The Journal Industry

Anyone taking a look at magazines from the 50s or 1960s would see a big difference between them and the magazines of today. Before the advent of computers, many consumers counted on magazines to provide information, recipes, home decorating tip and business information. They read desperately about the private lives of celebrities and desperately looked forward to each issue.

The trunk to school issues of magazines such as Seventeen could be nearly as thick as many telephone books. Flash forward to 2009 and 2010 and magazines have changed a great deal. They have to take on other sources of information, with a primary rival being the navigate to the closest grocery store computer.

Ad revenues are down in virtually every journal being published. Some very specialized magazines have were able to stay profitable, however. Question is: how long can they continue to do so? Is the future of the journal industry in trouble and will magazines soon be collector’s items, becoming as odd a view as record players, typewriters and similar items?

There are some magazines which appear to profit the trend. Among the most popular are home magazines. Buyers appear to like to collect these and even grab out pages to take to home design stores. The number of home magazines has more than tripled since 2005, with news stands filled with a record number of these type of publications.

Even so, with the advent of computers and access to information online, the journal industry is facing many challenges. Magazines with a long and notable history, including Gourmet and Collection journal, have ceased publication. Newsweek journal is up for sale, raising questions about how people would like to get their news.

Perhaps receiving it every week is just too long to await, particularly when the click of a button enables readers to have access to breaking news. Computers have many wonderful benefits but can signal the death of magazines which used to offer similar information.

Magazines like Newsweek, also known as newsweeklies, face special challenges. Why do they often times get into trouble and face possible misfortune? Simple. They can take on online news, information which could be breaking for a passing fancy day as a every week news journal hits the stand. Magazines can’t cover breaking events as quickly as online publishers. However, they can be purchased for recipes, holiday crafts, biographies of celebrities and more.

In order to lure readers, magazines must have a special hook or angle. Betty Englbreit’s Home Companion journal featured paper dolls in the back of the regular as well as collector images suitable for mounting and hanging on the wall (so did the old McCalls magazine). Special sports magazines covered the Olympics and featured paper prints which could be placed on the wall. All of these features helped entice readers into buying magazines. Maybe they still will.

There is another challenge facing the journal industry. It takes paper to fill magazines and paper generally comes from trees and shrubs. Magazines have been mauled for being wasteful and not good for the surroundings. When given a selection between buying a journal or reading similar information online, green conscious consumers often pick the online experience.

Mostly, it precipitates to simple economics. What role do magazines have when it comes to providing information and and what will consumers pay for? In order to remain competitive, the journal industry has to create issues which readers are interested, collect and keep for regarding green day or two. Certain special collector’s features appear to do well and even fly off the stands. But it is becoming harder and harder for the journal industry to carve out a unique niche when it comes to providing information.

Also, in order to stay profitable, magazines must have promoters. Unfortunately, they are competing for promoters who often prefer to appear online. Ad revenues have been shrinking at many magazines as their usual promoters decide to lessen on expenses or proceed to online ads. Promoters have to stretch the budget as far as possible and that often means cutting particular magazines out of the mix.

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