Who Needs a Print Magazine When We Live Online?

by Susan


Hand holding phoneModern-day folk use apps to find their soulmates, hand-helds to secure a sweet vaca spot, and laptops to locate and stream their favorite shows. Why in heaven’s name would anyone want to pick up a magazine to do any of these 21st century things?

Well, to quote a certain mid-20th century balladeer, “The times, they are a-changin’.”

Online media powerhouses are finding success in print, of all things.

Bumble is a popular dating app, introduced in 2014, that celebrates a “women first” credo. It has just launched a lifestyle magazine through Hearst Magazines Corp. that gives app subscribers more of what they’ve been asking for ―“more stories, more advice, and more real-talk about dating, careers, friendship, wellness, and life in general”, according to Bumble’s Editorial Director.

bumble logoHeavy hitter contributors and investors like Serena Williams, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, jewelry designer Jennifer Meyer, and fashion entrepreneur Lauren Chan are bringing their strength and eminence to the publication.

airbnb logoWho doesn’t love Airbnb? Its global online marketplace of vacation rentals has been a hit since its inception in 2008. With a heavily used website and app, they’re now going old-school with a new print magazine. Airbnbmag, published through a joint venture with Hearst, is free for all registered Airbnb hosts, and is $18/year for everyone else.

The beauty of this magazine is that the content is driven by online digital insights. Popular user searches determine the stories the magazine will feature. Perhaps more refreshing is Airbnb CEO’s take on the print publication. He values the staying power of print, saying “It isn’t ephemeral, as opposed to content on a feed that expires.”

Pick up a copy of Airbnbmag at the airport for $4, and if you are an Airbnb patron, don’t be surprised to see a copy of the publication in the next home you rent.

Wide is the name of the new free magazine Netflix plans to issue in June 2019 to promote content ahead of the Emmys.

netflix logoOriginating in 1997 as a movie-rental-by-mail company, Netflix made the leap to streaming media in 2010. Today, it releases movies, documentaries, TV shows, and much more – along with its original content like “House of Cards”, “Stranger Things”, “The Crown”, and other hits – coming in at about 700 programs a year. This proliferation of content makes it hard for Netflix to promote its programs and stars when new content is constantly launching and consuming all promo space. Enter Wide, a print magazine packed with interviews, glamour shots, articles, and inside looks of Netflix programming. Its maiden issue will come in at a hefty 100+ pages and is strategically timed to hit during Emmy nomination season.

And it’s a growing trend in the world of online catalogers, too.

wayfair logoWayfair was founded in 2002 as an e-commerce home goods company, but introduced a print catalog to “present another way to ‘explore the great indoors’ by bringing together the best of online and offline for an increasingly immersive shopping experience,” according to their press release. Content for the catalog is determined from the site’s data analytics.

In fact, print catalogs are enjoying a revival, and many don’t look anything like the catalogs of decades past.

Yesterday’s catalogs were just selling tools, endless templated pages of product shot-description-price. Today’s catalogs are inspirational and aspirational, depicting lifestyles in gloriously composed scenarios.

Print catalogs stand out in the physical realm. They hang around for a while in the buyer’s life. Catalogs tell stories. They suggest ideas.

More good news for print catalogs? Millennials are in love with print catalogs. Of all generations, millennials rate highest with regard to engaging with mail. Add to that millennials’ love of imagery, and today’s catalogs resonate.

So, who needs a print magazine or catalog?

When online chooses print to elevate its existence, we should all take note.