In another sign of the difficulties faced by glossy print magazines, there are no longer major monthly women’s fashion magazines in the United States.
Before the global coronavirus pandemic hit about two years ago, Vogue, Elle, InStyle, Cosmopolitan and WSJ, the Wall Street Journal’s luxury fashion insert, each published 12 issues a year in 2019.
Since then, all have reduced print frequency as COVID-19 added more pressure to an already struggling market, with ad dollars increasingly moving online.
WWD research found that Vogue, Condé Nast’s longtime cash cow run by Anna Wintour, is now down to 11 issues a year, Hearst’s Elle 10 issues a year, WSJ. eight issues per year, while Cosmopolitan, another Hearst title, revealed that it would print eight themed issues per year, each devoted to a different topic and numbered rather than tied to a specific month.
More recently, InStyle’s new owner, Dotdash Meredith, recently ended the title’s 27-year run, with Managing Director Neil Vogel saying at the time: from print to digital and, therefore, for a few important brands, print no longer serves the primary purpose of the brand. As such, we will transition to a digital-only future for these brands, which will help us unlock their full potential. »
Until then, InStyle was the last women’s fashion magazine in the United States that still published 12 issues a year, even in 2020, when producing shoots and getting articles from designers were extremely difficult in some months.
Other magazines that lost issues include O, The Oprah Magazine; W; seduce; She Decor; Squire; QG; Good Housekeeping; Vanity Fair and Marie-Claire.
The latter’s new owner, UK-based and publicly traded Future plc, told WWD it will still publish two issues a year, in May and September, the latter being the most crucial month of the year. year for magazine publishers as they seek to seize advertising. dollars. But even before the sale, Hearst quietly reduced the print frequency of Marie Claire from 11 issues to just seven in 2020.
Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar, meanwhile, dropped to nine issues in 2020, but is now back to 10.
According to the Alliance for Audited Media, which tracks the performance of these publications, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Elle and InStyle all saw readership of their print or online magazine editions decline to varying degrees in 2021. , compared to 2020. With a decline of 22%, Cosmopolitan recorded the largest decline, followed by InStyle which fell almost 18%.
Nevertheless, InStyle, which until recently was led by editor-in-chief Laura Brown (she left when the print edition was phased out), saw the largest increase in total viewership thanks to a 71% gain in mobile traffic and a 131% increase in video views. , perhaps helping to explain Dotdash Meredith’s decision to make it digital-only.
Elle’s total audience increased by 2%. In the other direction, Cosmo’s total audience fell by 14.2%, Harper’s Bazaar by 1.5%, Vanity Fair by 17.4% and Vogue by 0.6%.
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