After 280 years as an ink on paper product, Lloyd’s List is weighing anchor as a newspaper and sailing into the sunset, and will become ‘digital only’ from 20 December.
At Lloyd’s when there’s bad news to be announced they ring the Lutine Bell.
Publishers: it tolls for thee.
I’d promised myself not to do it. Here I am sunning myself on the lovely Isle of Barra, where the temperature has climbed to a balmy 14 degrees, so I shouldn’t be playing with yon interweb.
Plus, it’s not to do with the demise of any printed products, but some of those new-fangled digital titles. And it’s about Future Publishing* so it seems like kicking a man when he’s down.
Then again, when a man’s down is the easiest and most effective time to put the tacketie buits in.
So our old pals in Bath have announced the death of two of their products in the last few weeks. The first was Tech, a “weekly international iPad magazine aimed at busy technology enthusiasts,” who were far too busy to read or to buy the product, and the second was Tap! the digital zombie left when the print version of the title was axed last year.
Even then I might have left mentioning these new corpses were it not for the comment about the closures that Nial Ferguson, Future’s MD of technology, film and games made to MediaBriefing , “there is learning in everything we do, and we’re looping that learning back across our teams as we drive on.”
“Looping that learning” – a phrase to savour.
*I know they’ve dropped the word ‘Publishing’ from their company name as that is so last century, so I feel it right and proper to go on using it, even if only to irritate Mark Wood.
Not even this old pessimist saw this one coming, but HRH Nicholas Coleridge has just announced the closure of Easy Living. Although, of course, it’s not closing, it’s suspended. And it’s definitely not closing, it’s going digital only. From the press release:
The print publication of Easy Living will be suspended from the July issue, … Condé Nast will now enter a period of statutory consultation with the title’s team, following which a final decision will be made on the future of the print publication. [I think we probably know what this decision will be don't we boys and girls?]
Quoth his Nicholasness “… we see few encouraging signs in this part of the market, with challenges at newsstand and an increasing reliance in the sector on multi-bagged offerings. Easy Living’s print edition has a significant loyal fan base and subscriber base whom we will be reluctant to disappoint, and a particularly talented editorial and publishing staff. ”
Presumably, therefore, the “particularly talented editorial and publishing staff” have nothing to fear from the “period of statutory consultation”?
So the inevitable has happened at Autotrader with five of their titles -Autotrader, Top Marques (geddit), Truck and Plant, Van Trader and Farm Trader – going to that great breakers yard in the sky. Even two years ago Autotrader was selling over 60,000 copies a week, but it is now down to just 27,000 – a stunning illustration of how cyberspace ((c) HM the Queen) has devastated the classifieds business, whether that is small ads, recruitment or listings.
Looking more broadly at the motoring category we can see that there are some vulnerable big names, with Dennis, Haymarket and Bauer all having multiple products that are leaking readers and advertisers like oil from a Mark 1 Escort. What, really, is the point of a weekly car magazine? Or a monthly ‘motoring news’ title? Exactly.
After 87 years it looks like Bridge magazine have discarded their ink on paper edition and gone digital only.
Who’s playing dummy?
ArtsProfessional, the magazine of news, information and features about management, development and administration of the arts has gone digital only with no paywall and no subscription, and funded entirely by advertising.
They say “[T]he rapid trend towards digital consumption, the 24-hour online news culture, the sharp contraction of the cultural sector …, the squeezing of arts organisations’ budgets … and the rising costs of print and postage have conspired against the economics of print publishing.”
Private Frazer has a couple of other appropriate quotes: “Making money is art.” (Andy Warhol); “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” (Picasso)
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.
To complete this week’s hat trick of print titles going ‘digital only’, Qube magazine – “proud to service the Facilities Management sector” (no, me neither) – has announced that its December issue was the last in the old, boring, fuddy-duddy ink on paper format.
It is venturing boldly into the future: “we are concentrating on our digital magazine and online presence that will give us more 21st century appeal and abilities”.
[h/t to Norman for the link]
Print is on the receiving end of another knockdown as Newsquest’s Fighting Fit magazine has thrown in the towel on its dead tree edition.
Print: floats like a bee, stings like a butterfly.