Thursday, February 14, 2008

Death of a Magazine Redux

Earlier this week MediaPost noted the almost 20% decrease in newstand sales of Time magazine for the second half 2007 versus the same period in 2006. Adding the bad news, subscription sales also fell 17%. From their article:
In November 2006, Time cut its rate base 18.8% to 3.25 million, so the decline in subscriptions may be due partly to a purge of "junk" circulation, including automatically renewed subscriptions. But it's hard to put a good spin on the steep drop in newsstand sales, which advertisers often view as an indicator of audience engagement. Ironically, the declines follow a major redesign that was intended to make the magazine appeal to a mass audience. Introduced in March 2007, the new look delivers less visual clutter for a cleaner, streamlined appearance. There is lots of clear "white" space, fewer, more eye-catching images, and interesting text formats.
MediaPost go on to note similar declines at Newsweek and US News/Report. On the flip side, The Economist inproved their numbers significantly with total circ up 12%. Time is a long way from closing down, but in my predictions for 2008 I did note that we will see some high profile magazines shut down. I think these numbers reflect wider changes in consumption patterns. (And no its not about people reading less).

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