Glamour's Editor-in-Chief Kills Print Edition, Says She's Toying With Limited Paywall

Matt Baron/Shutterstock
November 21, 2018

By Carlo Versano

Condé Nast's shift to digital continued this week with an announcement that Glamour, the 80-year-old women's fashion magazine, would cease monthly print publication after its January 2019 issue. It follows similar moves by Teen Vogue and Self, other female-focused brands in the Condé stable. The vaunted magazine publisher lost $120 million last year amid a consolidation of its print properties.

Samantha Barry, the editor-in-chief of Glamour, explained the decision in an interview with Cheddar Wednesday as a natural evolution of the brand ー to make sure it's "front and center" for its readers on the digital platforms they use most. She said she will invest in new initiatives, like digital covers, video series, and special projects for web and social audiences. Condé Nast said no layoffs were planned as part of the shift, according to Variety.

In order to focus on digitally-native content , Barry "wanted to come off a monthly cycle," she said. She noted that while Glamour's print circulation was robust and stable ー 2.2 million subscribers get the magazine every month ー it paled in comparison to its online audience, which totals 20 million people a month across platforms, according to a company spokesperson.

In particular, Glamour's brand of "service journalism" that addresses wellness, sex, and fertility has been increasingly moving to online platforms. It was anachronistic to think that women were still waiting by their mailboxes each month to read and talk about those issues, Barry said.

While revenues from glossy print ads are generally far higher than what media brands can charge for digital ads, Barry said she plans to offset that difference by diversifying Glamour's revenue model with new opportunities for sponsors, such as branded content and live events like the recent Women of the Year Awards. Barry added that Glamour would continue to produce two to three print issues a year, tied to flagship events like Women of the Year. She also said she was "exploring" a paywall that would be narrow in scope, and target certain areas ー career and negotiating tips, as an example ー but said a decision has not been made.

As a Condé Nast title, Glamour is known for its high-quality content and lush photography. Barry said the shift to digital will not change that. "I want to take all of the quality that we've been doing in photography and fashion and beauty, and invest in that digitally."

The last regular print issue of Glamour will hit newsstands Tuesday.

For full interview click here.