Voice of the Industry
Newsweek's Shutdown is Not A Sign Of Magazine Troubles
By Bob Sacks
Published: October 23, 2012
It seems to me that sometimes we publishers lose sight of our perspective. It is admittedly understandable as we hunker down in the trenches producing our products that we sometimes miss some of the details of the wider battle for revenue and survival.
In this case I am talking about Newsweek and what killed a formally respected 80 year old title. It wasn't the fact of its printed format, and it wasn't the often repeated idea that newsweeklies are dead. Neither concept is accurate. The truth is, and I hope we can all agree, the major thing that killed Newsweek was inferior content.
It is important to remember in the magazine business that it has always been something like The Lion King and the circle of life. We are born, we prosper for a while with youthful enthusiasm and vigor and then over a period of time we usually pass away and make room for the new and more vibrant titles. We should be glorying in the 10,000 print titles that are out there now and not lamenting the necessary decay of the ages. Magazines have been dying since the process was invented. I deem it a healthy exercise. It's not the age of title that is important when it finally goes to its maker but rather the magic that it still performs.... Or doesn't.
The loss of a single title, a group of titles, or even the loss of an entire genre is historically irrelevant as change has always been a part of our industry's antiquity.
If we produce truly superior content, as many titles do, much of the rest is irrelevant. Choice of preferred substrate, area of interest, geography and other areas are meaningless if you don't have readers willing to pay for your gathered and meaningful intelligence.