BoSacks Readers Speak Out: An Honest Look at the Industry, Time Inc, High Times, & More

By BoSacks Readers on August 08, 2017

Re: An Honest Look at State of the Magazine Industry - Summer 2017

Many thanks for sending David Pilcher's interesting article, "An Honest Look at [the] State of the Magazine Industry."  If nothing else, the article demonstrates how difficult it is to get definitive information on the number of titles launched, folded, or running in a given year. Different sources provide different numbers, and the differences can be pretty big. For example, Mediafinder (one of the sources of data in the article) believes there are more than twice as many magazines published in the U.S. as Statista (another source). Quite a margin of error!  But more to the point, a really "honest" article about the state of the magazine industry would discuss the number of magazine pages being printed in a given year, to reflect trends in both ad volume and circulation.  Considering that Pilcher is writing for a printer's blog, the quantity of pages printed would seem like a much more pertinent metric than the number of titles published. Of course, the definition of "magazine" is at the heart of all of this anyway. And in any case, the state of the magazine industry can't be genuinely relevant to more than a handful of people.  The trends in our individual businesses matter a lot.  The trends in other markets or in other media?  Not so much. 

And regarding Tony Silber's funny little graphs... the consumer has always been at the "hub of the wheel" in our business. What changes is the relative size of the "spokes:" print, online, events, etc. I have the greatest respect for Silber, but positioning the consumer at the heart of the business isn't some kind of innovative new concept!n  (Submitted by a Publisher and an Official BoSacks Cub Reporter)

Re: An Honest Look at State of the Magazine Industry - Summer 2017

Bo, I always appreciate your attempt at giving us as much quality information as is possible. But sometimes when you don’t write a preface to articles like “An Honest Look at the State of the Magazine Industry - Summer 2017” I have to stop and wonder. It’s not really honest if you only talk about the positive aspects without the rest of the story. Sure, some of that data might be accurate but on the whole the industry is hemorrhaging. Printed pages are down. Ad sales are down and newsstand is in a free fall. If Mr. Pilcher managed to put other, not as comforting collected data with his positive slant, then and only then would you have an honest look. (Submitted by a former Director of Manufacturing) 

Re: An Honest Look at State of the Magazine Industry - Summer 2017

Not really a great headline ... if it was honest it would talk about dropping ad pages, newsstand sales and circulation in aggregate! I agree it's not all doom and gloom but we need some more credibility here.

(Submitted by an Associate Director, at a publishing house)


RE: Time Inc. is moving all its websites to a new platform called Element

Steps to media annihilation: 

First comes the rebranding…

Then the search for the guilty…

The prosecution of the innocent…

And, finally, the new CMS.

(Submitted by a writer)


RE: 'High Times' To Go Public // UBM reports First Half Revenue Growth of 18 Percent

Yes, but the UBM story is not so cheery from an editor’s POV.  I worked as an editor at CMP Media during the ‘90s, both before and during the UBM acquisition. Today, at least on the computer side of the house, UBM is no longer a magazine publisher.  The company hollowed out the editorial staffs, discontinued the print editions, and now fills the websites mainly with free (and barely worth it) blog posts. For ex., look at and, both now sad shadows of their former thriving selves. 

The long, long list of excellent writers, editors and designers who no longer work at UBM is, IMO, a damning indictment of the company’s “events first” strategy. UBM may be making money on events now, but without first-rate content, it’s hard to imagine how long that can last.  It’s also worth noting that a third of the old CMP was acquired and spun off by a group of former execs. They now run it as The Channel Company, and have maintained the high quality of the flagship site with a first-rate team of reporters and editors. True, events form a big part of their business. But not the only part. (Submitted by a freelance editor/writer since 2002)

 RE: A media company known for supermarket magazines is upending the digital publishing model 

Thanks, Bo, for this interesting & informative piece on Bauer's digital and print editorial and advertising information-sharing and coordination. The close collaboration makes sense in lifestyle categories and probably ultimately serves readers and viewers... but I'm not so delighted to consider the same chummy coordination in media that aim to provide "serious" news and information. (I guess it's a little late for worrying about that!)

(Submitted by a Business and Career Development Coach

RE: A media company known for supermarket magazines is upending the digital publishing model 

It's a new era, and the old school rules, while perhaps well intended back in the day, are limiting in the Digital Age. To see Bauer leading the way is so telling.  In decades past, German companies would stir away from customer wants to run the business efficiently. Today's insights enable Publishers to better understand their audience.  To not use these in matched effort across the enterprise would be a disservice to customers and the business.

Power to the people!

(Submitted by an Industry Supplier)


What an interesting concept! On the one hand, I hope it works out. On the other hand - what the author is doing is turning the print reading experience, an immersive experience where there is little chance of distraction, into a digital reading experience. A digital reading experience is full of distractions and the possibility of distractions.When I read digital books (or newspapers or magazines - don’t be so shocked, Bo! I really do!), I anticipate that I may be distracted by some other digital nugget and will go off in another direction and wind up far from where I started. The trip may have been worth it, or a giant waste of time. I still buy (and visit the library and borrow) print books. I do that for books I want to collect and own, and when I don’t want to be distracted.

(Submitted by a Newsstand Consultant)

 Re: Are Distrust and Business Models Changing Journalism?

It's likely that Journalism is as it always was.  What's different is the audience response as enabled by immediate and unqualified feedback. The Public rightly wants and expects morals, ethics and truth in reporting.  Professional Journalists must uphold those standards and admit immediately when they make mistakes.The same standard must somehow exist for the Public as well.  With today's technology and social media everyone is a  "publisher-lite" for their tweets and responses.  Attitudes are NOT facts, and celebrity or notoriety that repeats lies thousands or millions of times do not make those lies and misrepresentations any more valid.

Sadly our current POTUS has stirred the pot of "Fake News", while incongruously supporting David Pecker and the biggest publisher of made up stories and perpetrators of news rags not worth wiping one's behind with... Leadership is what's needed, and if it's not coming from the highest offices in our Government, industry leaders like NY Times, Washington Post and others need hold up the torch and continue to fight the good fight.  (Submitted by a former Business Developer at Time. Inc)

 Re: Time Inc Puts Sunset, Golf and Coastal Living Magazines On The Block

It's understandable that a company should have a portfolio with a purpose.  What doesn't make sense is selling off Brands and Assets that hold premium positions in their markets. 

 Why wouldn't a "next generation" Time Inc. attempt to leverage that power and introduce new measures, new paths to success? 

 The sell-off looks like another lame attempt to appease shareholders by reducing debt. That's short-sighted and not a winning move. It's more denying that what needs to change is the engine and platform behind the Brands.  It won't be long until Time Inc wishes they had the cache in the market that they're giving away.

 Is this an action plan or a parachute for the new old guard in charge?

(Submitted by Once a Time Inc'r always a Time Inc'r)


RE: Time Inc Is Thinking About Changing its Name, How Unfortunate

Ah, rebranding, the last refuge of people who can’t make their customers happy and hope people will think they’re someone else. Look how well it’s gone for tronc, which, if it doesn’t sound like the villain from a bad science fiction spoof.

(Submitted by a Writer)

By BoSacks Readers| August 08, 2017
Categories:  Readers Speak Out

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