It’s easy to take the negative about the magazine industry…but one writer was inspired to dig deeper and see what’s really going on.
Apologies to Dickens, but maybe ones’ view of the industry as the “best of times” or the “worst of times” all depends on where you’re looking.
Guest writer Rob Smuts in The Media Online does an excellent job of breaking it down.
“Consumer magazines’ circulation numbers continue to slide, while mobile is said to be taking over… But my gut feel tells me a different story, so I started digging a bit deeper,” Smuts writes. He started with the familiar tales of woe: lower circulation numbers for mass media titles, the close of some popular magazines, and the ongoing game of free copies to boost circulation figures.
But he knew that couldn’t be the only story out there, saying “I believe the consumer magazine industry tells only part of the story.”
“However, there are specialist magazine categories that are positively thriving,” he continues. “Take the game farming industry, for instance. This is a hot agricultural sector with massive turnover and a dedicated, enthusiastic group of followers operating in a capital-intensive sector,” he explains, noting Wild & Jag’s recent success.
“On a circulation of 12 962 it manages at least 100 advertising pages per monthly issue, at a rough income of R15 000 per page. This translates into advertising income of about R1.5 million per issue. Add approximately R15 per copy circulation income, after VAT and distribution cost, for an additional R200 000 income per issue,” Smuts notes.
The title joins a growing field niche titles finding success among tightly-defined tribes. And advertisers are increasingly aware that this kind of tight market in a print publication is a gold mine in terms of ROI.
“In an industry in which mass-market consumer magazines struggle to survive, let alone make any profit, this is truly a remarkable story of how the humble print magazine medium can thrive, even today,” Smuts notes.
As publishers begin to really understand the possibilities behind a lifestyle brand, and are getting savvier at delivering what that audience craves, the magazine industry has a whole new way of seeing itself.