Rob Yandell

Editor, Publisher, Events

Digital publishing is growing but in the most obvious of places

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With leading gadget monthly magazine, T3 announcing that its digital circulation has doubled to 22,000 over the past 12 months I was interested to see where the growth is coming from and whether it’s good news for everyone or a select few.

With print circulations decreasing, the great white hope was a nice and easy migration to digital. But we should know by now that nothing is ever easy.

Unsurprisingly, the reality has been a slow take-up when it comes to people paying for magazines on tablets so it was nice to read through Press Gazette that Future Publishing’s flagship magazine has reported strong digital growth in the latest ABC figures released this month.

As much as I welcome this news, you only have to step back to see that it’s not a widespread trend.

T3 MagazineIs it any wonder that T3 is the best-selling digital magazine audited by ABC? It’s a gadget magazine, read by early adopters and people savvy with all things digital, or at least with an avid interest. It makes sense that this group of largely male consumers would be willing to migrate away from print and enjoy the latest news, reviews and opinion via what is a highly impressive T3 digital edition.

An obvious and yet welcome step has been new ABC certificates that display both the print and digital circulations to reflect readership across both formats. It allows us to see the full picture as digesting digital figures in isolation can be a little underwhelming.

T3 competitor, Stuff was third in December’s figures which cements my point earlier. Stuff enjoyed a digital circulation of 14,949, but was pipped to second spot by The Economist  (Continental Europe Edition) with 17,057. In fact, three different regional editions of The Economist made up 50 per cent of the top six positions. Finance and gadgets it seems lead the way when it comes to digital publishing.

At the other end of the scale both OK! Magazine and Cosmopolitan posted digital circulation levels of under 7,000.

The future of publishing is tablets; of that there is no doubt. Depending on reader profile it will be easier or harder to migrate your loyal following from what they know. But fail to migrate them and you’ve lost them for a long time, perhaps for good.

Making digital work is not an option and the quicker you’re at the party the more success you are likely to have. Why? Because if you’re not in that space now your reader will look elsewhere to someone who is. And by making mistakes now, you’ll be in a much stronger position when print reaches new lows. I hope that is not for a long time… I love print and think it still has an important part to play but the balance is shifting, and fast.

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Author: Rob Yandell

Editor, publisher, event organiser.

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