Saturday, May 09, 2009

The future of the press: magazines

I can't quite read the date on this Business Week cover, but I wonder how much the editors were thinking about themselves when they put it to press.

"Blogs will change your business...catch up...or catch you later."

Well, blogs have certainly changed the paper press business, and I have already blogged about the sad, progressive demise of the American newspaper.

Of course, magazines are facing some of the same problems, although they may have a little more going for them: they aren't dailies, they're easier to handle on planes and beaches, and they have a more attractive allure than those somewhat grubby newspapers.

A lot of people really love their glossies: they like showing them off on their coffee table, they appreciate the feel of them, they enjoy browsing the magazine section of stores and maybe making a few impulse buys.

But despite what they have going for them, magazines are facing the same difficulties as newspapers: declining advertising revenue, sinking readership, and the overall problem of "if I can read everything online, why buy a magazine?"

A recent article in TechCrunch
tackles the issue of how business magazines can survive, and suggests a rather draconian, but perhaps necessary, new business model. I think the author's ideas give food for thought to all magazine companies, writers...and readers.

What do you think?


Alison said...

May 2, 2005. I had to squint.

Betty Carlson said...

Good call Ali! I couldn't read it for the life of me. Well, they didn't know then what they know now, even if they were advice to other businesses on the subject!

Elisabeth said...

This is not, actually, something over which I ponder much. I know that I have canceled close to every single one of my subscriptions to magazines. I will re-evaluate in the Fall which ones I will be renewing this year. Very often, I never get to read the ones I still get, because I spend too much time online. Because it is not delivered daily in my little Western PA town, I get the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette delivered only on Sundays (I could buy it daily at a news stand, but I don't.)

The face of journalism is definitely changing, but I hope that paper magazines never go away. My boyfriend is a journalist by training, who works for a very large organisation for which he is managing editor of all of its publications, and he was hired specifically to start (now about 15 months ago) a new online newslater for them. This weekly newslater includes links to videoclips (which my boyfriend also produces), which is something that a paper newsletter could not do.

So, yes, I'd say that the face of newspaper and magazine publishing has completely changed.

Related, but on another note, my daughter was taking a class on digital poetry at Brown University this semester. So, even poets are now living in the digital age, and exploiting the resources that it offers.

Betty Carlson said...

Elisabeth, thanks for your comment. Interesting about the digital poetry -- I've wondered if that's something like what Spacedlaw does, but I'm not really sure.

I don't know why but this whole topic of Internet possibly killing off magazines and newspapers is kind of an obsession with me. On the one hand, I feel like it would be more environmentally-friendly to get all that from the Internet...but would books be next? And what business model will give us quality content if the paper press disappears?

La Framéricaine said...


Hi! Hope your vacation is going swimmingly in the PNW!

I absolutely love magazines and the ones in France are more enticing that the ones in the USA to my eye. However, they simply cost too much. I stopped subscribing and purchasing them due to cost and the separation anxiety I felt when I was forced to chuck all the ones I had saved prior to our packing up and shipping for the move to France.

It saddens me that that is so...