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The Magnificent Fourteen: A Tale of Ink on Paper’s Resilience

February 3, 2014

Before there was a web, there were magazines; and today, at the height of the web era there are magazines, and after the new innovations in the web era are discovered, there will be magazines…and by magazines I mean the ink on paper publications as they were first called in 1731.

The period of tremendous growth for the internet happened in the latter half of the 1990s. It went from a scientific and governmental research network to a commercial and consumer marketplace. It revolutionized the way we communicate, socialize, and conduct business. In 2000, after the dot.com of the 90s crashed in what has become known as dot.gone, Web 2.0 was born, and so were a host of new ink on paper magazines.

With the web explosion, magazines have always been and continue to be a breed apart from other media. There is a tactile expression of ownership and showmanship in the print versions of these glossy entities with the creatively enticing covers.

With the new millennium fast approaching and the web weaving even more intricate designs in cyberspace, magazines never gave up and some actually flourished and are still blossoming in 2014.

To celebrate 2014 here are the Magnificent 14 Magazines launched between 2000 & 2009. They are in chronological order of their birth:

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Real Simple was launched by Time Inc. in 2000 and since then the magazine hasn’t looked back. In a time of uncertainty and ambiguity, Real Simple has proven to be a mainstay with its manifestation of its title: remaining ‘Real Simple.’

According to its mission statement, REAL SIMPLE makes life easier by giving creative, practical, and inspiring solutions for both the everyday and special occasions. It’s a magazine that definitely has found its niche audience, even in 2014.

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Dwell magazine also launched in 2000 and is a publication devoted to modern architecture and design. According to Michela O’Connor Abrams – President of Dwell Media – they now have 10 platforms at Dwell Media. The magazine is about 55% of the business and four years ago it was 94% of the business. But the magazine and the SIP’s for the newsstand remain very healthy. The reason O’Connor Abrams gives for the company’s continued success: her background in technology media and the focus on the audience and the communities Dwell has built and serves faithfully.

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O magazine is another mega-giant that was launched right after the onset of the web craze. With Oprah Winfrey and Hearst Corporation as its founders, failure just seemed impossible. A second printing of the first issue had to be ordered, a first in the history of American magazines. And of course, it’s still surviving and thriving in 2014. Another success story born amidst the digital boom.

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American Profile is a national magazine for community newspaper readers that launched in April 2000 with more than 2.5 million in circulation and was one of the top magazine introductions in years. In 2014, the magazine still proves that it has what it takes to survive in this digital age. American Profile’s current circulation is a perfect 10 million (ink on paper) copies weekly.

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Lucky is a shopping and style magazine that launched in December 2000 and is one of Condé Nast’s biggest success stories. Today, Lucky has undergone a major transformation since new Editor and Chief Eva Chen took over. Along with artistic director, the famed Vogue editor Anna Wintour, the magazine stays true to its shopping brand, yet shows a newer creativity and an ability to withstand the Googler trends of 2014.

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The Week started out as a weekly British news magazine and was introduced in America by Felix Dennis in 2001. It has been described as neither a liberal mag nor a conservative one, but a publication that presents both sides of the issues, something that may very well be a component in its longevity during the age of digital. In 2014 you can still think of The Week as the Rolls Royce of the newsweeklies.

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In Touch Weekly is a celebrity magazine that was launched in 2002 by Bauer Publishing. It was one of the first from the ground up new mass weeklies introduced in the United States in a long time. It is still going strong today, which definitely says a lot about its character and personality, considering a person can jump on Google’s search train and find out just about anything concerning celebrities and their latest exploits via the Internet.

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All You is a women’s magazine that was first published in 2004 by Time Inc. and was only sold at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. This targeted niche marketing is one survival technique that magazine publisher’s devised to combat drops in newsstand sales due to the increase in competition from digital and other print entities. The magazine now can be found in all retail stores and is available by subscription. So, in the case of All You, it’s working very well, thank you.

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WebMD magazine was one of the early adaptors to ink on paper from pixels on a screen. It launched in 2005 with a million circulation and never looked back. The health website decided to integrate their extremely popular digital health information center with print and distribute free copies to practicing physicians all across the country. One of the beginning cases of digital and print integration. A definite sign of things to come.

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Women’s Health was created in 2005 as a sister publication of Men’s Health magazine. The women’s lifestyle magazine speaks to women all across the world with sections on fitness, sex & love, food and weight loss. Women’s Health proved to be an egg born from the pouch of the seahorse, Men’s Health, alongside a very caring Rodale Inc. family of magazines. Proof that ink on paper (as long as the content is necessary, relevant and sufficient) can still get in the ring with digital anytime, anyplace.

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OK Weekly began in 1993 as a weekly British magazine, specializing in celebrity news. Its American counterpart crossed the pond in 2005 and has been keeping us abreast of celebrity weddings, gossip and news ever since. After a very rough and expensive beginning, the magazine was bought by American Media Inc. and is now surviving along side its sister Star magazine and the rest of the celebrity-info world that has seen some tough challenges in this digital age.

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Afar magazine is a travel magazine for those who are not faint of heart. It is not your typical travel magazine, which was exactly the intention of its co-founder Greg Sullivan who launched AFAR in 2009 with cofounder Joe Diaz in the midst of the worst economic crisis America was facing. Against all odds, AFAR has since become one of the leading experiential travel magazine media companies. The print component of Afar media works hand-in-hand with their foundation and website and displays integration at its best.

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Food Network Magazine born in 2009 when other media companies were killing their food magazines, Hearst Magazines and Scripps Networks Interactive spun the ink on paper magazine from the highly popular Food Network television network. The first official print issue came out in June 2009 and has been cookin’ ever since. The magazine started out with a 300,000-issue rate base guarantee to advertisers and only grew as time went on. This success story combines Internet, television and print – a total integration of media, a major survival strategy for print that is still being utilized in 2014, bringing an eleventh rate base increase to 1.8 million in less than six years of its existence.

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WSJ magazine is a glossy news and lifestyle magazine published by The Wall Street Journal. It started out as a quarterly in 2008 and became a monthly (10X) magazine in 2009. In its infancy, it was an insert with weekend home deliveries of The Wall Street Journal in some of the larger U.S. and European markets. Now the magazine is in every copy of the newspaper available for all the paper’s readers, but never-the-less its tag-line still says THE WORLD’S LEADING LUXURY MAGAZINE, and it’s still going strong in 2014.

It’s a comforting thought to those of us in love with print that the above-mentioned magazines are just a few that are still thriving and surviving in 2014. Knowing that integration is the key in this day and age, most publications are conjoining their digital and print children as closely as twins.

Staying necessary, relevant and sufficient in this digital age is vital to magazines. Their content must give readers what they want and then they will find what they need.

Happy magazine reading in 2014 and remember: the power of print integrated in the 21st century is Just Common Sense!

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2 comments

  1. What are your thoughts/opinions on the integration of digital applications such as Augmented Reality when it comes to print pubs?


  2. Reblogged this on leaaahhpt.



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