Magazine Newsstands May run Out of Business if Industry Players Don’t Get Innovative

Newsstands, the racks where you’re used to picking magazines may soon be a thing of the past. These stands, once available in many superstores, convenience shops, and many other places are fading away faster than we expected.

In just a decade, newsstands’ popularity has hit a crescendo and (all of a sudden) dwindled to the extent that some market players have chosen to collaborate with larger media companies.

In 2007, the sales of magazines on these stands were at their highest (nearly $5 billion). And ten years later (in 2017), this digit dropped to $2 billion. Audited magazine sales, which account for almost 66 percent of total revenue earned from newsstands, plummeted 170 million in the same year’s second half. This figure represented a drop of approximately 13 million units from the previous year (2016) when 181 million units were sold.

In 2009 over 20 percent of sold audited magazines were single-copy sales. As we speak, the figure stands at around 5 percent.

Newsstand Publishers Running Out Of Business

The situation is life-threatening that it killed three US publishers who depended on newsstand sales in a year. In 2018, time Inc. was swallowed by Meridith Corp, Rodale was taken over by Hearst Magazines, and Wenner Media was acquired by Penske Media.

As we speak, Meredith and Hearst enjoy almost half of all US newsstand revenue.

But there’s more to the fall of Newsstands than Industry Mergers 

Truthfully, these acquisitions are not the only thing to blame for the fall of newsstands.

The market sustainability of magazines is making it hard for stakeholders in the supply chain. These include distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. Forbes investigated some industry representatives and found other possible reasons behind the storms facing newsstands.

The two main reasons were found to be;

  • Changes in consumer behavior— most people get content online.
  • The upsurge of mobile devices and content sharing has rendered news racks dormant.

Players in the newsstand magazine sector will have to be innovative if they are going to increase sales and stay in business. Maybe disruptive techs like smartphones and social media aren’t really as bad as they seem. Even some industry players feel social sites can be used to drive more newsstand sales.

Final Words

Newsstands are not yet dead, but publishers must change their approach if they are going to break even in a dynamic market.

Author Bio: Electronic payments expert Blair Thomas is the co-founder of high-risk payment processing company eMerchantBroker. He’s just as passionate helping distributors get a magazine sales merchant account, as he is with traveling and spending time with his dog Cooper.

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