Opinion: Caitlyn Jenner Reminds Us Why Magazines Still Matter
There isn’t much else to say about Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn Jenner. From a media perspective, it has been an ongoing saga that’s dominated practically every medium.
Although we don’t know how Vanity Fair’s July issue will do on newsstands yet, or if the brand will see any kind of bump in subscriptions, what we do know is the story has serious legs and right now it’s impossible to spend five minutes online without seeing something on Jenner and her appearance on the cover. Obviously, Vanity Fair will have a traffic surge, as well as increased social media engagement this month, but what that equals in revenue is yet to be determined. The bigger takeaway here, for magazines, is that they’re still a vital platform for celebrities, which makes them an important piece of pop culture.
We all know that the industry has had a rough go of it over the past several years—circulations are dwindling, newsstands sales are bottoming out and advertisers are running to other channels, fast. Still, celebrities gravitate towards magazines when they have big news to share; whether it’s pictures of a newborn child, an attempt to set the record straight or revealing a major life change. For whatever reason, magazines have always had a leg up when it comes to getting the big celebrity scoop.
What’s especially interesting now is that the disruptive force many blame for the industry’s demise—the Internet—is arguably what’s keeping magazines relevant, when newsstands have become negligible. That is, blockbuster covers have an innate viral nature that can, sometimes, “break the Internet.”
It will be interesting to see what the data looks like after the smoke clears. Chances are, Vanity Fair will benefit, and likewise so will magazine media—symbolically, as they maintain their positioning within pop culture.