Has the combination of the recession and new online media formats changed the shape of the magazine industry for good? In the Pew Research Center’s most recent State of the Media report, analysts ponder “whether there is a future for the mass-market magazine anymore.”  The report reveals that niche news  publications fared well in 2009 but magazines that targeted a wide audience witnessed a drop in ad pages and circulation.

Magazine publishers have responded by taking a variety of approaches. Some publications have chosen to support long articles, up to 10,000 words in length, to fully analyze and discuss n current topic. Others “are trying to develop a relationship in which print versions and their websites play off each other.”  The industry professionals have agreed that a magazine “does not cover the news as it is breaking.”  Yet, as consumers turn to the Internet for more of their content,  they are accustomed to an information model that delivers news as it happens.

Despite the gloom, news magazines remain popular with specific demographic groups. And these groups are often attractive to marketers. Here’s a snapshot of the typical news magazine reader:

  • Average household income: $58,898
  • Average age: 45.2 years old
  • Male: 48%

In 2010, analysts expect a number of magazine publishers to begin distributing content and associated advertising via e-readers. Ned May, director and lead analyst for the research firm Outsell, says such a move may help them “reassert themselves and not be in the death spiral that some were in in the last years.” Marketers will continue to advertise via magazines but they may be looking for ways to improve their reach via this channel. A new business model that is connected with e-readers may do just that.

[Source: State of the News Media. Pew Research Center Publications. 15 Mar. 2010. Web 22 Mar. 2010]