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The business of successful publishing

Sam Upton, editor of Print Power magazine, says for some publishers, the latest ABC results for UK magazines were difficult reading. Women’s weeklies and celebrity titles took a hit in the first half of 2017, while fashion monthlies also suffered. However, there is one sector whose average print circulation moved in the opposite direction: news magazines.

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Private Eye posted an 8.6 percent year-on-year increase, and Harvard Business Review has also made circulation gains in the past twelve months

The big winner in this highly competitive sector is Private Eye, the fortnightly satirical title, which posted an 8.6 percent year-on-year increase, raising its circulation to a record 249,927 per issue. Meanwhile, the Economist increased by 5 percent to 248,196, and Prospect achieved an impressive 37 percent growth, to 44,545.

“With Brexit and Trump, the news hasn’t stopped,” says Prospect editor Tom Clark, adding: “People want something that’s going to guide them through times that don’t make sense and keep defying predictions.”

While online news sources and social media offer breaking stories and rapid updates, news magazines give the reader a welcome chance to step back from the headlines and examine the context and consequence of a developing story. The fact that print circulations in particular are on the rise also provides evidence that readers appreciate the space and time these titles offer so they can take in the whole story without interruption or distraction.

It is not just in the UK that current affairs titles are booming. In the US, The New Yorker, Atlantic magazine, and Harvard Business Review have all made circulation gains in the past twelve months, with HBR posting a record-breaking circulation growth of 10.2 percent in the first half of 2017. 

People want something that's going to guide them through times that don't make sense and keep defying predictions

“Our goal is to publish ideas that improve how companies operate and how people manage their careers,” says Adi Ignatius, Harvard Business Review editor in chief, adding: “Every day, we push ourselves to find ever greater ways to expand our impact, to make sure these ideas have the greatest possible reach and influence.”

Harvard Business Review went through a number of radical changes in 2017, introducing a bold new magazine design, changing its frequency, and expanding the amount of digital content it offers its subscribers. This combination of strengthening the print publication while increasing the amount of online content has not only given the title an increase in subscriptions but raised advertising revenue by 5 percent.
It is clear that news titles are not only using the public’s heightened interest in current affairs to increase circulations, but are using that interest to innovate and find new ways to interact with their readers. Other magazines could learn a lot from them. 

For more information about Print Power and how the campaign can help your company promote the value of print, go to www.printpower.eu. #PrintPower.

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