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Magazines are dead. Legacy fashion publishers can hem and haw over the value of glossy print titles in media nerd podcasts, but magazines are dead — or at least they are on their way out the door and with them the lucrative print advertising deals upon which many titles still heavily depend.
This does not mean that media is dead. Quite the opposite. People are consuming more media than ever before. An August study by Nielsen found that American adults spend more than 11 hours a day with media, up from 9 hours 32 minutes four years ago. In fact, media is having a renaissance.
So why, if consumers have bigger media appetites than ever before, do the conversations in the elevators of legacy publishers simmer with panic over job security and lost ad dollars?
According to data from technology and strategy consulting firm Activate, the average American spends only 4 percent of their media consumption hours with print, compared to 20 percent on personal computers and 28 percent on mobile. And, by and large, they are not using the growing time they spend with digital devices to read the websites of legacy magazine publishers. In a recent survey, FreeportPress found that nearly 43 percent of people in the US never read magazine websites.
Why? Legacy magazine publishers are simply not innovating at the pace that shifting media habits demand. If they were, I’d guess that fewer women’s magazine websites would aggregate TMZ items all day, in an attempt to gin up page views in a social media-driven ecosystem where traffic is increasingly hard to come by, but no less necessary if you are in the business of selling advertisers on audience size.
The more media that exists, the harder it is to find that quality.