problem is not so much a reluctance of advertisers to invest in social media, but the fact that users of social media don’t look at or like ads. There’s also less room for them on mobile devices, and in today’s world, almost every individual checks social media on their cell phones.
Although many people may see magazines as a dying industry, Holt remains hopeful. He reminds us that the magazine industry isn’t dead, it’s merely shifting.
Exiting the conference room, he leaves us with one tip: “Your first obligation is your readers.”