At Trade Press Services, we generate editorial opportunities for clients to be published in print and online publications. In the process, we are seeing some interesting trends and lots of changes.
First, there are a lot of publications and websites out there—tens, if not hundreds of thousands of print publications alone, and more than 600 million websites of all kinds. Barring the ability to gather firm data, we can turn to indicators that show trends in the publishing industry. For example, take jobs at traditional and digital media outlets. According to the 2014 Pew Research State of the Media report, jobs in newspaper newsrooms continued a decade-long decline, from about 55,000 in 2003 to just 38,000 in 2012 (the last year for which complete data are available). That’s a 31 percent drop in 10 years. Similarly, in the magazine industry, the number of jobs is also plummeting. According to Ad Age’s Data Bank, about 140,000 people were employed by magazines in 2004. By 2013, that number had fallen to about 113,000, a 19 percent drop.
Getting published in a print or digital format is still the best way to tell your story.
Conversely, the digital news world has grown, although it is still much smaller than the traditional news world. In the Pew report, the authors accounted for about 3,000 jobs at the top 30 digital news media outlets and another 1,900 jobs in about 440 smaller digital outlets. However, employment in digital news media is growing at phenomenal rates. The Pew report highlights BuzzFeed, which had just seven employees in 2012 but now has an editorial staff of over 170. Gossip site Gawker has 132 full-time editorial employees, up from 49 seven years ago.
Circulation is another key indicator. Magazines have lost huge chunks of print readership in the last five years, including respected publications like Time (nearly 60,000 fewer newsstand sales, or about a 50 percent decline) and The Economist (about 35,000, also a 50 percent decline). And while digital media are a small player in terms of employees, their eyeball count is phenomenal: The Huffington Post averages about 45 million unique monthly visitors, and one traditional brand, the Washington Post, averages 19 million.
Both forms of media (print and digital) struggle financially. While print publications continue to suffer ad page losses, digital media has yet to find a workable business model. As the industry continues to evolve, getting published in a print or digital format is still the best way to tell your story, reach your prospects and customers, position your company as an expert or leader in the marketplace, support your sales efforts and stay connected to the marketplace.