That Light at the End of the Tunnel Is Not a Train, Says Mr. Magazine
INSIDER: As someone who monitors the state of the magazine industry on a daily basis, how do you feel about the industry as 2010 begins compared to how you felt this time a year ago?
HUSNI: Good, very good indeed. More magazines were launched [in 2009] than [in 2008], and fewer magazines died in 2009 than in 2008. The industry is starting to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is not the train coming, but rather the light. [There are] more focused plans for the future to save the big ship and build more ships rather than life boats. One area that I think still needs a lot of attention is the advertising-driven model. Some major media companies are still in a state of coma and are refusing to believe that the American business model that depends in large part on advertising is dead.
INSIDER: Can you go out on a limb and make a couple of predictions as to developments you think the industry will experience in 2010?
HUSNI: Here is my typical answer when it comes to predictions: Only two people can tell you the future, God and a fool. Since I know for sure I am not God, my answer to this question will come from the other person, the fool. More new magazines will continue to come to the marketplace, and more magazines will continue to die. No earth-shaking news here, but a continuation of the life cycle of magazines. Smart publishers will start selling experiences rather than content, thus making ink on paper or pixels on a screen more than just content.
Another issue that we will see this year is higher cover prices and higher subscription prices. More companies are going to follow the Rodale Inc. and Hoffman Media models rather than the traditional model of "give-away" subscriptions.