Magazines in 2008: The Good and the Bad

Lisa Snedeker of Media Life explains how the landscape has changed for magazines:

“The reality is that the magazine industry has been forever changed, and it’s not just the result of competition from the internet.”

“Magazines are no longer a given for readers and advertisers. In these new, harsher times, they are having to set themselves apart as unique brands with passionate readerships that speak louder than mere numbers on sell sheets.”

“It’s no longer a matter of competing against other titles in a category. Magazines must now compete against all other media, both for readers and advertisers, and with more media options out there it becomes harder by the day.”

She makes a few predictions for 2008. The negative:

  • “More magazines will fold.”
  • “We will likely see shakeout in weaker categories, such as celebrity and teen titles, which media people have long believed are overcrowded.”
  • “Fewer new titles will launch.”
  • “We will also likely see magazines cutting their circulation.”

The positive:

  • “We will see the launch of more regional titles, reflecting the continuing diversification of local media markets with the further erosion of newspapers’ dominance of those markets.”
  • “We will see more specialized titles aimed at unique, clearly defined readership bases. The enthusiast titles have long done well, weathering a lot of the erosion that’s afflicted general-interest magazines. They’ve done well because they have strong, devoted readerships.”
  • “We will see more bold moves to introduce change to how magazines are sold to advertisers, such as Time’s plan, announced at the time of its rate-base cut, to offer advertisers the option of buying pages based on its total audience of nearly 20 million readers, rather than circulation.”
  • “We will see magazines do a far better job of integrating their web and print editions, both for readers and advertisers.”
  • “We will see publishing launching online-only publications.”