Glamour Magazine Abandons Monthly Print For Digital Double Down

 Photo Credit: Screenshot of article in  The New York Times.

Photo Credit: Screenshot of article in The New York Times.

In January 2018, the stepping aside of Glamour’s longtime editor in chief, Cindi Leive, became official, and, Samantha Barry, a digitally based  journalist with extensive background in the digital television space at CNN Worldwide as an executive producer for social and emerging media, stepped in. Cindi had also been the editor in chief of Self, another print magazine that ceased printing monthly issues.

Monthly Schedule Not A Thing Anymore At Glamour

Upon her arrival, Samantha reduced the numbers of monthly publications from 12 to 11, gave the print magazine a makeover, completely changing the type treatment of the logo, and on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, announced that the monthly print magazine version of Glamour would cease. 

As first reported by The New York Times, and then The Hollywood Reporter, Samantha stated that she sees no need for a monthly print schedule for the brand anymore. In fact, that Glamour is not just a magazine, that it is a brand. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Samantha stated that Glamour will continue to produce printed editions of its tentpole issues like its “Women of the Year” issue.

In her interview on Cheddar, Samantha is putting Glamour's eggs into the video and event baskets, saying that portions of the Glamour audience are spending more than a minute, sometimes up to half hours on their video content. Being that Samantha comes from the TV world, she is comfortable in this vehicle for storytelling and ad delivery. However, she came from a large cable network - CNN - where their base is TV. In magazines, the base is the book, and the social and the video are the spinoff. Looks like Samantha is bucking this model.

“Doubling Down on Digital”

In her goodbye-to-print email to the editorial staff obtained and quoted by The Hollywood Reporter:  

 "We’re doubling down on digital — investing in the storytelling, service and fantastic photo shoots we’ve always been known for, bringing it to the platforms our readers frequent most. We’ll be expanding video and social storytelling, with new and ambitious series and projects.”

What’s In A Book?

Glamour is committing now to the crowded space of digital with its many mediums, abandoning its loyalty vehicle - the printed book - the magazine. What digital-only producers, editors, and storytellers might not realize is how the printed page carries weight in the hands of their audience. While the people reading the magazine may frequent online spaces more, the printed book helps to define the brand.

According to The New York Times: “Although the number of Glamour’s paid subscribers has remained stable over the last three years, at around 2.2 million, Ms. Barry said it was time for the publication to break away from the printed page.”

The advantage that magazines have over media outlets with no print extension is that they are able to design a deeper experience on the page in the layout of a book. The advantage that digital mediums like blogs have over traditional print is that they understand the online space better and can spread the word farther.

It is the opinion of this writer that the combination of the two - the digital and the print - is an enrichment technique. I say this as a blogger. I am a digitally based producer of content who sees the emotional reactions of people to the printed page, vs the online experience. While the online experience may have more exposure with a larger footprint, the emotional imprint is still there for the printed page. Thereby making the digital version of print even more valuable.

Glamour magazine is in the Condé Nast family. It was founded by the Condé Nast father himself as a vehicle for storytelling of Hollywood Glamour. The magazine’s direction has changed since then, as Glamour has taken on more of an empowerment and educational role for women. Add this move to its evolution.

Vogue’s famed editor in chief, Anna Wintour, is the artistic director for Condé Nast. According to The New York Times article, she enthusiastically supports the release of Glamour magazine’s printed edition, as she did for the ceasing of the printed editions of Self and Teen Vogue. Would Anna encourage the stopping of monthly printing for Vogue magazine? Could you imagine such a thing?

In the Cheddar interview, Samantha acknowledges that there are advertising dollars for print ads, and less so for banner ads on the internet. Branded content can make up for that, as it’s storytelling vs static visual. However, the desire for brands to place print ads still exists, and they are still effective in the impression they leave behind. Therefore, what does it mean to other magazines when a heavy hitter in the industry like Glamour leaves? One answer could be that print ads in existing magazines get more valuable, as there are fewer print outlets. Hence, a possible enthusiastic support by one editor in chief for the decision to abandon print by another editor in chief.

What Does Digital Glamour Mean for Businesses, Artists + PR?

What does this mean for business owners, artists and makers trying to get featured in Glamour? It means a few things:

Pitching Glamour just got more fractured.
You will be pitching tiny corners of Glamour, and by corners I mean video segments, contributing writers and social media handlers. See Tin Shingle’s Training TuneUp here with a contributing writer at GQ and others about how she approaches writing assignments. There may be assignment editors who see everything at the very top line, but they are seeing the overall message delivery for several media mediums. Pitching can be more frequent, different and specialized as you reach more media creators for Glamour. How a feature on your business will get produced has increased in variety.

Crossover for visual storytellers in video and TV just got better.
Opportunities increased for video segments. While writers may still be there to help write the script - if there is one - video editors and producers may be more involved here.

On-Air experts and TV personalities may also have an increased role to play.
The host of a segment will usually be delivering and guiding the segment. Tin Shingle’s Media Contact Lists include a search filter for On-Air Experts, making it easy for you to focus on pitching these types of media creators.