Even though the number of magazine companies is decreasing, the industry has had to significantly modify its business model to embrace the digital age. The rise of modern technology has put more pressure on traditional magazine publishers to attract and retain readers.
Independent social media users that focus on a niche are now able to attract a wide target audience and following through the strategic use of tech platforms. As a result, consumers have begun to look elsewhere for information about their topics of interest, rather than solely reading magazines. Through this report, we take a closer look at the current trends within the magazine publishing industry.
Magazine revenue statistics
Instead of relying solely on print sales to generate income, magazine publishers have had to diversify their revenue streams. The growth of magazine websites has allowed publishers to create revenue through advertising and paid online subscriptions, recouping revenue lost due to the decline in physical magazine sales.
- For US magazine companies, total estimated revenue was $26.01 billion as of 2021, increasing 8.24% over the previous year ($24.03 billion).
- Of this figure, subscriptions and sales made up 37.41% ($9.73 billion) of revenue.
- Advertising space made up 33.06% ($8.60 billion) of revenue.
- Printing services made up 6.54% ($1.70 billion) of revenue.
- Licensing of content rights made up 1.50% ($0.39 billion) of revenue.
- Other sources of revenue made up 21.49% ($5.59 billion) of revenue.
A graph is given below to show the estimated revenue for US magazine companies:
Magazine sales statistics
As future consumers become more computer literate, sales of printed magazines are expected to decline. Although the rise of apps, social media, and online news websites has started to displace print, many magazines continue to provide consumers the option of both physical and digital formats.
- Global print magazine and newspaper revenues are expected to drop 13.05% from 2023’s $127.20 billion to $110.60 billion by 2027.
- However, global digital magazine and newspaper revenues are expected to grow 11.37% from 2023’s $38.60 billion to $42.99 billion by 2027.
- Total audiences for magazine companies have decreased by 38.56% within three years, as of 2022.
- 222.2 million adults read magazines (print and digital) as of 2021.
- There were 123.67 million subscriptions for the top 50 US magazines during the same year.
A graph is given below to show US magazine audiences by format:
Magazine price statistics
Accurate pricing models remain an important issue for magazine companies as the industry grapples with the impact of digitalization on consumer behavior. Many magazines now choose to offer online content in a broad range of formats whilst providing different subscriptions rates to customers.
- The average price for US magazines and newspapers was 43.43% higher in 2022 than in 2013.
- Compared to overall US prices, the price of the average magazine/newspaper in the US grew 69% more.
- Compared to US recreational book prices, the price of the average magazine/newspaper grew 104% more.
A graph is given below to show the CPI of US magazines and newspapers against other items:
As with the newspaper industry, many experts were not surprised by the continual fall in the number of magazine companies. Many magazine publishers have been forced to change their strategy and increasingly focus on producing viral online content, resulting in a highly competitive sector which has harmed many magazine companies.
- As of 2022, AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) publications made up the two highest circulated magazines in North America.
- AARP The Magazine had a circulation of 22.68 million and AARP The Bulletin had a circulation of 22.56 million.
- The average audience reach for People magazine was 84.56 million for the year.
- Print and digital edition users made up 83.93% (21.46 million) of National Geographic’s average audience.
- Mobile web users made up 64.89% (19.13 million) of US Weekly’s average audience.
A graph is given below to show top magazines by their audience type during 2022:
Number of US magazine companies
- As of 2020, the total number of US magazine companies was 4,519.
- This was a decrease of 5.16% from 2019’s 4,765.
- Over the given period, the number of magazine companies has declined year-on-year.
- Since 2012, the number of US magazine companies has declined by 30.33%.
- This was a decline of 3.79% per year on average.
|Year||Number of companies||Change|
A graph is given below to show the number of US magazine companies:
Number of US magazine companies by size
- As of 2020, 58.31% of magazine companies had between 1 – 4 employees.
- 16.66% of magazine companies had between 5 – 9 employees.
- 11.62% of magazine companies had between 10 – 19 employees.
- 7.63% of magazine companies had between 20 – 49 employees
- 5.78% of magazine companies had 50+ employees.
|1 – 4||3,506||2,635||– 24.84%|
|5 – 9||1,153||753||– 34.69%|
|10 – 19||860||525||– 38.95%|
|20 – 49||560||345||– 38.39%|
|50 – 99||209||134||– 35.89%|
|100 – 249||149||94||– 36.91%|
|250 – 499||34||17||– 50.00%|
|500 – 999||10||9||– 10.00%|
|1,000 +||5||7||+ 40.00%|
A graph is given below to show the number of US magazine companies by size:
Magazine employee statistics
The number of magazine employees has decreased significantly, likely due to a reduction in the demand for physical magazines. Despite this, salaries for employees have increased on average each year, indicating that professionals within the magazine industry can be well compensated for their efforts.
- In the US, the total number of magazine employees was 73,781 as of 2020.
- The total annual payroll of magazine employees was $6.47 billion.
- The average salary of a magazine company employee was $87,692.
- In the US, 55.80% of employees in magazine companies were female as of 2022.
- The median age of a magazine company employee was 48.0 years old.
A graph is given below to show the number of US magazine employees:
Magazine publishing FAQ
What magazines have stopped publishing?
- In terms of print, the following well-known magazines have ceased print publication since 2010, amongst others:
- American Heritage (History)
- Autoweek (Automotive)
- Consumers Digest (Product reviews)
- ESPN The Magazine (Sports)
- Money (Finance)
- Playboy (Lifestyle/Entertainment)
- Playgirl (Lifestyle/Entertainment)
- Sporting News (Sports)
When did magazines become popular?
- Within the United States, mass circulation of magazines started during the 1830s.
- The new technological development allowed publishers to offer cheaper magazines to a much larger target audience.
- Due to this, greater consumption of printed magazines started to occur, boosting the popularity of magazines overall.
When do magazine issues come out?
- Magazines are frequently published on a weekly or monthly basis.
- However, some magazines are instead published fortnightly, quarterly or according to a different time-frame altogether.
- This is in contrast to newspapers, which are generally published daily.