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Print and Digital – What do the Numbers Say?

Even though magazine launches outpaced title shutdowns for the sixth year in a row, the trend is clear: net growth is dwindling. In the first half of 2015, 52 print magazines launched and 21 shut down, according to, the online database of U.S. and Canadian periodicals. Compared to 2014, both launches and closures were down. In the first half of 2014, 75 print magazines launched, and 27 shut down.

The true numbers can be tricky because the digital magazine category is a hard one to define, ranging from media websites to specialized industry publications with a closed audience. The industry as a whole does appear to be stabilizing, as the number of titles that closed are the lowest since MediaFinder started publishing its statistics in 2009. Unfortunately, new launch numbers are falling even faster, with the net result being that additions to the publishing industry have been dropping for years.

The lack of investment in new titles can be largely attributed to the almost non-existent mergers and acquisitions in the industry recently.

According to the MPA’s Magazine Media Factbook 2015, which uses data from leading third-party providers and currently covers approximately 145 magazine media brands from more than 30 companies, magazine media saw a print and digital audience growth of +0.2% from 1,018,758,000 in Q1 2014 to 1,031,289,000 in Q1 2015.

Some encouraging findings from the MPS are that to date, the top 25 print primetime TV magazines reach more adults and teens than the top 25 primetime TV programs, and among affluent consumers, advertising in print and digital magazines attracts the most interest. It is clear that the magazine format is alive and well, but evolving.

The latest Global Marketing Index (GMI) shows a continuing downward trajectory of traditional media, while digital and mobile, including magazines, continue to be the focus of increasing marketing budgets.

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