Private Frazer’s Doomed Magazines

September 23, 2008

Seconds (and bidders) out; round three

Filed under: B2B magazines — privatefraser @ 3:34 pm

This from Emphasis added along with a large amount of sniggering.

The [RBI] auction … moved into its third round yesterday as several bidders were knocked out of the running.

The business was valued at between £1bn and £1.25bn. Bids are understood to be nearer the lower end of this estimate.

The timetable for the third-round deadline will depend entirely on whether financing can be raised amid the turmoil in the markets.

Observers say any deal remains uncertain.

September 19, 2008

More! is less

Filed under: Chair by the door,consumer magazines — privatefraser @ 11:12 am
Tags: ,

Tin hats on everyone, particularly if you work for More. This from Media Week:

Bauer Media’s weekly women’s magazine More is set to relaunch for the second time within a year in an attempt to reverse its plummeting circulation.

There are often very valid reasons to redesign and relaunch, but to do it twice within a year is really desperate stuff.  No More! ideas. No More! hope. No More! time.

Update 07/10/08 Ping! An email arrives from Chantelle Horton, the deputy editor of More

We thought you might like to know that far from being desperate or having ‘no more ideas’, the magazine changed last year because we entered a new market and became weekly. It was always our intention to do a content and design overhaul once we’d settled into the market and taken our existing readers along with us.

As I’m sure you’ll probably place this response up verbatim, you might want to post this up too: more! launched in 1988 as a fortnightly. It increased frequency to weekly in September 2007 and now sells over 700k copies per month based on its most recent (and first weekly) ABC of 162,544 per week JJ08

Touching though it is that Chantelle can spare time from her busy schedule to answer me yet not get Media Week to retract the ‘plummeting sales’ gag, one might have thought that this carefully considered “two relaunch” strategy (“it was always our intention” etc) could have been better publicised last year. For it to happen now either implies panic at falling sales (my contention) or a huge cock up with the original redesign (see Music Week). We’ll see which might be which in the next couple of ABC releases.

I can’t show you the money

Filed under: B2B magazines,Recession — privatefraser @ 8:35 am

From this morning’s Grauniad

Bid for Informa falls foul of market turmoil
The consortium had been struggling to get the cash together even before this week’s dramatic events.
This week’s unprecedented financial turmoil has claimed its first major non-financial victim with news that the consortium of private equity companies stalking media group Informa have walked away as the funding for the £1.9bn offer disappeared.

September 18, 2008

Global financial meltdown and other fun stuff

Filed under: B2B magazines,consumer magazines,Recession — privatefraser @ 3:40 pm

In his Media Money blog, the always-perceptive Peter Kirwan has set out some thoughts about how the financial meltdown might affect media companies. There’ll be extra pressures on B2B advertising, luxury goods will suffer (so tougher times for Conde Nast and the glossy monthlies), less financial services advertising, increased problems for companies with debt (that’s most of you, right?), and more job losses. All good stuff as usual from wee Peter, and Private Frazer would like to chip in his two penn’orth (which is all that’s left from my HBOS shares): (more…)

September 17, 2008

Down, down, down

Filed under: Uncategorized — privatefraser @ 9:08 am
Tags: ,

More on RBI, this from The Times

[The] sale of Reed … appears to be struggling, with no bids close to the mooted £1.25 billion price. One bidder to have made it through to the second round has indicated its bid was nowhere near £1 billion and there is talk the unit may be worth as little as £800 million.

If the process drags on much further my original bid of half a crown and a nuttals minto may be the most generous – and I’m starting to have second thoughts about the minto.

September 15, 2008

Don’t panic! (15/09/08)

Filed under: Don't panic,figures,USA — privatefraser @ 6:54 pm

This from Folio:

[US] B-to-B magazine revenue declined more than 6% and ad pages were down more than 8% during the first half, according to … American Business Media. Revenue during the month of June was down 6.59% over the same period last year, according to the report. Ad pages declined 9.36%. [i.e. the decline appears to be accelerating] Twenty of the 21 b-to-b categories tracked by ABM reported declines in ad pages for the first half.

And to prove that Pangloss lives:

“Considering the current state of the economy, b-to-b media has held up well,” said Gordon T. Hughes II, president and CEO of American Business Media.

September 9, 2008

You wretched of the earth

Filed under: Chair by the door,consumer magazines — privatefraser @ 1:06 pm

In what appears to be a wee bit of briefing to preempt a meeting this evening, that well-known defender of left-wing causes the London Evening Standard carries a diary article saying that Tribune is about to close

The piece describes Tribune as a ‘successful small business’. It would be interesting to know what  definition of ‘success’ is being used here – it’s obviously not one that includes circulation or profitability.

19/09/08 update. A wee letter in the Guardian from all types of old lefties saying that Tribune needs to continue. It ends with the rousing statement “Now is precisely the time when we need independent, forthright voices such as that of Tribune. And now is not the time to lose it.

All well and good, but there’s absolutely no justification as to why it needs to continue (selling just 4,000 copies) as a weekly paper. If it had an ounce of sense it would stop cutting down trees and gain a bigger audience and more influence online. In that way it would arguably to much more to provide a home for generations of independent thinkers, writers and dissenters” .

September 8, 2008

I think you’re wandering into the realms of fantasy there, Jones

Filed under: consumer magazines — privatefraser @ 10:07 am

Survey claims website browsing encourages magazine reading

September 7, 2008

Don’t panic! (06/09/08)

Filed under: Don't panic,figures,Recession,USA — privatefraser @ 6:35 pm

It’s always been Private Frazer’s contention that what happens in newspapers will hit us in magazines, and what happens in the US will, in some form, wash across to the UK, so the latest figures from the US newspaper industry should make some of you take a very sharp intake of breath. Take this from Alan Mutter: (more…)

September 5, 2008

Going down (part 2)

Filed under: B2B magazines,Recession — privatefraser @ 8:32 am

From this morning’s Grauniad and FT

“Informa turned down a £1.9bn offer last night from the private-equity groups Providence Equity, Carlyle and Blackstone. The consortium pitched its bid at 450p a share, below the 506p submitted in June as an indicative bid.” (emphasis added)

As with the RBI second round bids, the longer a sales process goes on, the more the value of publishing companies is reduced.

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