Voice of the Industry
Print is not Dead, but Most of the Magazine Industry will be Digital in 2020
By Bob Sacks
Published: April 16, 2010
There is a new research report released by the analysts at mediaIDEAS, (disclosure: I am a full working partner,) that answers the ever-asked question, is print dead?
The answer of course is, no, we are neither dead nor dying, but the analysis also suggests a near moment in time when digital revenues will surpass print revenues for publishers. So, it isn’t about death, but rather about the realignment of our resources and expectations.
According to the report’s author, David Renard, “Over the next 10 years, the magazine industry will experience deep-rooted change from primarily a print-oriented business to one where digital products will represent the largest share of a smaller periodical industry. We expect digital to be the primary source of revenue for magazines past the 2016-2017 time frame.”
According to the report, about 10% of the total periodical industry in 2009 was based on advertising and circulation revenue directly or indirectly associated with all digital product lines. In 2014, mediaIDEAS forecasts that the digital portion of the US periodical industry will be worth approximately $8.5 billion, or about 28% of the total market. By 2020 it will have increased to approximately $20 billion, or about 58% of the total market.
Because of several factors including the aggressive adoption of new delivery mediums, such as Apple’s iPad and next generation color e-paper e-readers, the report finds that digital will go from representing 10% in 2009 to representing 58% of the magazine industry in 2020, and, conversely, print will go from representing more than 75% of the market's value in 2008, to less than one third by 2020.
So, in this projected scheme of things to come print survives and so does a regenerated and revived publishing industry. I suppose you can debate the exact percentages, or the precise dates of the report but I think the eventual conclusion is inevitable.