With culture, news, and all aspects of media streaming at our fingertips is there still a place for print publications in our tech inspired society? Will print publications hold up against smartphones, tablets, and a growing necessity for near real-time reporting?
The digital age has given rise to online virtual spaces where digital personas have (almost) free reign to proliferate eye-catching visual content, build community, and elevate their "brand". Do readers now prefer a swipe over a page turn?
The digital age has given rise to online social platform powerhouses TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter: virtual spaces where tweens, teens, influencers, celebrities, and companies have (almost) free reign to proliferate eye-catching visual content, build community, and elevate their brand.
As I take stock of this crowded virtual marketplace, I can’t help but wonder how the OG’s of content creation—print publications—are faring in this new world order. I suspect they are keeping their enterprise afloat through society’s fluctuating fixation with vintage.
In popular culture, nothing is ever truly dead. How often has the automotive industry rolled a classic car design off the assembly line? How frequently is a fashion trend resurrected? Who dropped the needle on vinyl’s recent renaissance? And, how does Nike (by way of Converse) continue to rake in $100 million dollars in annual Chuck All-Star sales, with a shoe style that originated in 1917? That’s the true genius of marketers: make something perpetually viral, across generations.
"Whatever happens to print, something still rings true: reading a magazine in the flesh is a magical experience, especially as we’ve become increasingly enthralled in Digiphrenia, the term that references the practice of balancing multiple, fragmented versions of one’s digital self."
Of course, it’s also important to acknowledge that some products occupy rarified air and evoke an ageless, iconic quality. Maybe the secret is to outlast the competition, revolutionize the medium, and catapult your market share via a well-executed hybrid-model? There’s reason to believe it would appeal to a sizable cluster of consumers, even if current sales don’t reflect it.
Millennials, like myself, occupy a curious headspace with regard to content consumption: we are nostalgic for the feel of glossy, colorful, advertisement-overloaded magazines, while also coming of age during a time when online content is accessible at lightspeed.
And, I’m betting that my household is not the only one subscribing to three different print publications (Dwell, Imbibe, and Washingtonian, respectively—with serious consideration given to The Atlantic, cause’ it’s just so damn good).
Take Cherry Bombe, a magazine that “celebrates food and women.” It’s carved out a nice niche and consistently delivers a striking, beautifully crafted coffee-table worthy publication with authentic staying power. And, brands like ARTILECT Studio are creating storytelling-focused publications like CultureLines, the very one you’re reading.
There’s also shops like the West Village’s own Casa Magazines, a long time purveyor of popular magazines and self-professed “Magazine Lovers Mecca” with over 2,500 titles, that are still beloved.
Whatever happens to print, something still rings true: reading a magazine in the flesh is a magical experience, especially as we’ve become increasingly enthralled in Digiphrenia, the term that references the practice of balancing multiple, fragmented versions of one’s digital self. Picking up a magazine is like unplugging from the Matrix. It still immerses you in a uniquely physical, visual, and visceral experience.