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Senior Editor

Pub Talk

By James Sturdivant

About James

 

B2B Beat

Andy Kowl
Earned Media vs. Native Advertising: Smart Publishers Find a Path for Advertiser Content
Mar 3, 2015

An insidious term has started to be widely used these past couple of years. As publishers, we must stamp out...



Publishers' Dojo

Linda Ruth
How to Look at Your 2014 Sales
Feb 23, 2015

So far I have spent 2015 deep in analyses of publishers' sales in 2014 and before. That probably puts me...



Media Vent

Bob Sacks
Why Print Magazines Are Not Necessarily Facing Armageddon
Feb 19, 2015

My optimism may be hard to understand with all the data that on the surface seems so damned negative. To...



Industry Insiders

The Insiders
The Real Cost of Content Marketing
Dec 10, 2014

How do you respond to advertisers who want to blog more and advertise less? Do you discuss with them the...



The Digital Market

Thea Selby
Top 5 Mobile Trends for Publishers—It’s Good News, Folks
Jul 7, 2014

Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is one of my s/heroes. In this day and age of branded...



Publisher's Paradox

Andrew Davis
Publisher’s Paradox: Your Newsletter Subscribers Are Being Overfed
Apr 28, 2014

Charlie Magazine, based in Charleston, South Carolina, isn't asking its readers to subscribe to everything. Instead, Charlie is inviting readers...



Have We Seen the End of the Big Media Play?

 

Buried in a recent press release from investment bank The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. is a brief overview of mergers and acquisitions activity in the consumer magazine space. Brief, because there's not much to tell—at least from a value standpoint.

"The consumer magazines sector saw a 34% increase in number of deals, but a sharp decline in deal value, as there were no $100+ million transactions in this sector in 2012," the release states. "Throughout the year, acquisitions in this sector were primarily of small publishing companies and individual magazines."

It's hard to imagine this situation changing any time soon. The magazine and newspaper giants are trying to hold their own, with Time-Warner and News Corp. seeing losses in their publication sectors offset by profits elsewhere. News Corp. is, in fact, spinning off its publications division in order to make its TV and other media properties (to be renamed the "Fox Group") more attractive to investors. It does not exactly point to a tasty buyers market for storied brands like Time, The New York Post or Sports Illustrated.

Gone are the days of mass consolidation in newspapers and magazines; the global expansion (the Hearst-Lagardere deal of 2011 is likely the last of its kind); the liquidity enabled by high-profit-margin media enterprises. There were rumors a few weeks back of Bloomberg buying the Financial Times, but it hasn't happened. It probably won't (though the Nieman Lab's Ken Doctor predicts 2013 will be the year of "Trophy Newspapers," by which he means Warren Buffett-style rescues of storied broadsheets at bargain-basement rates).

On the other hand, there is that increasing M&A activity among small, niche publishers. JEGI cites as one example Modern Luxury's acquisition of Aspen Magazine from Ridge Publications. This is where we can expect future growth to occur.

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