End of an era?

Is this the end of something many generations relished as a family?


Image credits: foliomag.com

Vaidehi Dhakate and Virginia Arivu (BA '23)

Magazines are facing a series of challenges of which the complete migration of print to digital formats is the most serious one.

Initially, magazines were the preferred mode of advertising for most big brands. This, however, changed with the advent of the internet and affordable data packs. Most people nowadays use social media platforms often, making it a good platform to interact with a large audience in real-time, but this turnover has not diminished the spark of magazines completely. With numerous advantages in hand, they keep the magazines alive in this digital world. Because of their unique methodologies of disseminating information and entertainment to a targeted audience, magazines are still sought after, especially by a niche audience.

Although digital marketing is taking over, magazines have some added advantages that make them indispensable. A magazine has an intended interest group to which it caters, this element assists sponsors with setting the correct advertisements in every magazine. For instance, a games magazine will be ideal for up-selling a games item like Mitts. To discover moisturizers publicized in a games magazine would be unseemly, a marvel magazine is a correct competitor. With a particularly convenient component, promoting is a lot simpler and more exact than different structures it might take.

Economic Times, in its recent quarter study of 2020, said: “Indian print and distributing industry's turnover will contract Rs 739 billion, which incorporates books, magazines and papers, and so forth." According to The Registrar of Newspapers for India, the authority which issues permission to start publications, over a lakh are registered with the body. In the late 20th and mid 21st century, the appearance of online innovation started to influence both the magazine business and the print media collectively. Similarly, newspaper and magazine publishers would have to reinvent their business models to reach out to an increasingly online audience.

The transition from print to online publishing is due to several factors, including an increase in literacy, financial stability, and accessibility.

Newspapers and magazines are, at best, a repository of second-hand information, thanks to the speed with which digital media allows for news generation and consumption. Many people believe that print journalism, especially magazine journalism, has become increasingly difficult to practice due to reasons like reduced revenue, online competition, the need of covering all the regional news to reach a large audience. Some are even writing obituaries about this journalism’s format.

In an article by Ruhail Amin in exchange4media, the Union Minister for Finance, Defence Corporate Affairs went on record to describe it in these words, “Magazine journalism in India is today probably the most difficult one. Thanks to technology, the definition of news has changed. The news these days is whatever the camera is ready to capture or what digital media can dish out. Print journalism, both in terms of technology and timing, faces that radical challenge. Even for dailies, one really cannot read in the newspapers what one has seen several times over on TV the previous evening or read it on smartphones.”

Fast Moving Consumer Goods, (FMCG) is the largest advertising contributor to the print industry in terms of category contribution, accounting for 15%. In terms of volume, Hindi publications continue to outnumber English publications, with the former accounting for 35% of the overall volume and the latter for just 26%.

Most experts believe that the future of magazines lies in the hands of digital media. Though the transformation will be slow as the target audience who read magazines - young or old adults - still incline towards print.

Another challenge that the digital medium faces is the decreased attention span of the user. The problem remains the same with print media as well, but on an electronic device one gets frequent notifications and it is almost impossible to give your undivided attention to the content that one is consuming. This might affect the user's experience and in return give them an impression that the content is not engaging.

A very similar challenge for digital media is that the new age users are accustomed to information being delivered at a much faster rate through videos which cater to their limited attention span. Thus, for a digital magazine, any content in the form of infographics or videos intermittently with words requires a larger workforce and a lot more effort to create. So even though the future seems to belong to digital media, there is still a long time to go before people stop reading printed magazines.

This article was among the best contributions from the class of '23 for the assignment Magazines and their present status.

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