The sun’s out, so it’s spring cleaning time at Bauer with a two-for-one offer on magazine closures.
Last week they decided that Pregnancy and Birth was not the little bundle of joy that the accountants wanted (it was barely managing to sell 12,000 copies an issue), and now More! is less.
More!‘s fall is quite joyously spectacular. Its ABC for July-December 2010 was 188,000; for the same period last year it barely managed 92,000, a drop of more than half. Such a decline either suggests readers deserting in droves, or the switching off of a huge level of support and black hat circulation techniques. In the same period Grazia has lost 40,000 sales (17%) and Heat an impressive 110,000 (30%), none of which is going to endear Paul to the Germans.
Rumours are circulating that one, possibly two, other magazines in the Bauer portfolio may have announcements of their own in the coming weeks.
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)
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.
Last July Ken Monkou (“an ex-Chelsea player of the year”) launched a glossy quarterly magazine called Football Life.
It appears Mr Monkou’s concept of time is as elastic as stoppage time at Old Trafford as issue 2 has yet to haul itself off the bench, and the web address is redirecting to a design agency (www.footballlifemagazine.com).
From the launch PR:
In the football magazine genre, there is not a single publication that successfully gives a 360 degree world-view of the human stories and real life personalities behind the sport’s glamorous image.
And there still isn’t.
Back of the net!
(H/T to Michael)
It is five years since Private Frazer’s Doomed Magazines posted its first entry, a short squib about the death of Paranormal magazine. Since then there have been another 405 posts, a couple of thousand tweets and a few dozen truculent comments on the Press Gazette and Guardian Media pages.
The reach of the blog is small, with generally just over 1,000 visits a month (one picture of cute kittens would probably get more traffic). Its ‘influence’ is zero, knowledge of its existence is marginal and it attracts few comments.
But I have it on good authority that is has annoyed senior people at several publishing companies (hi, Stevie!) and at the PPA (here’s looking at you Bazza!), which does at least warm the cockles of my chill old heart.
Because if there was a point to the blog, beyond amusing myself, it was to try to irritate the complacency out of publishers; to shake that belief that the money would continue to flow because customers would continue to buy any old tosh that was served up to them and, because an ink on paper issue of Heat could trace a direct line back to Gutenberg, it was therefore a product that should be venerated. In particular it was a place to vent about the stupidity and short-sightedness of the many publishing companies who did not seem to appreciate that the industry needed more than another round of cost-cutting and redundancies to survive.
That the market was turning down in 2008 was pretty obvious, as was the fact that this was a structural rather than a cyclical downturn (although there were numerous voices both in my company and the broader industry that argued that this was temporary and that the good times would return). What even I didn’t appreciate then was just how bad things were going to get and how quickly. (more…)
It looks like I picked the wrong week to give up snark, as FeaturesExec report that Key’s Classic Aircraft has skittered off the end of the runway.
The exits are here, here and, specifically, here.
After 21 years the bottom has fallen out of the market for Lingerie Buyer, the magazine for everyone “trying to find out what is happening in the intimate apparel industry“.
As Private Frazer remains utterly ignorant of what’s happening in his own underwear, he is not likely to feel this loss of broader industry knowledge too keenly.
Private Frazer was away last week on the sun-drenched beaches of North Uist so has only just got round to looking at the ABC release of the July-December circulation figures.
Appropriately for a report that came out on February 14th, publishers have suffered an absolute massacre. What to pick out from the jewels at the bottom of the vat of red ink?
One could point at Reader’s Digest which saw 138,000 copies fall away over the year (that’s over a third of its 2011 circulation); or Bauer, whose easy-going owners are no doubt blase about losses of 15%, 20% and 40% respectively for Closer, Heat and More.
Hearst’s printers too will have more capacity on their presses as Cosmo drops 69,000 copies, Reveal sheds 67,000, Company loses 59,000 and Best takes a 40,000 circulation bath.
Or should we laud Immediate, who have managed to take massive hits on four of their biggest brands – Good Food, Top Gear, Gardeners World and Radio Times are all over 30,000 copies down.
No, this time the prize has to go to Northern and Shell with three stellar performances: over 107,000 lost from each of Star and New!, and a 46,000 drop for OK! A quarter of a million copies an issue gone, like the memories of better days.
While I get round to digesting last week’s ABC returns, here’s an indication of where the market might be going, courtesy of Baird Davis in Folio:.
Over the past five years this is what’s happened on the US newsstands. “Bad” doesn’t even get half way to describing it:
- Unit Sales: Down 44.9%
- Revenue: Down 38.0%
- Total Paid Circ: Down 14.9%
- Single Copy Circ: Down 44.7%
- Single Copy Circ as a Percent of Total Circ: Down from 17.7 to 11.8%
Mind you, with Hearst off 11% year on year and Bauer down over 10%, we might manage to go down the plughole even faster than our colonial cousins.