Rethinking women’s glossies

Is it time for women's magazines to rethink traditional business models?

InStyle magazine recently partnered with Birchbox

The latest circulation figures for women's health and beauty magazines in the UK paint a bleak picture for the health of the industry. According to the UK's ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations), circulation numbers between January to June this year for Grazia magazine fell -9.9%, Look declined -11.3% while ELLE plummeted -12.3%. In fact, women's health & beauty titles fell -10.2% in period on period circulation.

Journalist Jo Fairley recently wrote in The Telegraph that the only way to ensure the survival of women's magazines is to support them: “Read 'em or lose 'em. Because that's what it boils down to”. Fairley has a point – consumer publishing would fail to exist without the support of its readers. But what's of underrated importance is the need for the industry to understand and adapt to today's magazine consumer by rethinking traditional business models.

A number of major women's titles have already followed this path, building on their editorial authority by forming strategic retail partnerships. For ELLE magazine, beauty offered the perfect opportunity.

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