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Uncertain Times for City Magazines

Posted on Friday, April 28, 2017 at 9:51 PM

In the news: How struggles for city magazines reflect wider industry trends.

What's in store for city magazines? In a recent cjr.org piece, Tony Rehagen reminisces on more prosperous days in the category and looks ahead at what lies in store for it. The news, he tells us, is a mixed bag: "For the most part, publishers and editors tell me that city magazine circulation -- home-delivery subscriptions and newsstand sales -- has remained steady. Digital editions have been slow to get off the ground. But the true bedrock of the city-mag business model, print advertising, disappeared with the economic collapse in 2008 and never came back."

Once city magazines had to look beyond print advertising revenues to remain profitable, other revenue streams came into play. As is the case in other categories, some city publishers are now exploring custom publishing and events to increase visibility and expand revenue. But despite all these changes, Rehagen says, "The physical edition is the core of the brand, and its prominence is crucial in making other ventures successful." Read the full article here.

Also Notable

Amazon Testing Digital Subscription Service

This week, Amazon unveiled Subscribe with Amazon. The new service allows publishers to offer subscriptions to their digital magazines through the retailer. According to Max Willens of Digiday.com, Amazon will take a 30 percent cut in the first year and 15 percent thereafter. It's a sizable cut of the winnings, but, as Willens notes, "while most publishers are experiencing their share of platform fear and loathing, the arrival of another subscription seller fills a need that's been growing as newsstands and bookstores have closed." Read more here.

"Read Like Your Enemies Will"

Last month, AARP: The Magazine editor Bob Love offered up editorial wisdom (including the quote above) at the Folio: Association Media Summit in Washington, DC. In his keynote address, he broke down the similarities and differences between association and consumer publishing. Read the entire address here.

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