Enthusiasm for the Digital Edition Fade at Many Magazine Firms, Even as Access Continues to Grow Through Library Systems
The digital edition was, for about two years, the one area of magazine circulation that looked promising, as digital circulation went from “not reported” to near 10 percent, in some cases. Titles such as Wired grew their digital subscriptions to that magic 10 percent level, helping overcome declines seen in newsstand sales. But growth slowed, and in many cases reversed, beginning in late 2013. Wired, which once claimed 10.2 percent of its circulation in digital subscriptions, now reports 7 percent.
Cosmopolitan is another example, and a more dramatic one. At one point the Hearst title was claiming 243,882 in digital subscriptions. A part of this was because of a combination promotion, as well as other promotions. Some have claimed that Cosmo’s digital circ was always a phantom, and that the declines seen today (digital subs stand at barely over 100K) shows that digital editions were never really selling.