Private Frazer’s Doomed Magazines

August 13, 2014

Corridor of Uncertainty

Filed under: Chair by the door,consumer magazines — privatefraser @ 9:00 am

There’s nothing that says ‘summer’ more than the thwack of P45 on doormat and it’s going to be a long, hot one for the team over at The Cricketer (formerly ‘The Wisden Cricketer’, even more formerly ‘The Cricketer’).

I say ‘team’, but according to Liz Gerard’s SubScribe blog, the editor and both staff writers have now been made redundant, leaving the magazine with no full time journalists.

It’s got everything Private Frazer asks for from a spectator sport – a once-famous brand bought by a multimillionaire owner with no background in publishing, a rapidly falling circulation (down 20% in three years) and crushingly low workforce morale.

No need to refer to the third umpire on this one.

August 6, 2014

Think of the children

Filed under: magazines — privatefraser @ 10:33 am

I thought I could get away with a one word entry for Peter Houston’s wee ’Magazine Diaries’ project, but apparently it had to be exactly 100 words. “Doomed, doomed, we’re all doomed” 20 times would have done it, but in the end I went for a suitably upbeat, joyous and life-affirming entry with the minimum of repetition. (And if you haven’t done your 100 words yet you have until Friday.)

A fair few of the entries about publishing’s wonderful present seem either to be written while under the influence of strong drink, or based on redefining ’magazine’ as anything that’s got content in it. One wee laddie even said that Buzzfeed was a magazine – presumably in the same way that ASOS is a ’catalogue’, or Facebook is an ’address book’.

My effervescent optimism about magazine publishing is for the ink on paper periodical, or its bastard offspring the digital page-turner (was there ever a more pointless hybrid of old and new technologies?). They’re doomed, and the companies clinging to this model can only wring so much cash from their products before the inevitable terminus. Some of what we currently call ’magazines’ will survive as digital ’brands’, but that won’t be based on the auld publishing model of ’issues’ and ’publication dates’ and ’contents pages’ and ’covers’. It won’t be bought in shops or delivered to your home or read in the bath. Some of the current publishing companies will transmute and survive, but lots of them won’t, mainly because new starters don’t have to carry the financial or emotional baggage of a print legacy and they’ll steal oor dinner. (more…)

Blog at WordPress.com.