Citing what he calls “modest indicators of a stable market,”Steve Black writes in Library Journal that the downturn of the magazine market has bottomed out and is on the way to recovery.
His assessment of the current state of the industry is what we would expect from a reference librarian – fact-based and straightforward. Still, for the publishers out there, it just might cause a little happy dance.
While he reports that the total number of launches for 2013 was down (Mediafinder.com figures), fewer titles ceased publishing last year than in years previous. “The shrinking rate of growth… is somewhat offset by the number of cessations,” writes Black.
“Mediafinder identified 87 magazines that ceased publication in 2013. That compares to 82 closures in 2012 and 152 in 2011. So the 2013 statistics are better on balance than 2011’s and only slightly worse than the figures for 2012.”
Mediafinder isn’t the only source to report good news. According to the MPA’s 2013/2014 Magazine Media Factbook ad revenue overall shows good stability.
Noting that single-copy sales and subscriptions continued to contract in 2013, “total magazine advertising revenue in 2012 remained an impressive $19 billion. The only medium with a greater share of ad spending is television, which accounts for 53 percent of U.S. advertising spending,” Black reports.
“The MPA reports that print magazines account for about 14 percent of all advertising spending, compared with nine percent for the Internet,” Black continues.
“Further indication that the magazine market is stable is that among the magazines that folded in 2013, there were no headline-making closures of prominent titles like U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 closure or Newsweek’s cessation of its print edition in 2012,” says Black. “In fact, the reverse is true: the New York Times reported on March 2 that Newsweek is relaunching in print.”
Cessations are slowing down, ad revenue is solid, consumers report a strong affinity for print ads – but the most persuasive indicator of a recovery is in the magazines themselves, according to Black.
“The strongest evidence that there continues to be a sustainable market for print magazines is the quality, breadth of coverage, and diversity of publishers represented by this year’s list of ten best new magazines,” says Black. “Publishers run the gamut from powerhouse Meredith to private creators who might be working from their kitchen table.”
Take a look through the list of the top ten and see what you think. Our favorite cover has to be for Modern Farmer. Apparently pig is the new black.