It’s the season for statistics, so what can we learn from and about New Magazine Launches?

April 16, 2009

Media reporters and pundits these days are having a field day with the quarterly statistics from different agencies reporting the decline of magazine advertising and newspaper advertising and revenues. Those reporters and pundits remind me with an old western where the villains force you to dig your own grave then they throw you in it. All the reports have one theme in common: things are so bad that you will think print is the only medium that is hurting in the midst of the worst economic crisis in our history.

There is no doubt that our established media are hurting, but do not blame the medium. As I have mentioned more than once on this blog, it is the publishing model that is to blame. The American publishing model as we know is DEAD. We need to change and change must be radical in nature.

Well, a lot of new magazines are doing things differently. They are trying to adapt to a new publishing model. We just finished the final statistics of the new launches of 2008 and the numbers are amazing. Here are some facts that you need to know about our industry and about how some “prophets of bloom” are doing to combat all the grave diggers:

Total New Launches in 2008: 697

Launches with a Quarterly frequency or more 196

Average Cover Price $8.10, yes you read that write…almost $5.00 more than the established magazines

Average Subscription Price $28.05, imagine that real price for the cost of the magazines and of course your receive fewer issues (4 or 6 issues for that price).. compare that with 52 issues for an average of $20.

Average Advertising Pages 12.34, way less than the 50/50 split…it is more like 10% of the entire magazine…we are back in the business of selling content first and charging for it the fair price without subsidies…

Average Total Pages 111.01

And which categories were the hot ones? Here are the top ten of 2008

Top Categories

1. Epicurean… 97 (we love to eat regardless of the economy)

2. Crafts… 68 (since we are cooking at home we have time to do some crafts while the food is in the oven)

3. Sports… 62 (armchair sports people are still looking for something to complement their addiction)

4. Home… 44 (see number one, we are spending more time at home, so we better take care of it)

5. Entertainment…42 (finished all the food, done the crafts, read the sports at home, now is time to catch up with our other addiction: celebrities: they are free and will cost you nothing but the price of the magazine)

6. Metropolitan… 23 (there is no better place than home…act globally but live locally)

7. Fashion… 21 (money is low, fantasy replaces reality)

8. Health… 19 (do you really want to count how many articles dealt with stress and how to cope?)

T9. Games… 17 (first it was crosswords, then word seek, now Sudoko is the king/queen of the games magazines)

T9. Sex… 17 (I guess some still feel there is not enough on TV and the web)

And for you, the doubting Thomases of this world and the grave diggers, if you really want to see the magazines behind the statistics all what you have to do is to click here and take a tour of some of the products that folks who do not believe the end is near are doing and succeeding. The first three months of 2009 are already on display.

Learning from the new launches is going to be but one important aspect of the new Magazine Innovation Center that I am launching in August. Stay tuned for more info about MIC and our entire publishing industry. There is HOPE and there is more to come. Enjoy.


  1. Are annuals counted a magazine launches?

    • Yes annuals are counted as magazine launches if they appear for the first time on the newsstands…a lot of new magazines start as one or two times a year and later add to the frequency of the publishing cycle. I count them the first time they appear. Note that the statistics on my web site identify the numbers of the four time or more frequency, the annuals, the specials and the others. There is a method for the madness and I do have every copy of the magazines to back those numbers. All the best

  2. Mr. Husni, I am planning on attending Ole Miss in the fall as a first year undergraduate, in large part because of your presence there. You will still be teaching, I hope? Regardless, as a non-traditional student with six years of journalism experience (including several years in magazines,) I find myself intrinsically interested in the MIC for the benefit and preservation of not only a career, but a passion. How could someone in my position get involved?



    • Rachel
      I will be teaching the magazine courses and overseeing the MIC, so each and everyone is welcomed to be involved. There will be a lot of work needed and therefore, a lot of help needed. Thanks for your kind words and I look forward to seeing you this coming Fall.
      All the best

  3. […] There’s little doubt that times are tough in magazine publishing right now. With ad revenues sinking lower and lower, what’s going to save the magazines that have solely relied on just that? According to an article in this week’s Newsweek, the answer might no longer be found in the price of ad space, but it perhaps it can be found in the price of the actual magazine. It seems the days of free magazines—or even $10 subscriptions—might be numbered. Increasingly, magazines are upping their newsstand and subscription prices to help replace what’s gone missing in advertising revenue. According to Mr. Magazine, the average price of a magazine on the newsstand is now $8.10, compared with $5.37 in 2000. […]

  4. […] revenue. According to Mr. Magazine, the average price of a magazine on the newsstand is now $8.10, compared with $5.37 in 2000. […]

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