Highlights, the beloved monthly kids’ magazine and staple of pediatricians’ offices – is now the subject of a documentary chronicling its history and the magazine’s 70th anniversary issue. 44 Pages gives viewers an up close and personal look at the inner workings of Highlights, which has been striving to have “fun with a purpose” since 1946. Unlike a lot of other children’s’ media, Highlights has long placed emphasis on puzzles and stories for kids ages 6 to 10 years old. Also unlike other magazines, it continues to exist.
It’s easy to underestimate Highlights, but the magazine has sold over one billion print copies since its first issue. In its heyday, Highlights had close to 2 million subscribers, a majority of whom were families. As print sales have gone down, the magazine has had to step into the world of digital publishing to stay relevant, something that 44 Pages will explore.
Despite a major decline in print sales in 2015, Highlights has continued to stay afloat without the assistance of ad-revenue. That’s particularly amazing when you consider the fact that social media companies like Facebook want to find ways to engage a younger audience, but can’t seem to do so without trying to sell children something.
44 Pages was screened at the 2018 SXSW festival, and will be opening at New York City’s IFC Center starting on April 18.