2022 in gold cake candles on a pink background
Getting ahead of the December rush to make predictions for the future, we decided to gaze into our crystal ball as we move ahead from the immediate effects of the pandemic. 
There will be long-term changes in behaviour for every business sector, including the magazine industry. From new business models to in-depth special edition magazines on a single topic known as ‘bookazines’, what will we be reading during the next few years? 

Curated content straight to your door 

Bookshops and newsagents closed during the pandemic lockdowns and people stayed at home, so impulse purchases from newsstands disappeared. Committed readers turned to subscriptions for their favourite collections of news and information, which is why some titles reported increases of 15% to 30%. 
In a digital world, there is so much information available it’s hard to know what to choose. In contrast, magazines collect and interpret information on specific subjects for targeted audiences, so readers know what they are receiving and why. 
One trend for the future will be a growing interest in curated content for readers with very specific interests. 

New ways of working 

Many advertisers cut their spending dramatically during the pandemic, so many magazine publishers needed to rethink their funding model. For example, after 20 years O, The Oprah Magazine, changed its circulation to quarterly special editions. The new cover price of $15.99 is more than readers would have spent on 12 issues of the monthly magazine. 
Pulse magazine has and always will be free to readers. We have always focussed on our audience in the belief that quality content will attract readers that advertisers will want to reach. It seems that other publishers are coming to the same conclusion. If this change means we’re heading towards an audience-first approach it will certainly breathe new life into magazine publishing and we welcome it. 

Reader power 

Magazine publishers must be much more in tune with their audience. New data-based approaches will help publishers anticipate and meet their needs across print and digital platforms. A focus on reader engagement will create a much more dynamic experience. This could become the key measure for advertisers rather than circulation figures and demographics. 
As editors, we will need to create content that is relevant and useful on the day of publication and in the future. The retention value of our titles will be another metric that tells us we are meeting readers’ needs, and that will also be of interest to advertisers. 

Special editions 

The idea of a ‘bookazine’ isn’t new and special editions have been around for a long time. Now publishers are making them part of their strategic plans to secure their future. 
To be successful the content these special editions offer must add value to the information readers could find freely available online. This means editorial standards will have to be exceptionally high to build trust. Expert opinion and thoroughly reviewed content and reader promotions will be at the core of the success of this approach. 

Print is still part of the picture 

People understand and engage more with printed content, so it will logically be part of this value-added approach. 
The Times and Sunday Times, for example, have recently run a multi-media campaign to build digital subscriptions alongside the print titles. 
Quality paper stock from sustainable sources will also continue to be a high priority, especially where magazine content is differentiated from digital by its retention value. They might even become collectibles. 
We think the future for printed magazines is very exciting. If you would like to be part of it, please get in touch. 
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