If at first you don’t succeed, don’t keep trying! Not for too long anyway. That’s the new philosophy of magazine publishers here these days, If a new magazine doesn’t do well quickly, then give it up. A rash of magazine closings seems to confirm this. Recently several publications that, it was thought at first, would do well have folded. They include Celebrity Living, , Ellegirl, Shop Etc, Weekend and For Me, all launched by established publishers including Hearst, Hachette Filipacchi and American Media.
What does it mean? If a magazine doesn’t catch on quickly there is not much hope for it, suggests Samir Husni, a professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, and popularly known here as Mr Magazine. “If a magazine isn’t born with a bang nowadays, then it’s still-born ” he adds
According to the Magazine Publishers’ Association just three of the 21 titles that have been closed this year were launched prior to 2001. Half of the magazine shuttered last year were launched in 2000 or later.
One theory of a leading industry consultant Martin Walker is that many of those closed quickly were either ill-conceived or had limited vision. He cites the case of Cargo, launched by Conde Nast, and another of this year’s casualties. It was intended for “metrosexuals” men, who like to shop, a demographic who may or may not exit. It was designed with the sole purpose of appealing to advertisers , he said, rather than building readerships.
Copycat magazines are also having tough sledding.and are no longer being nurtured along. Hachette Filipacchi’s For Me, a monthly aimed at young women in their twenties, attempted to compete with Bauer Publications “First for Women,” a strong newsstand title. It didn’t last long.. Shop Etc. was trying to replicate the success of Conde Nast’s Lucky but didn’t make it.
Will the trend continue – or even get worse? Some in the industry point out that even Time Inc., one of the giants of the American publishing industry, is having an anxious time financially these days. Altogether world wide it publishes 145 magazines , but the bulk of its revenue comes from just ten of them. . Switching the publication date of Time from Monday to Friday, just announced, is one sign of the changes that may be in the offing to increase profits. Some smaller titles, it’s predicted, may even drop their print editions altogether (as Teen People has done). Others it’s suspected may be folded – or sold if buyers can be found.