Last week Stephen Quinn, publisher of fashion Bible Vogue, revealed the results of study that asked 2,500 Vogue readers whether they preferred their traditional magazine format, or digital content via Vogue.com or the Vogue iPad app.
An overwhelming 87 percent of readers said that they preferred the traditional format, and I can see why. There’s something unbelievably indulgent about the tangible quality of a print magazine, and flicking through the beautifully crafted pages of Vogue is a monthly highlight. Whether you rip out your favourite looks for fashion inspiration or pile up your entire year’s subscription because they’re just too beautiful to recycle, the aspirational nature of a high-end glossy magazine can’t be denied.
That being said, it is impossible to ignore the fact that the media is undergoing a digital revolution. Every magazine worth its salt has a well-run website, full of both exclusive content and online versions of print articles, and with tablet devices and smartphones becoming the norm it’s now possible to read your daily paper or favourite magazine in a purely digital format.
And of course it doesn’t stop there; as this article demonstrates, with the ever-increasing number of blogs, everyone can become a writer and upload their own editorial content directly onto the web.
Quinn comments, “You go into media buying companies now and they say ‘Print’s Dead, you’re a dinosaur Stephen’”.
So are they right? Is print already dead, or is it dying? With Vogue making £25m a year in advertising revenues they certainly don’t think so. Yet, in a world where news breaks via Twitter before it’s even reached the newsdesks, where fast fashion is available in abundance and where technology and the internet rule our daily lives, traditional print media is certainly facing a struggle to keep up.
The key is not to pretend that this revolution isn’t happening, but to embrace it and accept that we live in a world where Kindles could replace books, iPad apps could replace magazines and the internet could replace the daily newspaper.
This doesn’t mean however that we won’t have access to the latest best-selling novel, reports on the latest trends or the daily news. The media will always be around, just perhaps not in the traditional way we are currently accustomed to. Publications, therefore, need to roll with the times and keep up with what their readers want, as Vogue demonstrates, or risk falling by the wayside. After all, there’s something nostalgic about an old record player, but would you really swap it for your iPod?!