Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Major Magzine Firm Takes Big Hit

Print publications have taken a pounding in recent years when it comes to advertising revenue. Magazines have largely limped along and newspapers have been pushed to the point of obliteration. Print continues to largely be a victim to the far reaching power of the Internet.

The situation is getting words, according to Mediabistro, which reports "Conde Nast Publications, which last year managed to soar above the general industry malaise by posting a 5.41 percent jump in ad pages, is slumping in the first half of 2008. The three big titles -- Vogue, Glamour, and Vanity Fair -- are all flat to down in the first half, according to Media Industry Newsletter, and the outlook is dim for a second half recovery to bail them out."

Conde Nast has had a reputation as an innovator in the publication industry for years. Since they own numerous titles, all very complimentary and lifestyle oriented, the magazine would introduce subscribers to one publication to complimentary copies of other magazines, or 2 for 1 offers, and other methods to increase readership and advertising revenues. It appeared to be working very well, an exception in a magazine world that was in revenue decline. In 2008, it doesn't seem to be working any longer.

I believe this is happening for several reasons. The web continues to drive readers away from print. There is simply too much quality available "free" and online that it is difficult to get people to buy publications. I have even found myself allowing subscriptions to publications I have long loved lapse because of the Internet. Furthermore, instead of actually increasing advertising revenues, recession talk is beginning to hurt advertising and marketing in general. There was a belief that, with the economy weakening, people would have to work harder to get clients. In the short run it appears that businesses are doing such with fewer dollars being spent. I am sure this too will change.

I'm a huge magazine fan. It is the one form of traditional media that I thought would continue to have legs. However, it appears the future of all traditional media hangs in the balance.

Want to learn more about the twin economic tsunamis of Social Security and Medicare? Get a free audio program featuring Rick Ray of the Wealth Design Group and Kevin Price on this important subject by sending an email to Info@HoustonBusinessShow.com.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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