2005 PUBLICATION PRINTING Outlook -- Readers Paying the Price
"We may hit the 1,000 mark by the end of the year, and definitely will see more than 900 new magazines launched on the consumer side in 2004," Husni reports. "Last year, there were 949 launches, but that was an usually big year. That total was a jump up from 745 new titles in 2002."
One thing that could put a brake on all this business activity is a fight for newsstand space, he says. "Newsstands are not expanding in the same ratio as the number of magazine titles."
By far, the biggest trend in new launches is adding a city or state name to a specialty magazine, Husni asserts. "We are really becoming very community centered. You now have New York Dog magazine next to the New York Spaces magazine on the shelf," he notes.
The professor is optimistic about the industry's future despite all the competition for people's attention. "This is just the beginning. We are going to see some good days ahead of us," he enthuses. "We are in the business of complementing whatever people are using—the Internet, television, Xbox. Once we start thinking in terms of competing, we are out of business."
Husni is less bullish about the outlook for business magazines, though. "Competition—from the Internet and direct marketing, in particular—is forcing these magazines to start thinking about change, as well. Publishers have to begin thinking in terms of controlled paid circulation," he says.
"If you are offering something that business people value, even if they've gotten it free for 20 years, they will pay for it. If they are willing to pay $200 or $300 for a newsletter with eight pages, what would they pay to get a full trade magazine? The value of the content should be charged to the reader first, and then to the advertiser," Husni concludes.