There are a lot of differences in printed versions of magazines from the online publications. In today's fast paced world, everyone is on the go. I work in a hotel and I know there are still demands for printed newspapers because some are just used to the old ways of getting their daily news. However, with the obsession of devices such as tablets and mobile devices, consumers prefer these modes of access to information over print. In this digital world, magazine companies are looking to roll with the times and benefit from all of this. Some may do well with the transition and some may not unfortunately. Here are three examples I've researched:
The New York Times, one of the most prestigious papers ever published, as made this transition. With a new design online that is more suitable for work and life on the go and with the cheaper cost of having the subscription online, it seems like the obvious choice. For some, the want to stick to the old ways. A research conducted found that people who read the printed version remember more news stories and the points of the stories more than online readers. In this study, done by readers from the University of Oregon, found that the layout of the online version may alter the reading experience with ads inserted mid-story and forced to click additional pages to finish articles. Some still find printed newspapers easier to finish the articles and are less distracting.
Sports Illustrated is one that may have a tougher time with the transition. The customer base is an older demographic which, not all of course, may not be very familiar with using the internet. When a consumer has defined a brand a certain way, it's hard to change the meaning of that brand and SI is closely tied to the print product as well which can be an upside to the digital world because this magazine is still in print and I see them everywhere! The positive side of the mobile version however is that it has a tiled look on the desktop with scores front and center and allows editors to mold the site into different formats depending on what is happening in the news. These tiles allow for ads that can attract advertisers and that can always be good for business.
In one case where a magazine threw in the towel in this fight was Newsweek. After 80 years in print it will solely be online-only. Unfortunately for them the cost of print and distribution was too great and instead looked at the opportunity to expand digitally which was a huge motivation for this choice. It was difficult for Newsweek to maintain printed weekly magazines with the declining advertising and subscription revenues because readers were asking for the magazine online more and more. I think if layouts are right, websites and mobile versions are user-friendly and the content is on key, digital can be a great alternative but there are a lot of consumers out there who are not connected to the digital world so a decision like this could make or break any business.