Friday, August 19, 2011

902 MoreOn News

902 MoreOn News

It’s telling and even shocking, but not surprising.

Some recent issues of both Time and Newsweek were sitting in a waiting room the other day, begging to be read.

Two things became obvious, instantly:  There’s little in them and almost no ads.

Here are the figures of two accidentally perused editions:

Total pages: 62 including covers.  
Total ad pages:14.
Percentage of ad pages: 22.

Total pages: 58 including covers.
Total ad pages: nine.
Percentage of ad pages 16.

Anemic both in content and sponsorship, these mags.

And no surprise, either.  

There’s no reason to buy them.

Talk about dieting!  

Once upon a time, these were fat “books,” with waiting lists for advertisers.

Newsweek has turned into an ad for the Daily Beast Website, which, in turn is an ad for Newsweek.

Time, part of the much larger corporate parent, Time-Warner, is less of a promotional vehicle, slightly fatter than its competitor and with a slightly higher percentage of ads-to-content.

But the bottom line on both of these dinosaurs is:  you can’t make a living this way.

Both of the books maintain -- or appear to maintain -- numerous ad selling offices.  Neither makes its rates easily available to snoops.  But you have to wonder if either of these publications is self-sustaining.

Each has continued to bleed subscribers and newsstand buyers.  But they soldier on, hoping for... what?

US News & World Report, once a competitor, has turned itself into a web-only service with occasional print issues based on a niche it has carved for itself, rankings of colleges and hospitals.  Neither Time nor Newsweek have managed to find “stuff you can’t read anywhere else” holes to fill.

A relatively new competitor “The Week” has figured out an alternative use for a news weekly:  It’s an aggregator, much like Google News and Yahoo! News.  That means minimal staff and little-to-no original stories.  What they’re saying is “Here’s stuff you might want to know about or should know about, culled from stuff our staff reads and lifts.”

A magazine for those who take Wessay #901, "NewsWatchers" seriously.

With general news available 24/7 what’s the point of a traditional news weekly?  Insight? Depth? Glamour? Tradition?  We have all of that we can use, to quote Jim Croce’s take on “genius” in “Working at the Car Wash Blues.”

Soon, it’s going to be relatively easy for Newsweek editor Tina Brown to personally deliver copies to individual subscribers, all four of them and each over the age of 90.


--It’s not just magazines that are drowning.  AOL, new owner of the Huffington Post just announced losses that would kill the rest of us.  And with good reason:  there’s no “there” there.

--HP wants to sell its PC business.  Good move.  Let someone else clean up your mess, including that imbecile iPad imitator you just brought to market and are about to withdraw.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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