By Annie Ross
Sports Illustrated once ruled the roost when it came to the world of fun and games.
Then ESPN happened.
Then the Internet happened.
And now SI has gotten the message:
Sports Illustrated dropped its print editions to 51 issues in 2015 to 45 in 2016 to 38 this year.
Now, Yahoo’s Daniel Roberts reports that there could be an even more drastic reduction of SI print issues in 2018:
Meanwhile, the legacy magazines have cranked up the volume of short-form news posts online: last year, Time Inc created a “shared digital newsroom” with 10 cross-magazine desks, organized by beat.
The biggest push is, unsurprisingly, in video. Last year Time Inc launched PEN (People Entertainment Weekly Network), an over-the-top (OTT) video app; CEO Rich Battista said at NewFronts in May that PEN has seen millions of downloads. In the fall, it will launch Sports Illustrated Network, an OTT product with documentaries, fantasy sports analysis, and SI Swimsuit content.
As Time Inc has shifted its focus to video, print issue counts have shrunk. As recently as 2015, Sports Illustrated put out 51 issues. In 2016, it went to 45 issues. This year, Sports Illustrated will put out just 38 issues. Time Inc says its 2018 print plan is not finalized yet, but two sources at Sports Illustrated tell Yahoo Finance the total will likely shrink again, potentially to as few as 24, turning the magazine into a bi-weekly.