Today, Conde Nast announced that Glamour magazine, a long standing British beauty and fashion magazine, is turning from a monthly into a bi-annual. Even though Glamour will still be a print edition, the ‘bi-annual’ seems like an excuse to save face. If a monthly magazine is drastically reduced to a bi-annual it suggests that it has been experiencing massive financial trouble.
Still, traditional media is valued much more highly than digital. People still like to buy print editions and feel the pages in between their hands. The actual reading of a magazine cannot be replicated on an iPad screen. The decline of print does not mean a reduction in its status. Powerhouse publications like Vogue and Vanity Fair still have far more power than bloggers have. This is why American Vogue could write an article slating bloggers at fashion week last year and bloggers will still buy Vogue the next month. Traditional media is simply more respected, which is why when journalists (like myself) pitch article ideas, we do so hoping to be featured in the print editions, rather than online.
“One of the more interesting notifications is that they are merging their commercial and editorial teams which means it will be harder to distinguish what is an ad and what is genuine beauty journalism.”
The respect the general public have for print is not translating into sales. At least not for glossy fashion and beauty magazines. Magazines such as Glamour, and Elle (which is also in huge trouble, for example, this years March edition only sold 1,300 copies in Newsstands) haven’t changed much in the years that they have been around. When you open the pages of the magazine nothing is different from the previous monthly. There are a bunch of ads, the editor’s letter, usually some girl-next-door looking actress or singer on the cover. There is nothing new.
The problem with Glamour and the reason why it isn’t selling well isn’t because print is in decline. But because it has refused to change. Sure Glamour joined us on social media and offered digital editions for us on our iPads but everyone else did that too. Our moms and dad’s joined Facebook, our uncles are on Instagram. To expect an Instagram account or digital edition to be the saving grace of a magazine when everyone has social media is foolish.
Glamour announced that they’re going for a “mobile-first, social-first” move with their magazine. Where the fuck have they been? Blogs and online websites have been around for years. Yet they are claiming that their move is a “UK first”. I’m sorry no (anyone remember Company magazine?). But the question begs… Are people going to pay for Glamour? When so many blogs offer honest reviews with more real and relatable people, for free? It seems doubtful.
It seems as though Glamour will have to eradicate their current team and hire a media savvy, tech-y team who understand SEO, keywords and just how fast online media is.Running an online magazine is a 24/7 job. Articles have to be current and relevant for them to get views. Can they compete with websites that beat them to the chase years ago? I highly doubt it. Apparently Glamour are “taking our lead from our readers, who are largely women aged 20 to 54.” Personally, I do not know a 54 year old who subscribes to digital magazines. Again, seems dodgy. One of the more interesting notifications is that they are merging their commercial and editorial teams which means it will be harder to distinguish what is an ad and what is genuine beauty journalism.
“Just because a magazine existed for a long time, does not give it the right to exist forever.”
I saw a few people tweeting today that they’re sad Glamour is effectively closing its doors. And believe me it will close it’s doors. A bi-annual and a promise that they’re converting to fully digital is just to save face from the embarrassment of shutting up shop completely after so many years. It can be sad that a magazine is closing and I do understand where that sadness comes from; nostalgia. But it isn’t like there’s not ten other magazines I can buy with the exact same layout as Glamour and the exact same bodies, faces, products, clothing in its pages. Just because a magazine existed for a long time, does not give it the right to exist forever.
Glamour is the first of the big UK magazines to announce that it is changing drastically. More will follow. Who do you think will be next?