Are Print Media Dying in China?

Do you still remember there was a time when we took fashion magazines with us when we were rushing to the restroom? Do you still remember when we bought and cut off the pages inside a Vogue, made collages when there were dresses that we love and long to have? (Specifically, do guys still remember when you posted sexy pictures of ladies in swimsuits from magazines on your bedroom wall?) Well, now it is very likely that all these high school memories in our generation may be written in a history textbook, and will probably no longer exist.


According to the financial report released in August 2013 by Modern Media Ltd., one of the leading media company in Greater China area, by the end of June 2013, Modern Media has witnessed a 78% decline, gaining only 3,000,000 RMB (500,000 USD) in profits compared to that of 2012. You cannot even afford a decent house with this amount of money in Mainland China. Moreover, in correspondence with that, the advertising volume in fashion industry especially in print media has also witnessed a downfall in recent years. As the number of digital platforms are rising, consumers are more willing to download magazines with interactive features from App Store, follow fashion tycoons’ fashion blogs, facebook pages, twitters, and weibos (Chinese version of Twitter), than to purchase real print version with similar contents. That really makes sense. If I can enjoy the same thing online, then why should I pay extra money for it?

However, price is not the only factor that influences consumers’ buying behavior. The marketing research site eMarket recently carried out a report about the average time that people spend per day on different media (see the charts below). Being bombarded by media and information, people are spending less and less time on print media. According to the same research in the U.S., there is a clear diminishing trend in time spent with print media from 2010 to 2013.

无标题2 无标题3

There is another field research done by a company in China about the sales of kiosks in the capital city Beijing. According to the data, the average daily sales of newspapers and magazines is around 100 RMB (17 USD), which is 50% less than that of 2012.

Facing this fact, are print media really dying in China? If yes, print media in the U.S may not be far behind. So what should print media companies such as Modern Media in China do to cope with this situation? How can we revolutionize traditional advertising on print media? Do our children still have a chance to make collages as we did before?


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Are Print Media Dying in China?

  1. allarson says:

    Does this data take tablet reading into consideration? While people may not be buying Vanity Fair at the newspaper stand anymore, there is a strong movement towards reading traditional publications on iPads, Kindles, and the like. The experience of reading a magazine on a tablet is designed to have that same “look and feel” of flipping through a physical copy. Perhaps the word “Print” should be expanded to accommodate the consumption of more traditional media in non-traditional formats.

    However, I do feel something is lost in our inability to physically scrapbook and collage favorite things. It inspired a level of engagement that is lost on new media. But then again, perhaps the idea of “collaging” has also been updated. Look at fashion bloggers– they are continually taking their favorite bits and pieces and compiling digital “mood boards” or inspirational looks. There is also Polyvore, which allows users to assemble their looks in a collage-like way. Oooh! And what about Pinterest?!

  2. fennihua says:

    Though I agree that digital magazines have had a huge impact on traditional print media, but I don’t think that they will go away any time soon. One simple reason is that there is no way to scale advertising value on digital magazines yet. But in traditional print magazines, there is a much better chance that advertisements will leave an impression to readers. Also, there are many people who are old-fashioned and prefer to have magazines in their hands instead of staring at the computer screen, and that’s probably why newspapers still exist.

    I can’t say for the far future, but I do think print magazines will stay around at least for the future 5 years.

  3. wanyang says:

    Although the print media is losing its power than before, I still believe it is worthwhile to place advertising on the traditional media since they still have many devoted and valuable audiences. However, unlike online channel, the form of advertising on print media is relatively limited since it lacks of variation and interaction.

    Further, the fact that people tend to spend less time on print media is very alarming. One of the reasons might be our ability to process informative and complicated messages has been degraded gradually. In the era of new media, we are heavily relying on images and fragmented messages and losing the patience and ability to read long and insightful analysis. Now, the most important task for markets is to get audiences’ attention in a straightforward and simple way.

  4. Siyu says:

    I think there is still a market for print media, especially for fashion magazines. Like we discussed in class, the purchasing of magazine is often considered as an impulse behavior. Therefore, the decision of buying magazines is more random compared to buying other consumer goods.

    And I’ve also read this research/article about the lost of revenue of fashion magazines. What I found is that Grazia Magazine (the Chinese Version, or called “Red Show” in China) experienced a rapid growth in the revenues. Therefore, top fashion magazines such as Vogue and Bazaar should adjust to the new trend adding high-street fashion in the content, though I’m sure they will be too proud to do it.