Lessons learned in 2009: No brand is safe
The number of high-profile magazine and newspaper closures over the last 12 months should make it clear that in the current climate, every publication is vulnerable.
In February, Scripps closed Denver’s 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News, shutting both the print product and the website after it could not find a buyer for the struggling paper.
A month later, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its final print version after parent company Hearst could not find a buyer for the 146-year-old daily. A small staff was retained to continue the seattlepi.com website.
In July, the 174-year-old Ann-Arbor News ceased publication and was replaced by a new hyperlocal site, annarbor.com.
Consumer magazines were not immune. In October, Conde Nast shut down four publications, including the venerable Gourmet magazine, as part of a broad cost-cutting initiative.
And in a move that served as a symbolic end to a very challenging year, Nielsen last week announced it was shuttering Editor & Publisher, the trade publication that has chronicled the ups and downs of the newspaper industry for more than a century.
As the year wound down, the number of magazine closures reached 428,according to MediaFinder.com (as reported by Folio).That figure could actually considered good news, as the number of closures dropped compared with the previous two years.
If nothing else, the closures sent a strong message to newspaper and magazine publishers. Old business models are imploding, and the publications that survive will be the ones that can develop new models that lead to sustainable growth. They'd better do so quickly.