Thoughts On Moody's Negative Magazines Outlook Report
The downward trends in the magazine business have been obvious to almost everyone for years, but there are several critical things that must be noted before reading the Moody's report. The report is constructed by Wall Street analysts and is therefore biased to reflect stock market projections and concerns only. There are by some accounts, over 7,000 print titles in the newsstand, and I doubt that more than 250 are connected to companies that are listed in the stock market.
So the only thing that should matter to you is not how the industry is doing, but rather how your specific title is doing. Yes, Moody's reflects industry trends and the overall trend for the print part of our industry is indeed negative. But trends do not reflect every title as some, if not many, are still doing quite well.
Admittedly there is only room left for excellence in the print world, yet printed magazines will not disappear any time soon. But they are becoming a less dominant reading platform, and perhaps in the near future they will exist only for those who can actually afford them. Print must become a luxury item, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Many print niche products will continue to thrive, though conversely non-niche titles will continue to whither. In the print world there is little or no room or time left for mediocre products. Darwin's "natural selection" of publishers is now taking place. If print is to survive, it will be with fewer, better and more expensive products. Add to Darwin's law, Bo's law of print survival: that only those with unique remarkability need apply.
We can all agree that even given all the reports of our printed demise, and there are plenty, reading is not going to disappear or diminish. In fact the opposite is happening, and more people are reading now, on more platforms than ever before. The only real and identifiable change is the choice of substrate. The problem for traditional publishers is that the future is happening faster than we can imagine or prepare for. This is terrifying for some and wonderfully amazing and lucrative to others.
At the end of the day the most important thing to remember is that your future business should replace your current business before someone else replaces it for you.