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Magazines with largest online audience in the U.S. 2020

The leading U.S. magazine brand website in the country in September 2020 was WebMD Magazine, which drew in 11.68 million unique online visitors that month. Third on the list was The Atlantic, an American magazine founded in 1857 in Boston, which provides online and print content. Print media, especially magazines and newspapers, has been deeply affected by the digital revolution and The Atlantic is just one of many publications making changes to adapt to modern media consumption.

The decline of print in the U.S.

Print media has been struggling to keep up with digital formats for years, and not only in the United States. Even Playboy’s global circulation figures have dropped significantly over the last two decades, barely surpassing 200 thousand in 2018 despite having still amounted to over one million just five years earlier. The magazine has also been stripped back from six issues per year to four and the brand as a whole has lost traction in terms of social media followers. Whilst Playboy is a very specific example in terms of its niche, the magazine was once iconic in the U.S. and its downfall is symptomatic not just of changing attitudes towards the publication’s content but also the decline of traditional media in general. Some magazine brands have turned to video in an effort to draw in a larger audience, and magazines and newspapers alike have had to move online (with some axing their print formats altogether) to retain readers.

The paid circulation of daily newspapers in the U.S. amounted to just 28.6 million in 2018, almost half the number recorded for 1998. Many newspapers and magazines sidestep questions about their circulation, and some have ceased publishing such figures, and Glamour, Seventeen and Coastal Living are just some examples of magazines that moved away from print in 2018. From middle-market newspaper USA Today to age-old dailies like the Boston Globe, few publications are totally safe from the mass exodus away from physical media to digital.

Number of unique online visitors to websites of select U.S. magazine brands in September 2020

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Release date

January 2021


United States

Survey time period

September 2020

Age group

18 years and older

Special properties

via desktop or laptop. Data accessed on January 11, 2020

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Statistics on "Magazine industry in the U.S."

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