Oprah’s magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, will stop circulating in print form in December 2020. For more than twenty years, the magazine is well-known for featuring a holiday list called “Oprah’s Favorite Things” and helping small businesses and entrepreneurs become successful. According to The Hollywood Reporter, as of 2020, the average paid circulation for the magazine was 2.2 million copies and a print audience of 10 million.
The magazine’s audience, as well as its digital platforms, is mainly women. Demographically, their subscribers are somewhat diverse, having various age groups and ethnic/racial groups. Considering several factors, why this announcement happened is up for speculation.
Brand Becoming More Digitally Centric
Prior to the announcement, Fox Business says there were sexual harassment allegations with the Hearst CEO, Troy Young, who resigned last Thursday, July 23. However, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that a representative of Hearst said that the brand will “[evolve into] a more digitally centric [platform].” The representative also said in a statement, “we’re thinking about what’s next, but again the partnership and the brand are not going away.”
Impact On Current O Magazine Subscribers
Based on the “O Media Kit,” about a third of readers are moms, and are millennial, ages 18 to 34 years old. The parent company’s informational website also says the average household income for O Magazine subscribers is roughly around $80,000. On the other hand, on their website, OprahMag.com, over a third of its subscribers are millennials, which has a higher household income of $99,000.
Shifting to a more digital platform may help retain subscribers or generate a new audience. Due to the pandemic causing many to work online and need for quick, accessible content, this shift may also help gain subscribers.
Why Digital Platforms May Not Be The Solution
However, according to Forbes, what keeps consumers glued to social media is by “[delivering] a constant dopamine hit of new stuff to read.” While social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have algorithms that show consumers the most “distracting content,” a single printed magazine issue may have issues trying to keep up interest in a “self-contained environment.” Forbes noted that every publication may have different results and it may depend on what the publication specializes in, if any.
The coming months will show how O, The Oprah Magazine handles the shift to a more digitally centric approach.