As yet another print magazine shutters to focus on digital, we need to think again about how the magazine of the future will be defined.
The term ‘magazine’ has been problematic for a while now. More and more traditional print magazines are now reducing or stopping print altogether, and are trying to translate their brand to the digital world.
Marie Claire was the latest to announce the closure of their UK print edition last week. The brand will continue to publish online, where they allegedly draw in 2 million monthly readers, according to the Drum. They will also focus investment on their shopping platform, The Marie Claire Edit, which is an affiliate-supported fashion aggregator. TI Media (formerly known as Time Inc) have said that they anticipate this being the title’s biggest source of digital revenue.
The point at which Marie Claire ceases to be primarily a publisher and is instead a retailer is a lengthy discussion for another time. But much of how we perceive brands like this is tied up in legacy perceptions of the title, which will crumble rapidly as the years go on.
To get around defining magazines who no longer have a print aspect, the industry has come up with the handy term ‘magazine media’. This nicely encompasses titles both online and in paper, and means we can talk about Snapchat Stories, YouTube videos and podcasts from publishers all under this one definition.
But there’s a problem here. When a magazine no longer has a print element, what sets it apart from the hundreds of thousands of places that publish content online?