Riding the Numbers Rollercoaster

button-launchWhen it comes to counting magazine launches, the industry generally respects the stats of Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni as the real deal. So when Husni says the industry is on an uptick, we pay attention.

“While the numbers are down [for June] by 5 magazines in the frequency titles, what is worth noting is that every major magazine and magazine media company has launched a new magazine during the first half of 2015,” explains Husni in a blog post.

“A first in a long long time,” Husni continues. “And the same holds true for the publishers of bookazines. It’s a very good sign indeed when the big players are taking note of the power of print once again and breathing new life back into their ink on paper entities. Some magazine and magazine media companies are putting out three to four new bookazines on a weekly basis.”

His upbeat post contradicts others in the industry who see net growth dwindling, even while launches outpace shutdowns and closures level off.

“There are signs that the industry is stabilizing, as the 23 closures are a low since MediaFinder started publishing its tallies in 2009, and are fewer than a tenth of the high-water mark set that year—279 magazines stopped publishing in the first half of 2009,” writes Michael Rondon in Folio:.

One stat that analysts like Rondon look at in judging the industry’s health is mergers and acquisitions.

“The lack of investment in new titles echoes the dearth of M&A activity in the beginning of 2015,” Rondon notes. “According to Petsky Prunier, deal value is way down for both consumer (-100 percent) and B2B (-87 percent) magazine media, with volume only slightly better (-70 percent and 22 percent, respectively).”

But is that really such a terrible thing for our industry? We’ve noted recently that the mass market publishers are feeling the pain, while smaller titles are finding success in what Husni has called the “transcended media age.”

Either way, the number of launches six months into 2015 is “well above the number of startups in each of the prior four years,” Rondon notes. And – also according to Husni’s figures – cover prices, subscription prices, average number of pages and average number of ad pages are all up over a year ago.

That looks a lot like growth from here.