More than half of major print titles reduced their frequency this year, and it's too early to tell whether 2021 will bring more stability for magazines, according to an analysis by WWD
. The fashion-trade magazine compared 45 print titles from publishers, including Hearst Magazines,
Condé Nast and Meredith Corp., to help determine the effects of the pandemic on the industry.
Hearst cut back the most of any major publisher, reducing the print frequency of
every title except Country Living, Men's Health, Women's Health and O, The Oprah Magazine. O ran 12 issues, but had planned to shift to an all-digital format with a special
print quarterly next year.
Cosmopolitan, Elle, Elle Decor, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Town & Country cut back by at least
one issue in 2020. Bazaar will return with 10 issues next year, while Elle and Marie Claire will increase frequency, WWD reported.
Condé Nast maintained frequency for Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, The New Yorker and Wired, and added an issue for GQ.
Vogue combined its June and July issues to cut frequency by one month, but will come back with 12 issues next year. Vanity Fair ran 11 times this year, down from 12 times in 2019, while
next year's frequency is undetermined.
At Meredith, People maintained a schedule of 52 issues, while InStyle was the only women's fashion magazine to keep
its frequency unchanged with 11 issues, according to WWD's analysis. Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple and Shape have held steady and plan to maintain their frequency next
year. Before the pandemic, Meredith already had planned to scale back on Entertainment Weekly and Southern Living.
The pandemic's negative effect on the
publishing industry was unmistakable this year, but there have been signs that market conditions have stabilized somewhat. The digital business has been strong for publishers, as homebound consumers
spend more time online.
Efforts to diversify revenue from ecommerce and paid subscriptions are likely to remain a priority going into 2021.