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Once Left For Dead, Magazines Enjoy Web Rebirth

In a time of widespread devastation in the magazine industry, here's a bit of cheering news: the Magazine Publishers of America's latest quarterly data shows that in the free-for-all digital-media world, the dead trees guys are actually starting to hold their own with endemic Web properties.
In a time of widespread devastation in the magazine industry, here's a bit of cheering news: the Magazine Publishers of America's latest quarterly data shows that in the free-for-all digital-media world, the dead trees guys are actually starting to hold their own with endemic Web properties.Audiences for branded magazine sites were up 8.1% in the last quarter of 2007 compared with the same period in '06, the MPA reports. That's three times the rate of overall Internet traffic growth over that year. (I should add that the MPA data tracks 320 consumer titles, so InformationWeek isn't included in this analysis, though our own growth has been, if anything, even healthier.)

"Smarter partnerships with such endemic Web properties as Facebook and YouTube reflect a new sophistication in how brands reach into the Web to acquire new audiences," reports Steve Smith of Digital Media Report. "And, frankly, magazine sites generally are just beginning to get savvy to the ways of online traffic building."

Both sessions-per-month and time spent per site were up in the fourth quarter, indicating that audience engagement is improving along with overall traffic. What's more, the MPA claims, improved online readership isn't reducing print readership. If anything, it's the opposite.

Now, will advertisers -- who have fled print magazines in droves over the last few years -- start to notice these trends as well?

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Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing