City Magazines, Dependent on Print, Face Uncertain Future Amid Wave of Deals
I was in the Indianapolis headquarters of Emmis Communications, home of my new employer, Indianapolis Monthly magazine. Emmis, which was predominantly a radio company, had just been named to a Best Places to Work list. But the bubbly celebration might as well have been a toast to our pillars of paper and ink. It was 2005, and city and regional magazines were fat (sometimes more than 300 pages!) with advertising. Emmis Publishing held the largest portfolio of regional titles in the country, including giants Texas Monthly and Los Angeles. Two years later, the division would post a 17-percent profit margin—almost double that of the national average for all magazines. Raises and bonuses followed.
I remembered those workday libations a few weeks ago when I read the news that Emmis, having already sold off Texas Monthly last October, unloaded the remainder of its out-of-town titles to Detroit-based Hour Media Group LLC. Four magazines—Atlanta, Cincinnati, Orange Coast, and Los Angeles—were moved for a combined $6.5 million. (Emmis paid $30 million for Los Angeles alone in 2000.)