Reasons Why Digital Magazine Publishing is a Smart Move for Publishers

A growth in digital medium usage portrays the increasing value of digital magazine publishing

In 2015, our Digital Magazine Market Study study showed that people read an average of 2.37 digital issues and an average of 2.91 print issues every month, which puts digital magazine consumption at 43% of print magazine consumption and climbing rapidly.

Going digital means that you’ll attract a larger audience and–in turn–engage a pool of that audience to become actual subscribers. Whether you fully convert to digital (or decide to use it in addition to printed publishing) you’ll optimize and profit from a new audience.

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Quick statistics that prove why digital magazine publishing is worthwhile


In April, MPA’s Magazine Media 360° released its overall Q1 report, in which it recorded a 10.2% year-over-year spike in total visits, and total traffic for digital magazines at 1.73 billion, up from 1.55 billion in the 2014. Mobile consumption skyrocketed 65.3%, accounting for much of the surge.

The MPA also found that users with both mobile and tablet access spend 23% of their engagement time reading magazines on their smartphones. That’s good news! But what about tablets? That number is 75%.

A recent study from GfK MRI Starch Advertising Research found the average level of reader recall for both print and digital ads last year was 52%. The most effective digital magazine ads were recalled by more than 80% of readers, in line with the most effective print ads, GfK said.

But print readership is down. Statistics from a TVB study in 2010 concluded that the daily reach of print magazine amongst adults was 28.6%. In 2015, that percentage has significantly dropped down to 17.4%.

Those statistics probably aren’t too surprising to many of you with print products. Hopefully your readership has remained stronger than these numbers dictate.

Tablet usage in 2012 was 11.7%, which is fair considering they had stepped into popularity just two years prior. It’s no surprise that tablets have increased in popularity the past three years, now at 20.8% usage.

Growing even quicker than the tablet market is the mobile phone market. In 2010, mobile had a 14.3% reach. Today (2015), it has shot up to 38.7%.

There are still bright points in using printed magazines. They have power for traditional advertising and people find magazines to be helpful in learning about products. Of course, magazines are in an ongoing competition with the internet and newspaper, which is no surprise today.

Furthermore, digital publishers have the chance to build audiences with content on the Internet, tablets, and mobile devices. All of these markets either have significant usage (Internet), or growing numbers (mobile and tablets).

Ways to use these growing digital mediums

Internet: Propagate your portal with free content, optimized for both search and social media. Use freemium downloads to build a free email subscriber list, and promote your digital magazine to these digitally savvy audiences later on once they’ve gotten to know you.

Tablet: Prepare a tablet publishing strategy that focuses on generating revenue through premium digital products, builds audience and brand recognition with free content, or a combination of the two. Retail partners in the tablet market (Apple, Kindle, Google, etc.) are a great way to find new audience members. Look into web magazines, not just magazine apps.

Mobile: Optimize your email content for mobile because more mobile users are checking their email on the go. As email is a viable medium for sales, this can help keep your customers around. 

There’s still a desire for print magazine content, but how much longer will it be an option? Will digital magazine publishing overtake more publishers in the future? Only time will tell…

Do you have a strong opinion as to why digital magazine publishing has impacted print publishers? Share your thoughts in the comments!

This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated.

    Wojciech S.

    Steve, looking at the digital novels popularity I think that there is a viable market segment who’s dedicated to fiction stories but the question is at what form should it be provided to the end user: As a digital magazine or e-book?


    Any opinion or guess as to viability of a magazine for fiction short stories for the mobile app market?


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