Seventeen magazine is the latest legacy magazine to be pushed further out of print.
The roughly 75-year-old title is having its print frequency reduced come next year, WWD has learned, going from the current bimonthly schedule to at most a few issues a year.
While industry sources had it that the magazine was set to nix print altogether, a Hearst Magazines spokeswoman explained that the brand is moving forward with a “digital-first strategy” but that the magazine will continue to print “special stand-alone issues pegged to news events and key moments in readers’ lives.”
While this time of the year usually sees a lot of publishers finalizing media kits and schedules, the kit for Seventeen currently only has one issue based around prom set for next year.
“Seventeen is leading an authentic conversation with a growing audience — from social issues to important life advice, it is a resource and an ally for teens and young adults,” the spokeswoman added. “Continuing the digital-first strategy introduced in 2015, our focus will be on the brand’s two-plus million unique visitors and more than 12 million followers across social media.”
Outside of an established social media following, the brand is also growing its e-commerce business (affiliate links appear throughout much of its content and images are shoppable through Snapchat), revenue from which has more than doubled year-over-year. It’s unclear how many Hearst Magazines employees will lose their jobs, but editorial director Michele Promaulayko was let go from her position as editorial director of Seventeen and editor in chief of Cosmopolitan last month, when new magazines president Troy Young rolled out his first big wave of changes.
Those changes also saw the end of print for Redbook, one of the oldest women’s magazines and one that Hearst had owned for 35 years. The magazine’s last issue is a combined November/December holiday issue, it’s ninth of the year. It previously printed on a monthly basis. A reduction in frequency is common for print magazines, lifestyle in particular, at a number of publishers these days, as appetite for monthly content is sated by constant access to social media. In the U.K., Hearst also just reduced the print frequency of Esquire with plans to relaunch with a new format and launch a series of events, another expanding revenue stream for many publishers.
It was less than a year ago that Seventeen went down to six issues a year from 10 the previous year and monthly before that. Cutting print nearly altogether surely means that the ad revenue wasn’t enough to keep the title afloat, while e-commerce revenue is enough to underwrite a smaller digital operation.
The magazine was first published in 1944 by Walter Annenberg, who came to own through family The Philadelphia Inquirer and TV Guide. The magazine was sold in the late Eighties to News Corp., and quickly went through two more sales before landing at Hearst Magazines in 2003, already past its pre-Internet heyday, when a number of advertisers actually needed a magazine targeted at teens to target relevant products. Just over the last year, Seventeen has seen its total readership fall significantly, according to data from the MPA-Association of Magazine Media. Print and web readership is down 15 percent and 23 percent year-to-date, respectively, while video viewership, a major area of growth for other magazines, is down 42 percent. Meanwhile, mobile web is up a relatively slight 10 percent.
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