Is the era of physical magazines over?

Cleo announces closure after 44 years in print with more likely to close

| More on:
a woman

You鈥檙e reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool鈥檚 Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

We’ve already seen the hatchet job the internet has done on newspapers – now magazines are following a similar trend.

Today, Bauer Media Group announced that Cleo magazine will close, after 44 years in print, and it’s looking at relaunching another magazine, Dolly, in purely digital format.

According to media reports (digital of course), the print edition of Dolly is certain to follow Cleo and stop print runs. Bauer shut down its lad’s mags Zoo Weekly in September 2015 following FHM which closed in 2012.

The Daily Telegraph is also reporting that sources have suggested a possible merger between Woman’s Day and the Australian Women’s Weekly could take place.

Cleo will release its last issue, the March edition on February 22. The magazine was launched by Kerry Packer and Ita Buttrose in 1972 and was considered edgy and controversial at the time, featuring male nude centrefolds and articles on sex and dating tips.

What has killed the magazines is the internet. Magazine content is virtually outdated once it has been edited, reviewed, published and distributed to resellers – a process that can take many weeks. With the internet, consumers have access to real-time information, stories and articles from multiple sources with different opinions and views almost instantly.

That has meant falling readership for magazines, and even though they seem to be mostly advertising these days (try counting the pages of advertising in Better Homes and Gardens – more than 100 the last time I counted), that can’t cover the cost to produce them.

Seven West Media Ltd (ASX: SWM) owns Pacific Magazines – Australia’s number two magazine published behind Bauer Media – and publisher of Better Homes and Gardens as well as New Idea, Men’s Health, Who and marie claire amongst others. But revenues for magazines fell last year by 8% to $209.2 million. 9 years ago, in 2006, Magazines made $241 million in revenues, so the downtrend is clear to see, despite the company claiming strong readership and market share.

Market share means virtually nothing if the whole market is getting smaller and heading to virtually nothing much like Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ) and News Corp (ASX: NWS) have found with their metropolitan print newspaper businesses.

Foolish takeaway

It seems clear that many magazines are destined to become digital only or wither away and die.

  Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned.聽You can follow Mike on Twitter聽@TMFKinga Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering adiverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

More on 鈴革笍 Investing

Close up of baby looking puzzled
Retail Shares

What has happened to the Baby Bunting (ASX:BBN) share price this year?

It's been a volatile year so far for the Aussie nursery retailer. We take a closer look

Read more

woman holds sign saying 'we need change' at climate change protest

3 ASX ETFs that invest in companies fighting climate change

If you want to shift some of your investments into more ethical companies, exchange-traded funds can offer a good option

Read more

a jewellery store attendant stands at a cabinet displaying opulent necklaces and earrings featuring diamonds and precious stones.
鈴革笍 Investing

The Michael Hill (ASX: MHJ) share price poised for growth

Investors will be keeping an eye on the Michael Hill International Limited (ASX: MHJ) share price today. The keen interest…

Read more

ASX shares buy unstoppable asx share price represented by man in superman cape pointing skyward
鈴革笍 Investing

The Atomos (ASX:AMS) share price is up 15% in a week

The Atomos (ASX: AMS) share price has surged 15% this week. Let's look at what's ahead as the company build…

Read more

asx share price competitions represented by businessmen arm wrestling
Retail Shares

How does the Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW) share price stack up against Nick Scali (ASX:NCK)?

How does the Temple & Webster (ASX: TPW) share price stack up against rival furniture retailer Nick Scali Limited (ASX:…

Read more

A medical researcher works on a bichip, indicating share price movement in ASX tech companies
Healthcare Shares

The Aroa (ASX:ARX) share price has surged 60% since its IPO

The Aroa (ASX:ARX) share price has surged 60% since the Polynovo (ASX: PNV) competitor listed on the ASX in July.…

Read more

asx investor daydreaming about US shares
鈴革笍 How to Invest

How to buy US shares from Australia right now

If you have been wondering how to buy US shares from Australia to gain exposure from the highly topical market,…

Read more

person reading news on mobile phone
鈴革笍 Investing

Why Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) might hurt News Corp (ASX:NWS) shareholders

News Corporation (ASX: NWS) might be facing some existential threats from its American cousins over the riots on 6 January

Read more