Private Frazer’s Doomed Magazines

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:

Total newspaper advertising revenues fell by $3 billion in the first six months of this year to $18.8 billion, the lowest level in a dozen years, … The record 14% sales plunge featured the first-ever drop in online sales. Interactive revenues slipped by 2.3% in the second quarter

Mediapost comments on this fall in online revenues, suggesting that it indicates that worse things are to come:

In the best of times, online never contributed more than 10% of most publishers’ total revenues, but with double-digit growth, it held… the promise that it might some day make up the losses on the print side. Unfortunately, most of the growth in the online revenues was due to “up-sells” from print … As the volume of print listings declines at an ever-faster pace, that means there are fewer opportunities for online “up-sells.”

A point given added emphasis by TechCrunch

Advertisers trained to buy bundled ads are more likely to drop the entire bundle when making budget cuts.

The advertising recession is in full swing, and no segment is safe any longer.

The final word to Newspaper Death Watch

These trends continue to have all the makings of a classic death spiral: accelerating revenue declines create alarm among traditional customers who start fleeing in droves out of fear of being associated with a dying business.

There are simply no bright spots left. Between a recession, Internet competition and dramatically increased newsprint costs, this is a perfect storm.

So, how does your company do things? Are you still a print business that has a title-specific website bolted on, or have you a proper web strategy? Would the web presence exist without the print title? How do your sales teams work?

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