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Digital Magazines: The New Frontier for Women’s Lifestyle Magazines


Change is in the air—cyber air to be more precise—and we are experiencing a new wave in how women are consuming their favorite lifestyle magazines.

According to MediaFinder , 369 magazines folded in 2009. The high profile shelter and lifestyle magazines that ceased publication include Country Home, Domino, Metropolitan Home, Gourmet, Southern Accents, O At Home, InStyle Weddings, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Cookie, and Cottage Living. House & Garden and Blueprint ended the year prior. Magazine titles come and go every year due to lack of audience interest, but in 2009, publishers couldn’t sustain very popular titles due to a severe decrease in ad revenues, and increasing paper and printing costs. The decrease in ad revenues, the lifeblood of every publication, is due to the economic downturn and the fact that many advertisers are diverting ad dollars to internet sites and blogs where they can better target their potential customers.

The publishing industry as we know it will never return to business-as-usual. It was a bad year, leaving fans of these titles posting and sharing their sense of loss within their online social communities. With 102 million American women online and 84% of them engaging in social media, that’s a lot of unhappy consumers.

Enter the age of the digital magazine! The internet offers up a new frontier of opportunity. Five major magazine and newspaper publishers—Time Inc, Condé Nast, the Hearst Corporation, Meredith, and the News Corporation—seek to tame the frontier by building an industry-standard platform to present their work on the Web, smart phones, and electronic readers. This consortium is speculating on the future evolution of full-color, high definition e-readers and count on migrating their magazines, books and newspapers to this new technology.

One of the most significant advantages of a digital publications over print publications is that readers experience instant gratification—featured products, people, and resources are automatically linked—one click on a photo or text will the reader them directly to the subject’s website. Likewise, advertisers like how their ads can link readers directly back to them.

Editorial pages aren’t tied to advertising revenues, another distinctive advantage of digital over print. There is room to spread an article over several pages so images can be large—and let’s face it, in a lifestyle magazine, most readers just enjoy looking at the pictures and are only drawn to the text when something catches their attention and interest.

A downside to the digital formatting is that it must be viewed on a monitor, but electronic readers are on the rise and products, such as the new Apple iPad, will allow more portability, thus changing the way users will read and interact with digital magazines. “Women still want to have their glossy magazines, and I am one of them,” says Lea McIntosh, co-founder of Nesting Newbies, a new online shelter magazine. “But we have to face facts. Soon it won’t be cost-effective or eco-minded to produce print magazines any more. Right now we’re in a transition phase—print is phasing out and technology is moving in. Slowly but surely, more of us are embracing and really enjoying the change.”

Here’s a look at some of the independently published women’s magazines that are taking advantage of the transition:

Lonny Magazine (
The defunct Domino inspired its former market editor, Michelle Adams, to start Lonny, her digital interpretation of the popular magazine. The mission of Lonny is to show that good design and affordable design can coexist. Each issue features themed market trends, as well as a variety of homes and the people who live in them.

Nesting Newbies, for a home tweet home (
Nesting Newbies is a refreshing look at cooking, entertaining and decorating aimed at those who are new to nesting. The compelling images along with enough gravitas attract avid foodies and decorating enthusiasts, too. Chef Lea McIntosh puts a twist on tradition, and her intent is to make entertaining fun. The embedded video clips offer follow-along-how-to advice. The decorating section includes inspirational rooms from top professionals and easy do-it-yourself projects.

Premiere Designers (
This digital magazine launched on March 8, 2010 and focuses on the trends, ideas and features about luxury interior design, architecture and antiques.

Southern Flourish (
Southern Flourish magazine is all about home, garden, food, travel, fashion and beauty from a new Southern point of view.

Get Married (
Get Married sorts through the wedding planning chaos to help busy brides-to-be. There are trends for every taste and scoops on where to shop and save on every little detail. The magazine uses Tag technology (a downloadable app for the mobile phone) throughout for instant access to hidden coupons, videos, and more information about the trends and items they cover.

Utterly Engaged (
Without sacrificing style, this magazine presents creative alternatives to modern brides who want high-end looks without breaking their budgets. The pages are filled with pictures, details, and tips from talented wedding vendors willing to share their “utterly inspiring and refreshing” ideas.

Nonpareil Magazine (
Like Utterly Engaged, Nonpareil Magazine is focused on the creative side of weddings. Here the editors seek to deliver hip, stylish, do-it-yourself projects for weddings that are personal and budget friendly.

IZZY Magazine (
The latest digital wedding magazine release, IZZY showcases the finest in wedding resources, along with real-wedding pictorials. The content includes a mix of articles, from couture wedding fashion to expert essays, covering a variety of wedding topics.

Research Sources:
“Mag Bag: 2009 Round-Up of Magazine Closures,” Erik Sass, December 24, 2009, Media Daily News
National Telecommunications and Information Administration, US Census Bureau, October 2009
2009 Women and Social Media Study by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners
“Publishers Make Plans for Devices Yet to Come,” Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times, December 8, 2009


 Lonny Magazine
 Premiere Designers
 Southern Flourish
 Get Married
 Utterly Engaged

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