Content and demographic discrepancies that exist between women's fashion magazines and their corresponding websites
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 15:58 by Lauren Watson
Introduction: The digitization of women’s fashion magazines is an on-going development in recent years. The rise of fashion bloggers and online-only fashion publications on the internet have forced major print publications to develop and expand their companion websites. Over the last decade, sales of print fashion magazines have steadily declined, while costs of printing have steadily risen. As a result, major publications have looked towards the cheaper alternative of developing websites in order to deliver digital content to their readers and further establish a strong presence online. By utilizing such digital platforms, women’s fashion publications have found a way to reach large audiences with generally free and easily accessible content that is produced with a high frequency. With a secondary medium of digital fashion magazines complimenting their original print publications, discrepancies in content between print and digital platforms emerge. Several factors play a part in the discrepancy between print and digital content. One of the primary factors, suggested by researcher Ytre-Anne is the way in which older audiences prefer physical print editions of magazines over newer digital alternatives (Ytre-Anne 2011). This factor may cause print fashion magazines to specifically cater towards an older demographic in order to maintain or increase sales. Furthermore, as the development of the internet and the rise of fashion blogs in the late 1990s into the new millennium worked to target younger audiences who were familiar with technological advancements, it may be argued that a younger readership may be the target of online publications (Magee 2012, Turner 2009). Similarly, other studies have shown that younger audiences prefer fashion products to be featured on, or endorsed by celebrities, pointing towards the idea that a younger audience prefers content with celebrity news or features. Other factors that might indicate discrepancies in content are product price ranges, with lower priced ready-to-wear fashion featured more frequently online. Alongside such differences in content, several technical features can also cause differences in content. As the internet allows for instant updates on the latest news and fashion, magazine websites are now outputting content on a daily basis as opposed to their print counterparts who typically produce editions on a monthly basis. This phenomenon can ultimately lead to differences in content between the print and online versions of a fashion magazine. My Major Research Project will seek to identify key developments and patterns that might derive from discrepancies in content between women’s fashion magazines’ print editions and their corresponding websites. Using a primarily qualitative approach, my research study will include a content analysis of four North American women’s fashion magazines and a series of interviews with corresponding fashion editors. The content analysis will look for several characteristics present in each fashion magazine’s print edition and its corresponding website, including product pricing, demographic target, as well as celebrity references. The content analysis will further work to compare data between each fashion magazine’s print edition and its corresponding website. In order to further my evidence I will conduct interviews with fashion magazine editors to gain a professional perspective on the subject. The interview portion of this research study will work to provide professional opinion on the subject of content and demographic discrepancies between print fashion magazines and their corresponding websites. Overall, I am interested in the topic of content discrepancies between published print fashion magazines versus their corresponding websites. My aim is not to argue for or against one medium, but instead to look at the implications that might result from content discrepancies between the two mediums. Finally, I hypothesize two primary results: (1) that there are discrepancy patterns in content between a fashion magazine’s print edition and its website, and (2) these discrepancies suggest a difference in demographics, in which online formats target a younger audience and print versions aim to appeal to an older demographic. These findings will work to illuminate key patterns in the fashion publishing industry in terms of content and demographic discrepancies found between online and print versions. As little research has been conducted in this area, it will act as a starting point for future research to explore these patterns more in depth. As digital fashion journalism is still a topic under development, this study will contribute towards a larger goal of conceptualizing digital journalism more broadly. Similarly, the results of this study aim to provide insight and analysis into the current trends in fashion journalism, further assisting fashion editors and journalists in the industry. The overall goal of my research project will seek to establish that within the field of fashion publication in the year 2015, age is an important factor in patterns of print versus online fashion journalism.