Above: Magazines on a magazine rack. Credit: Oscopic.
The rise to prominence of World Wide Web usage by smartphone and computer users, has brought about the destruction of the printed monthly and weekly magazine market. The hardcore of the remaining purchasers of magazines fall into two broad groups: those who are Internet-resistant and nostalgic for former days--persons no different to those who still prefer a physical newspaper to plop through the letterbox each morning full of news that was current as of 7 pm the previous evening; the second group are those who are buying a magazine as a trendy lifestyle accessory; as a knowing indulgence. Strip out these two groups from magazine readers and there is not much left. The first category will eventually decline to zero. The second has the status of those who prefer to buy music on vinyl--a niche. But this second group is awkward in that such purchasers cannot be expected to buy every week or every month. They have no particular loyalty to a brand or title; they buy something that is deemed cool only--and what is cool is ephemeral.
The era of a requirement to pay for news and lifestyle-features is over: there will always be websites which offer their content for free and eventually the free websites will prevail over those who charge for content. The printed magazine was a twentieth century medium.
(30 January 2018)