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January 12, 2010

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junebee

Now if they could only get rid of those annoying lap cards...I have to "de-bone" a magazine before I read it. Lap cards do make handy beer coasters though.

Paul Riddell

If you want a perfect example, take a look at the current "Decade In Review" issue of "Rolling Stone". A decade ago, that issue would have been as thick as a phone book, with about half the content in ads. This one, though, was not only the size of a typical magazine in length, breadth, and thickness, but the ad count was pathetic. (I don't know what's scarier: the fact that the biggest advertiser in this issue was somehow able to make Kate Beckinsale look scary, or that for a music magazine, nobody's bothering to advertise musical events in "Rolling Stone" any more.)

And along that line, expect some joy in Mudville when magazines start getting nasty about advertising. Village Voice Media is now looking at having property confiscated to pay back on a judgment that it was engaging in predatory advertising undercutting in order to screw over the "Bay Guardian" in San Francisco: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/05/MNTP1BDIAI.DTL

mcgurk

"or that for a music magazine, nobody's bothering to advertise musical events in "Rolling Stone" any more.)"
Gathering Moss (or now, Gathering Mold) stopped being a music magazine back when Jann Wenner put Michael Douglas on the cover with the headline "Sooooooo Sexy!"
At least, I never bought another issue after that.

Paul Riddell

McGurk, don't get me going. A friend bought me a subscription a decade ago, and I pretty much flipped through it every once in a while. I canceled my subscription right then and there, though, when Jar Jar Binks became the subject of a cover story. (The joke about that cover: "What's the best way to castrate George Lucas? Kick Jann Wenner in the chin.")

msbpodcast

On the internet, a business can advertise, take orders, collect information, track shipments, follow up on customer complaints or suggestions.

In a magazine, (or a newspaper or a radio or a television ad) a business can only rent some time on the megaphone and shout along with the other Global Village Idiots.

Is it any wonder that ad supported media are dying?

If you read a non-ad-supported magazine (or other traditional media) its so much more efficient and cost-effective to use the web that you wonder about anyone who's NOT using it.

junebee

@msbpodcast: I like the convenience of whipping out the hard copy of "Black Belt" magazine on the airplane rather than booting up the laptop. Also, I do not need to put "Black Belt" magazine away during takeoff and landing. I can keep on reading, ads and all.

Additionally, I live in hurricane country where blackouts are always a possibility.

As a parent with two disabled kids and their required gear, it just isn't always feasible to drag along the laptop too, though it can't be beat for long hospital stays.

My workout partner and I pore over old copies of "Muscle and Fitness" to vary our routines. Much easier than using the laptop. Plus we don't need to worry about dropping weights on the old magazines.

Recipes in magazines are more disposable. Imagine spilling soy sauce on the laptop. Big bucks.

For those reasons I hope traditional print media doesn't die out completely.

msbpodcast

Well "junebee," it sucks to be you.

Having to travel all the time, stuck in those TSA lines. (I've done my share of taking my shoes and placing them in the [expletive deleted] tray. :-)

Unfortunately, what YOU want doesn't matter worth a damn, (or even I for that matter.)

Unless you're willing to prop up a dying industry, you're out of luck.

The people who pony up the real dough to pay for the media publication staff, the printing presses, the shipping and the entire retail network aren't going to keep on paying for that just for your convenience.

They could give a crap about me and thee.

Own a "Hudson News" franchise?

Then I feel sorry for you.

Want a print edition of something?

Hope you realize you're going to print the on-line edition yourself.

Better get better batteries and download your entertainment.

(Even if you're living in Washington DC, power goes out and there are tunnels, podcasting is the way to go.)

Invest in outfits doing "tele-presence."

That's where the future money is.

Its getting too inconvenient to travel by air, not to mention if it isn't, its getting too dangerous.

Don't worry about sweating over a tablet during your workout.

It'll be waterproof, completely sealed and have no moving parts within a year or two.

Jay

Well msb, I agree with part of your statements. It is very true, working on the outskirts of the magazine industry I have learned no publisher actually cares what the consumer wants. But I assure you that the people on the buses, in the cabs, in gyms, and in kitchens will continue to buy and read print media. Now as long as the advertisers want to sell them new belts, or slapchops, there will be print media. Whether or not they will be consistent, or as many familar titles is up for debate. I feel like a publication might do well to make a magazine that talks about a little of everything, thus broadening their market base and making it easier to keep alive. But would anyone "want" to read it?

cas127

On the up side, there are clearly career openings at DP for artists...*where* did you get that toilet clip art? Did you draw it yourself?

jimmyjack

I must admit I was more than a little surprised that the latest issue of Esquire had an ad for mail order brides. Seriously.

Paul Riddell

Jimmyjack: Huh. Either the mailorder bride business is doing better than most, or someone at Esquire successfully stole away the main advertiser at Analog.

mcgurk

Analog? Don't they know this is the digital age yet?

Paul Riddell

McGurk, if you've seen the magazine, you'd start to wonder. Trust the science fiction field to keep putting out magazines that are nearly identical to the ones being sold in the 1940s. (What's sad is that "Analog" and "Asimov's" continue to publish as digests because the Cat Piss Men who still subscribe want digests that can fit on the shelf alongside their paperback novels. I brought up how circulation was continuing to drop on both magazines fifteen years ago, and was told by one particularly obnoxious old fanboy that "Well, 'Analog' tried going to a standard magazine format in the Sixties, and it didn't work." Well, no reason to try again, just because it cratered a half-century ago, is there?)

mcgurk

Paul,
Back in my sfgeekhood days Analog was the only SF zine I couldn't read. It was just so geare to the slide rule (I am talking back in the day here, lol) and pen protector crowd that I found most of its fare too deadly dull or pointless. Yes, yes, I know it was keeping the science in science fiction when most SF was really fantasy or social commentary, but Analog types never realized that even most SF fans didn't want to read blueprints or academic treatises on physics, they wanted stories. That it still exists may prove that there is a market for it, no matter how small, but I've always been amused by how deeply reactionary and unimaginative most hard SF fans are, when they should, by their own propaganda be the most forward looking. The future ain't what it used to be.

kgalen

A mortal beating the reaper with this one:

Geek Monthly

http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/magazines/update_geek_monthly_closed_149951.asp

Paul Riddell

Kgalen, that's a particularly good one. The funniest magazine closings are the ones where you didn't even know the magazine existed until it shut down. (As typical with most Mark Altman-started magazines, lousy distribution and an assumption that fanboys would automatically track it down were its downfall. Geez, if "Starlog" couldn't survive, who the hell thought this would?)

Joe Insider

Looks like The Reaper has become extinct.

Elizabeth

I'm sure reports of the Reaper's death are exaggerated. Isn't that right, Reaper? Come on, give us another post!

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