As the Magazine Industry Dies

Maxim sounds like it’s close to edge.  Last week, I read  this post on Paid Content and must admit I’m not surprised except that it appears Quadrangle was taken for a ride and that Steve Rattner has lost his touch.   Meanwhile, I stumbled upon (no pun intended) the new Wired Magazine retail store on 18th between 5th and 6th in NYC Sunday.  I had fallen off the diet wagon and was sipping some City Bakery Hot Chocolate when I wandered into a massive showroom for Wired Magazine advertisers.  But seriously ask yourself, “Will anybody really buy a flatscreen tv here”  How about MBT sneakers or a Nikon D90 camera?

My guess is the store will not do enough revenue to cover rent never mind labor, but hey the CondeNast advertising team will claim that thousands of prospective buyers interacted with the Lincoln MK something that was parked in the back.  Conde’s sales people will claim that they have created an interactive brand experience. And they did.  But will it justify continued multi-million dollar commitments from the falling-into-the-abyss General Motors?

Non-magazine folks might ask, “Why can’t Wired just publish online, cut costs, and raise their profitablity?”  Here’s the answer:   CondeNast (great editorial company that it is) refuse to commit themselves to reinventing the magazine industry.  I write this as a major, major magazine fan.  The New Yorker is, without question, my favorite media brand in the world.  I recently had the gall to bother David Remnick at a restaurant just to tell him how much I admired him and valued his magazine.  The only other celebrity I’ve ever interrupted was Joe Montana — and, let’s face it, he’s Joe Montanta.

But I’m 41 not 25 and magazines are dead.  With all that CondeNast has going for it the best they can do is to acquire Reddit and shutter Flip.com and their 12k uniques/month some $10-30mm dollars later.

We know newspaper and print industries are falling off the proverbial cliff.  I know that Conde Nast is to big to radically reinvent completley.  But why not take the Wired brand and experiment?  Is there anything to lose?

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One Response

  1. Oof. Brutal post, Aaron. Painful but true.

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