Tech News

Published: Monday August 12, 2013 MYT 11:07:00 AM
Updated: Monday August 12, 2013 MYT 11:10:50 AM

Consumers slowly moving to digital magazines

STEADY GAIN: Digital editions are growing in popularity but still represent a small percentage of total magazine circulation figures. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

STEADY GAIN: Digital editions are growing in popularity but still represent a small percentage of total magazine circulation figures. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013

When the iPad was launched it was hailed as the savior of print media, but three years on, while digital magazines are growing in popularity, they still only account for 3.3% of total US consumer magazine circulation figures. 

According to the Alliance for Audited Media, which monitors, records and reports on publication circulation numbers in the US, digital magazines have never been more popular: In the first half of 2013, digital editions hit a monthly circulation record of 10.2 million. 

Meaning that over the last 12 months, the demand for virtual magazines has more or less doubled — up from 5.4 million digital editions, or 1.7% of total circulation, in the first half of 2012. 

However, despite these gains, digital still represents a mere 3.3% of total circulation — be it free or paid. 

What's more, the most popular digital title, Game Informer Magazine, accounts for nearly 30% of all digital figures on its own — it boasts 2.97 million digital monthly readers who receive the publication automatically as part of their membership to videogame retailer Game Stop's loyalty programme — whereas the second most popular digital title, Reader's Digest, with a total digital circulation of 292,285, has 90% fewer subscribers. 

Still, digital was the only area of growth in the figures — total paid and verified circulation was down approximately 1%. Paid subscriptions were down 0.1%, and single-copy sales decreased by approximately 10%. 

Established titles bringing readers to digital 

Looking at the top 25 US consumer magazines by digital replica circulation, and discounting Game Informer Magazine from the list, the most popular digital publications in the US at the moment are all more traditional lifestyle and activity titles, such as Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, National Geographic and Maxim, which suggests that existing readers of established titles are starting to embrace digital and are changing their consumption habits. 

This should come as little surprise to anyone who owns an iPad or any of the countless copycat tablets that have followed in its wake. They offer convenient browsing and a comfortable, interactive reading experience, which in turn drives their users to consume more media. — ©AFP/Relaxnews 2013 

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