This week I was invited to give a presentation to the staff of NZ Doctor magazine and a couple of its sister publications. I was asked to reflect on the state of the magazine industry and the future of news and journalism.
The slideshow is available for download, but today a story about the potential sale or closure of Newsweek brings the issue into stark relief.
According to news reports Newsweek is losing money fast and if a buyer is not found soon, it may close, but perhaps it’s not the only title to be facing an uncertain future.
I recently got an email from the publisher Conde Nast offering me heavily discounted subscriptions to most of its magazine titles. Unfortunately, it seems that because I live in New Zealand I can’t take advantage of this bargain.
Wired for $US 10 and The New Yorker for $40, a delight for magazine readers. But, why would Conde Nast do this? I can only think it’s because the magazines are not doing well and they want to shore up circulation figures to shill the advertisers.
News stand sales of magazines are also falling, around 7 per cent last year in Australia and by even more in the United States.
1. Cosmopolitan – 1,616,908 (down 7.8 percent)
2. People – 1,319,350 (down 12.77 percent)
3. Woman’s World – 1,175,550 (down 8.31 percent)
4. First – 1,066,167 (down 9.29 percent)
5. Us Weekly – 843,479 (down 2.98 percent)
6. In Touch Weekly – 745,123 (down 17.67 percent)
7. O, the Oprah Magazine – 693,054 (down 5.58 percent)
8. Family Circle – 673,286 (down 22.55 percent)
9. In Style – 625,589 (down 20.13 percent)
10. Star – 601,115 (down 14.29 percent)
Industry types are saying that the slump in advertising revenues that dogged news and magazine publishers in 2009 might now be over and that sales are trending up. Figures seem to be still reasonable with the top four US titles all still selling over 1 million copies, but the percentage drops are huge for some.
Perhaps there’s not many real magazine buffs out there anymore, but I for one will not be curling up in bed with an iPad anytime soon. I like to read a magazine and to do the puzzles with a pencil.