One Small Step For Publishers, One Giant Leap For Advertising
Like a Hallmark card, there's practically a magazine for every occasion. Still, magazine publishing both suffers and succeeds based on booms in other forms of communication, such as television, the Internet and mass-marketed advertising. Never before in publishing history have so many magazines focused on niches that include gender, race and age. After a relatively rough year, characterized by advertising losses and employee cut-backs (see www.writenews.com's ever-growing "Deadzone"), emerging magazine publishers have increased reason to better marry advertisers with audience. Such is the case with Conde Nast's latest, Lucky, a magazine about shopping and a gold mine for advertisers intent on reaching consumption junkies.
Amid the turbulence, BPA International reports an increase in registered titles throughout the last decade. In 1988, approximately 100 magazines were registered, whereas in 2000, nearly 500 were listed. Moreover, the National Directory of Magazines estimated nearly 19,000 magazines were published in the year ending 2000, as opposed to 13,541 in 1990.
But with an irreverence to tradition that would make even Talk's Tina Brown blush, some industry naysayers continue to tout the end of print, though numbers are moderately showing that print publishing is surviving the 21st century's infancy with its nails dug deep into paper—even if mass media and the Internet are giving old-fashioned publishing plenty of non-traditional competition.
Nina Link, Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) president, conversely admits that with market waxing and waning comes the opportunity for more creative print publishing. She says, "With recent layoffs and mergers in the publishing and related industries, there are a lot of very talented professionals out there right now."
Reading between the lines
According to MPA's FCB Media Research Report, traditional reading practices are presently rated 40 percent higher than average television statistics. Despite shifts in educational interests and increases in overall computer usage, the MPA similarly reports that traditional reading (i.e., books, magazines and newspapers) has grown steadily over the past 10 years compared to other forms of electronic media, including e-books and Web surfing patterns.