December 1, 2016 Last Updated 1:34 pm

Condé Nast’s Self magazine goes digital only after Feb. 2017 issue

Carolyn Kylstra, currently executive digital director, has been promoted to editor-in-chief, replacing Joyce Chang who has been editor of the title since 2014

Yet another print magazine is being shuttered, as Condé Nast today announced that Self would stop producing a print edition with the February 2017 issue.

self-dec16-300Consumer magazines generally close the advertising for their issues several months before the actual production and mailing of the issue. So, the two periods of time that can be dangerous are when budgets are set (typically late summer into early fall) and after the first couple of issues of the new year have closed. It is then that media executives can look the projected P&Ls, or see how the first few issues have performed.

Self will continue on as a digital brand, but there will be changes. Carolyn Kylstra, currently executive digital director, has been promoted to editor-in-chief, and Joyce Chang, who came over from Hearst in 2014 is out.

Condé Nast is, of course, as you will see below, presenting the change as some sort of digital transformation. But if digital were performing so well it would have helped support the print edition. That is rare, however.

But it is not unheard of. This is precisely what more progressive magazines are trying to do, expand their digital, video and events businesses, hoping that at some point they will be more profitable than print. But at that point, print will still be the flagship product, the promotional and marketing tool that makes digital, video and events click. Think about the value of the Apple Stores to Apple – that is what a print magazine might prove to be for magazine brands, the thing that brings in the readers and shows off the brand best. That’s why most digital media people I know still love print (contrary to what some print diehards believe about digital pros).

Here is Condé Nast’s announcement:

NEW YORK, NY – December 1, 2016 – Condé Nast today announced that Carolyn Kylstra has been promoted to editor-in-chief of Self, the company’s popular health and wellness brand. The company also announced a significant investment and a new content and distribution strategy that will transform Self into a digital, video and socially-led brand. As a result of the new content strategy, Self’s regular print production will end with the February 2017 issue. In the future, Self will publish special print editions around health and wellness-related moments throughout the year. The Chinese edition of Self will continue to print its monthly edition.

kylstra-200Earlier this year, embarked on a new digital content strategy led by social video and a completely redesigned and modernized website. Self’s expanded video lineup speaks to the entire spectrum of wellness, focusing on health, fitness, healthy eating, body positivity and self-expression. To date this year, video viewership has experienced triple digit growth. In September 2016 broke all previous traffic records – the fourth time this year – with 5.3 million unique viewers, representing a 56% increase year-over-year. The brand also saw its highest engagement in September, with 49 million total minutes spent, representing a 460% increase year-over-year.*

“Audiences are more discerning than ever about how they live, and in Self, we have a popular and established brand that speaks directly to the burgeoning health and wellness movement,” said Anna Wintour, artistic director of Condé Nast and editor-in-chief of Vogue. “Carolyn has played a pivotal role in refining and focusing Self and understands how to create content that excites and inspires our audiences.”

By many estimates, the health and wellness industry has surpassed pharmaceuticals in overall dollars spent, and at $3.4 trillion dollars annually, has become a leading growth category for both audiences and advertisers alike,” said Jim Norton, chief business officer and president of revenue for Condé Nast. “By re-imagining how Self creates content –and how we distribute it, we are uniquely positioned to give consumers more of what they love while creating innovative and engaging opportunities for our advertising partners.”

Kylstra was appointed as the executive digital director of Self in September 2015, and has since overseen all digital editorial content for the brand. Previously, she was the health editor of BuzzFeed, where she launched their popular Health vertical. Prior to BuzzFeed, Kylstra spent two years as the site director of Women’s Health, spearheading editorial strategy for the brand. During her tenure, monthly traffic tripled and the brand’s social media audience grew by 220%. Previously, Kylstra was a senior editor at Cosmopolitan and began her career at Men’s Health.

*Source: comScore Media Metrix November 2013 – October 2016

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