While newspaper sales in Germany continue to trend downward, there is a boom in demand for glossy magazines as wired Germans find the time to unwind, according to the German website DW. The main reason? Readers need downtime that they can’t find it on digital.
“It’s like switching off,” says Birgit von Gfug, a magazine reader in Berlin who was interviewed for the piece. “When I browse the Internet it feels like work, especially after I’ve spent the day at work in front of my computer.”
For von Gfug and others like her, magazines give them a chance to unplug, unwind and truly relax. And they are eating up titles in the categories of fashion and style, natural living and cooking.
These are topics that provide “an escape from everyday life,” according to the video. This escape theme is huge right now, as shown by the popularity of new title Emotion Slow, which celebrates all things chill.
“Nowadays we’re always hearing the idea of more, more, more,” says Emotion Slow editor-in-chief Mareile Braun. “Our magazine propagates the idea that less is more.”
“A magazine is something you pick up repeatedly,” continues Braun, “and you might want to keep it long-term. I think that’s something that’s sustainable in the development of the print market in general.
“People treat magazines a bit like books,” she continues, “as something that has value and quality.”
More than a third of all the magazines sold in German newsstands have been on the market for less than 10 years. Stephan Scherzer of the German Trade Association of Magazine Publishers credits the younger generation for much of the success of these new titles.
“On the Internet [younger people] find blogs and websites on every topic,” Scherzer notes. “Vertical integration is very pronounced. What people learn from digital media, they see replicated in kiosks. They can find a magazine about any topic they can find on the Internet, featuring exciting articles and high-quality pictures.”
Scherzer also notes that the strong reading culture in his country makes people willing to pay more for good reading material. And the robust distribution network means magazines are ubiquitous and readily available, making them a true part of everyday life.
Still, only high quality and interesting content can expect to do well, which is true in the United States as well. Being good just isn’t good enough in this new digital age, but if you can rise above and create something truly great, your audience will respond in kind.