The Merger That Could Kill Your Favorite Magazine
Google’s and Facebook’s ever-tightening control over online advertising spending in the United States continues to make it harder for magazine publishers to keep their businesses alive. But publishers’ jobs may soon get even more difficult if the Department of Justice fails to block printer Quad/Graphics’ $1.4 billion bid to buy its only major competitor in the business of printing physical magazines, LSC Communications.
Quad and LSC have argued that the deal is necessary in the face of contracting demand for printed magazines. But the effect of the deal could be to exacerbate the decline in magazine publishing more than would otherwise occur.
Even with the spread of digital publications, many readers, publishers, and advertisers still see value in physical copies. Indeed, some magazines – including Rolling Stone – have recommitted over the last year to printing their product. Yet if the deal is approved, even major publications like Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, and Reader’s Digest will become dependent on Quad/Graphics to print and distribute their product.