ESPN Body Issue

ESPN Ends Its Print Run

As ESPN released its well-known and annual “Body Issue,” they also announced that this would be the last print edition. From here forward, ESPN The Magazine will be ending their print run, continuing with only digital issues on their multimedia platform. These issues will be published via a monthly cover story, similar to what a print issue would be, and will include more than just the usual cover story, such as social media incorporation and other multimedia components. 

For such a large brand to go all-digital, points towards an ongoing trend that is happening in the publishing industry. As readership preferences change and media consumption changes, the publishing industry needs to respond to these changes. As a result, many brands have moved to digital only publishing. 

For many brands that have gone to solely digital publishing of their issues, the cost of publishing a print magazine likely became prohibitive. Readership fees likely could not be increased to keep up with costs for the writing, editing, photography, printing, and distribution that goes along with a print issue. 

Along similar lines, advertising revenue for print issues may be stagnant or in decline. Because of the way media consumption is changing and how much free content consumers are expecting, securing the big advertiser deals is challenging. Because of the difficulty in getting consumer and advertising revenue to match and exceed the cost of print issues, it simply doesn’t make sense for some magazines to publish physical issues. 

While they may not be publishing physical issues in the future, ESPN will still be producing content just like a magazine does. Though they are changing the delivery medium, they are still a magazine and will continue to operate as one. To do so, they will be publishing a cover story every month, similar to the cover story that comes along with a monthly print magazine. 

This major change from such a major brand, signals the changes happening overall in the publishing industry today. More brands are turning their focus to their digital offerings, whether they are going solely digital, or if they are increasing the amount of content they provide on their digital platform compared to their physical delivery medium.

At eMagazines, we offer state of the art digitization of any print magazine. Our reflowed digital editions bring along the best parts of the physical reading experience, but also offer the flexibility and ease of reading digital. When consumers read a digital magazine from eMagazines, they no longer need to login or download an app. Instead, they simply click the link that comes to their email when the newest issue is ready for them to read. The flow mimics that of a physical magazine, with similar page turning techniques. 

As consumers continue to rely on digital platforms when consuming media rather than print platforms, more and more brands will have to make a decision about the cost of publishing a print issue versus a digital issue. They must consider that readers are looking to engage with their brands anytime, anywhere. Digital platforms not only offer readers more flexibility, but are often times more cost-effective. We look forward to seeing the strides that ESPN Magazine will no doubt make when their first digital only offering of the annual “Body Issue” is released next year.