Think newspapers have a complicated relationship with the Web? Try magazines, or any publication fighting for a sale at the newsstand each week.
But while most magazines have been dragged kicking and screaming onto the web, there are still some holdouts clinging to a print-first strategy–particularly among magazines most dependent on newsstand sales. Ironically, quite a few are in the business of delivering gossip and celebrity news — the genres most threatened by the Web.
Case in point: the National Enquirer, which withheld news of an alleged Sarah Palin affair from the Web to drive print sales. Or OK Magazine, which offered part of its Palin story, and then said, “for the entire story on Sarah Palin’s baby scandal, including where she stands on the issues, pick up the new OK! – on newsstands everywhere on Thursday!”
It’s a losing battle, and celebrity titles in particular were crushed on the newsstand in the first half of 2008, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations:
US Weekly, down 10%
National Enquirer, down 8.4%
The Star, down 3.4%
In Touch, down 28.6%, and
Life & Style, down 30.2%.
OK Magazine and People bucked the trend and managed increases in the first half single-copy sales, up 5.2% and 19.4% respectively.
Aside from behemoth People.com, Web-only publications dominate their glossy brethren in the celebrity category in monthly visitors, per July figures from Quantcast — and several newsstand staples have only a nominal Web presence. At some point, the print circulation for these magazines will shrink so much that it becomes ancillary, and they’ll need the Web. And where will they be then?
omg.yahoo.com: 8.5 m (16.3m uniques July comScore)
People.com: 11 million
TMZ.com: 3.9 million
PerezHilton.com: 3.5 million
UsMagazine: 2.8 million
PopSugar: 1.8 million
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.