Oprah Winfrey ending print edition of ‘O’ magazine after 20 years
Oprah Winfrey’s magazine will cease its monthly print publication following the December 2020 issue and go entirely digital next year — ending a 20-year run.
“As the brand celebrates twenty years of O, The Oprah Magazine, we’re thinking about what’s next, but again the partnership and the brand are not going away,” Hearst said in a statement Monday, confirming a Business of Fashion report from July 24. “This is a natural next step for the brand, which has grown to an online audience of 8 million, extending its voice and vision with video and social content. We will continue to invest in this platform as the brand grows and evolves into one that is more digitally-centric.”
The magazine could still make an appearance with a quarterly edition, special editions or higher-priced newstand editions.
The coronavirus has pummeled the publishing industry generally as advertisers have dramatically cut back on spending. But the decline in popularity of O magazine can be traced to Oprah‘s decision to end her top-rated talk show in 2011 after 25 years.
“It was very strong on the newsstand when people actually went to the newsstand to buy magazines,” noted one insider.
Kicked off in 2000 as a joint venture between Oprah’s Harpo Productions and Hearst, O enjoyed enormous popularity in the early years. Total circulation soared to over 3 million, including one million newsstands copies sold each month.
By the end of 2019, the magazine’s monthly circulation was 2.3 million, which is still strong circulation, but the highly profitable single-copy sales portion of that total had fallen to just 228,989 per month, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. And with advertisers cutting back on their spending in print even before the coronavirus pandemic erupted in March, the magazine became more expensive to maintain.
“I’m proud of this team and what we have delivered to our readers over the past 20 years,” said Oprah, who appeared on every cover through the years. “I look forward to the next step in our evolution.”
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