Gas or Vanity Fair

This past week Bryan Monroe of Ebony and Jet Magazine came to speak to our class. During his presentation he discussed how magazines are considered discretionary purchases, and therefore, in the current economic climate they aren’t being chosen as a necessity. We are having to chose between our faithful monthly gossip fix and gasoline to get to work. Obviously gas wins (as always).

What does this mean for the future of magazines? I know I am willing to read the month old copy of Cosmo they have at the gym rather than spend the money on the current issue (I can’t afford to keep up with the trends anyway). Will this type of action cause some magazines to stop their presses and shut their doors? Will I have to someday do without my Cosmo forever?

I think that magazines will need to figure out how they can give something more to their readers. Something that will encourage their audience to say,”I can do without my morning latte so that I can buy US Weekly.” I know it is a stretch, but maybe they can take a page from The Great Depression. During this time movie houses gave away dishes as promotional items to get people to attend movies which was considered a discretionary expense. Maybe magazines could start handing out gas cards with their magazines, then I wouldn’t have to choose.

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2 Responses to Gas or Vanity Fair

  1. Andrea says:

    Sounds like you need to visit the library! Most major libraries have a periodicals section stocked full of the current editions. I, like you, read the old editions at the gym but sometimes, when you need your Cosmo, YOU NEED YOUR COSMO!

    I think if magazines are really hurting for profit, perhaps they should offer a discount to their target audience when they order a year or two-year long subscription. So, Cosmo could offer a 10 percent discount to women in their 20s and early 30s. O Magazine could offer a discount to women in their late 30s and 40s. This makes a subscription more attractive and affordable–a winning combination, if you ask me.

    Or to make it simpler, offer a student discount. Or simply a senior citizen discount. I don’t know how to effectively verify the ages of thousands of readers, but if magazines are losing enough money, they will try anything to sell subscriptions.

  2. kirvana says:

    That seems like a very good solution for magazines. I remember at The University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Traveler, the student publication, would hand out newspapers with coupons for free items. Not just 20% discount; but absolutely free items for the poor college student. Needless to say, the newspaper bins were always empty by 3 p.m. when it was a coupon day.

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