He makes a convincing argument that recent reports on magazine launches are “dead wrong.”
Is it possible that MediaFinder has it all wrong?
According to Husni, “…news of the decline of magazine launches have been greatly exaggerated” and he takes issue with much of the sloppy reporting he sees out there.
“When it comes to MediaFinder’s number of new magazine launches the numbers reported are dead wrong,” Husni writes in his Mr. Magazine blog. “Media reporters who publish the numbers based on the MediaFinder numbers are also dead wrong. Both MediaFinder and the reporters who promote their numbers are doing nothing but a disfavor to truth first and the media industry second. Without any research and questioning of such numbers (which I have called reporters and researchers to pose questions to) I have seen more articles written about the sad status of new magazines. Media Post, Quartz, Folio.com, Crain’s New York Business… all reported the 35% decline in new magazine launches according to the press release from MediaFinder. No questions or fact-checking whatsoever…”
How can he be sure? The evidence, he notes, is staring him in the face.
“The fact is I have collected and recorded 236 new magazines this past year compared to 232 from the previous year,” Husni continues. “MediaFinder numbers says 96 (some reported 113) titles were launched compared to 148 (some reported 190) in 2014.
“My numbers show an increase of 4 magazines,” Husni continues. “MediaFinder numbers show a decrease of 35% (depends on which numbers reporters opted to use). I have each and every one of those magazines. If I do not have a physical copy of the magazine, I do not include it in my numbers. The reason I say at least, because I know I may have missed some regional and city magazines that I could not reach or visit. My numbers are based on my field research on the newsstands first, media research second, and requesting first editions if I miss one here or there.”
It’s hard to argue with physical evidence that is so contradictory to industry stats that are supposed to be trustworthy. How did they get it so wrong? Husni offers some insights in a separate interview that appears in Fipp.com. He believes there is a mindset out there that simply wants it to be true, in spite of the evidence.
“So we as an industry all of a sudden had two options [referring to the economic bust of 2008-09]: an old-aged economy that is failing, like an old man walking the streets on a cane or a walker; versus this beautiful, seductive mistress called digital. So which one do you think we fell in love with? Unsurprisingly, most people in our industry fell in love with digital.”
That love affair, he notes, lasted about five years and publishers are now realizing “that our old faithful partner print could still provide us with a lot of money. The truth of the matter is that we have to stop thinking it’s an‘either/or’ situation. We can have both. I mean, they have to complement each other, we can’t just put the same thing in print that we put in digital – but both can survive.”
As Mark Twain famously said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. It’s as true in this industry as any other. The problem is, when a source so many rely on gets it so wrong, the perpetuation of the error – and the implication for the magazine industry — is enormous.