Magazines seem to be the latest casualty in the traditional media take-over, with recent Roy Morgan data showing a marked decline in readership, especially for big-name gossip publications. With The Bulletin shutting down earlier this year due to online pressures, and New Woman closing its doors, the future does look bleak for published media. Or perhaps not?

Gossip and Fashion websites provide instant information free of charge which provides a valid explanation for why the Gossip category is taking a hit in readership. Despite this decline, readership of lifestyle, food, wine and men’s magazines has increased.

Many publishers are using this era of integrated, multi-media consumption to introduce new titles and new approaches to magazine readership. Cosmopolitan has attempted to combat the decline in readership by adding another 100 pages to their magazine. When this equates to 50% more ads, I don’t think it is achieving anything other than boosting their advertising income. Regardless, it probably will help them save face for the short term.

News Magazines have partnered with Myer to produce Emporium – for women who love to shop, as they put it. Coles and Woolworths have had their own affiliated magazines for some time now, and this represents a huge growth category for major, and even minor retailers. It presents more options for customer integration, products in use, and advertiser opportunities. There’s no doubt that this will take off over the next few years.

News Magazines is also now selling Australian Football Weekly (AFW) to target the growing group of football (aka soccer) fans. Fairfax will launch ‘the magazine for up market men’ – Sport & Style – in February next year. The men’s magazine category is another emerging trend and thankfully the content seems to be evolving toward fashion, style, health, fitness and other tasteful subjects.

Newspapers are also trying to generate more integration with their readers, linking their news headlines with daily email posts. WA Business News is one example – however I wonder how this affects their physical readership. And is this a bad thing? Will we even have physical newspapers 20, 30, 40 years into the future?

Paper vs Online will certainly be an interesting battle to watch over the next few years…