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10 predictions for the magazine industry for 2011

by on 21 Dec, 2010

Here are my 10 predictions for the magazine industry for 2011.

1                     Advertising revenue will lift. Indeed, it is already lifting.  The luxury goods vendors will still cut their spending but the FMCG companies will carry on expanding advertising.  But they will want something for it so expect more sponsorship and more attempts to control editorial content.

2                     Subscriptions will not lift as fast. The supermarkets will take a greater share of the market, further squeezing profits at magazine publishers.

3                     Magazine publishers will get into social media optimisation (SMO). SEO is so yesterday; SMO will be the new chant of the publishers.

4                   Publishers will try to get into “magnetic content”. Magnetic content is a buzz term from marketing: content that sticks to people and they pass it on.  Users pull it down and pass it around: rather like viral marketing.  As they do so the magazines that manage to embed pay mechanisms into their apps will win a little revenue.

5                     Another big house to have a clear out. Somebody, or even a few publishing companies, will follow IPC and clear out the less profitable titles.  IPC cleared out the venerable

Stamp Magazine, launched in 1934

along with Wedding, Loaded and Classic Boat to second rank publishers such as MyHobbyStore, Warners, Vitality and Chelsea Magazine Company.    These smaller players should be able to make better returns than IPC. Surely the BBC will have to sell off titles like History under pressure from a frozen licence fee and the new services the BBC will have to fund.  If it can sell TV Centre it can sell the mags of BBC Worldwide.

6                  US or European publisher to take over a B2B magazine house? Some are ripe for takeover in a depressed share market.

7                     There will be more purely digital titles from the big boys. Watch National Magazines.

8                   The TV listing magazines will continue to defy gravity.

9                  Magazine publishers will look seriously at shifting subediting and some other production functions out of the UK to lower wage locations.   All they have to do it squeeze it down a line and have it squeezed back.  Well, almost all.

10                 Magazines based on a single celebrity may be launched. Why not the Alan Titchmarsh Magazine or the Kirsty Allsopp Magazine?

I’ve looked back at my predictions for 2010 and think I can claim 7 out of 10 right.  Not bad.  Let’s see if I can do as well in 2011.

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One Comment
  1. Not bad so far, seeing how things in the magazine industry are shaping up in 2011. Not sure about 6, 8, 9 and 10, but the year is young still. Probably no one could have foreseen how Apple’s handling of the iPad app situation has had such a massive influence on the emergence (or lack thereof) of tablet magazines. That’s still very much a storyline in progress, but I truly think Apple is, oddly, raining on its own parade, seeking a Draconian 30 percent cut in a medium that is just getting out of the starting gate. Consolidation is another major trend we’re seeing a lot of this year. We’ll see how the rest of the year develops.

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