News from the literary world courtesy of Media Bistro, as Granta magazine loses not only its editor, but also its deputy editor. And its associate editor. And its art director. Oh, and they’re also closing their New York office.
Ordinarily, this would mean that the odds on the title getting to its next issue would be very long indeed, but when you’re owned by a billionaire heiress the normal rules probably don’t apply – in all sorts of ways.
A chill wind blows along the corridors of Factory Media’s offices as the decision is taken to reduce the publishing frequency of Cooler magazine to just two per year.
But as usual, as the attached letter to subscribers shows, this is not a retreat, but a victory!
If magazine publishing continues to have triumphs such as this, by the end of the decade only one edition of one magazine will be published – but it will be the best thing in the whole wide world.
H/T to JK
News from Hammersmith as Haymarket offload Nursery World and Printweek to the Mark Allen Group. The value of the sale (which will be of interest to Haymarket debt watchers), is not mentioned.
Printweek will be relaunched as a fortnightly. (Presumably called Print2weeks)
Jane Macken, md of Haymarket Business Media is quoted as saying, “The sale of the titles allows HBM to concentrate on its core markets in line with the company’s group growth strategy.“
That’s growth as in “growth (sic)”.
h/t to Mr X (I suspect that’s not his real name)
“See a dinosaur come to life” was one of the cover lines on the launch issue of Bonnier’s Science Illustrated UK.
One dinosaur that failed to show much life at all was the magazine itself, which seems to have met its own extinction event after less than six months. The Science Illustrated UK website tells its own story.
With the less than stellar sales of Bauer’s Wonderpedia (a million quid launch for 20,000 sales) perhaps publishers’ research into this category has been less than world class.
The news that IPC are going to lay off 150, or 8%, of their staff as part of “organisational changes” definitely puts the titles over at Auton Towers on the watch list.
Although IPC defenestrated as many of its underperforming magazines as it could in 2010, even it was unable to find enough mug punters to take all of its lame ducks. Couple that with IPC’s heavy dependence on advertising (there seems to have been little diversification into additional revenue streams) and you have major problems.
Of course, Private Frazer could be very wrong (it is my default position after all) and the cuts might be entirely because the US parent company needs to make big savings and the incredibly profitable UK arm has to share the pain. Yeah, as they say, right.
Watch this space.
Sylvia’s email to the IPC infantry can be read in full here. This is also where any new news will find a home.
IPC staffers with stories to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Anonymity guaranteed.
The latest print publication to go digital only is Artrocker magazine and, what would you know, this isn’t a setback, according to Tom Fawcett the editor in chief, it’s a reason for jubilation:
“When people were still ‘clubbing’ … we started a rock’n’roll night …. When people were saying the music industry was dead we launched a record label …. People were saying ‘Magazines are over’ so we started a magazine”
And when people were saying “the printer’s bill needs paying”, we went digital only.
Isn’t irony great? As Apple sell their expensive boxes in ever-increasing amounts, the number of people who are prepared to buy a magazine about those boxes grows ever smaller.
And so it is with Macuser magazine, who’s “unique fortnightly frequency” is about to become, er, monthly and so not unique.
This of course should not be taken as a reverse in fortune. Oh no. The editor writes:
“we can add significantly more pages to the magazine, use a higher grade of paper, and increase the cover price … our readers love print”
The ABC for Macuser magazine in 2011 was 8,518, a drop of over 10% on the 2010 figure.
There’s a free iPad for every reader if their print sale goes up when next week’s ABC figures are released.
Like the demise of Blockbuster, the surprise with the news that Marketing is likely to go monthly is more in the fact that it hadn’t closed years ago.
That a weekly controlled circulation title has survived this far into the decade deserves some sort of award, but at least we will now all be spared dozens of poly wrapped magazines clogging up the post room because they are addressed to people who left the company years previously.
Haymarket have not yet confirmed that Marketing will change frequency, but if by the end of 2013 either it or Centaur’s Marketing Week are still publishing every week, I’ll eat my sporran. The bigger question really is whether they will still be publishing at all.
What are we to make of the news that Readers Digest is laying off 90 staff and trying to sort out a Corporate Voluntary Arrangement?
The first thing to note is that a CVA isn’t an insolvency or a liquidation, but a process a company uses to try to avoid going out of business. If an agreement is reached with creditors then a proportion of debt is written off and a payment schedule for the outstanding amount is put in place. If agreement isn’t reached then the creditors can push the company into administration.
The second point is that as the direct marketing division doesn’t seem to be a separate company, it is Vivat Direct itself that is trying to get a CVA*. If this fails then the whole of the company, including the magazine business, will be forced into administration.
And the third point is that non-magazine sources used to constitute 80-90% of Reader’s Digest’s revenue. If any print product does survive these next few weeks then the size of the company will be worth a fraction of what Better Capital paid for it three years ago.
*Interestingly, the FT squib says BECAP values the investment at just £1 million. Better Capital paid £13 million for RDUK in 2010.
MediaWeek reports that Amuse, “the free monthly fashion glossy for London” is suspending publication because it has run out of money.
Quoth the magazine’s publisher Stephen Murphy: “The advertising sale is more difficult than expected.“
Compare and contrast with the Stephen’s statement on the Amuse website: “advertisers appreciate the benefit of free. We invest in content and quality – that brings the readers – and then the advertisers follow.”
Perhaps the ‘freemium’ [sic] route isn’t the way to publishing riches after all?