Sunday, April 06, 2008
The Most Notable Launch of 2007
Posted by Samir Husni
Drum roll please . . . from a field of 715 new magazines launched in 2007, Condé Nast Portfolio is our choice as The Most Notable Launch of the Year. 2007 will be remembered as the year that saw the return of the prophets of doom and gloom and at the same time as the year folks like David Carey and Joanne Lipman showed the world that print is and can be alive, well and kicking. Our hats off to the folks at Condé Nast Portfolio and the 714 other magazines that showed the doubting Thomases that print is still a very vibrant medium in this day and age. A recent Dutch newspaper adopted the tag-line "News is free but information you have to pay for." And that is exactly what CN Portfolio has done as it approaches its first anniversary issue. The magazine has provided in depth information on business issues ranging from food, gender, oil, media . . . you name it. The information in each issue is presented in an in-depth fashion merging the power of words and images to deliver the best visual impact of print (VIP). This VIP enhances CN Portfolio's addictive, exclusive and timely, yet timeless content.
With the power of print alive, well and kicking on the pages of CN Portfolio magazine, the same can be said about Portfolio.com website. CN Portfolio provides a complete package of information that makes it a must to today's movers and shakers. Whether ink on paper or pixels on the screen CN Portfolio deserves the honor of being named the Most Notable Launch of the Year. A well done job in the midst of a very rough year both on the business and media fronts.
Indeed, 2007 has been a rough year for media across the board, but what we have seen in the last 12 months isn't new. It has happened before. In just one short year we have seen overseas news bureaus shutdown, a television and movie writers' strike that has altered viewing habits, a move to free internet media content by some big name papers, the slashing of approximately 1000 titles from Wal-Mart's newsstands and now you see that we have the lowest total number of new magazine launches in five years. So what should I do? Should I say some of you were right? That we are actually a dying industry?
I can't and I won't.
If I were to say those things and side with those who believe media is doomed I would not only be ignoring some key events that happened this year, but I would be ignoring what happened when new mediums burst on to the market in the middle of the last century. Newspapers and magazines were supposed to die after radio wowed the world. A few decades later radio, newspapers and magazines were all agreed to be dead after we fell in love with television. And today the talk seems to be that everything will suffer because of the internet. Just for a quick historical piece of information newspapers and magazines, like any other product, have a time to be born and a time to die. That was true in 1690 when the first American newspaper was born and the same was true when it died after the first issue was born. There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to the life cycle of all things that have a time to be born and a time to die.
Well here we are: it is 2008, we still have television, we still have radio, we still have newspapers and we still have magazines. That will not change. Most of the world is having no problem with media consumption. Newspaper circulation and readership is up all over the world with the exception of the American market (that is the subject of another blog), a paper mill was recently completed in Germany at a cost of €486 million, a printing press was also recently opened in the United Kingdom unlike any we've seen before and foreign newsstands are more crowded than ours and still European consumers want more.
But you don't even need to look as far as Europe to see that print is well, alive and kicking. The 2007 new launches totaled 715. That is, still nearly two new magazines launched each day on average. And while 2007 count is nearly 200 titles fewer than 2006, it is still substantially higher than the number than the number of new launches in 1991, the first year that commercial use of the internet was allowed. And don't forget the golden goose. Condé Nast felt so sure of the current desire for good content that they fed over $125 million into the launch of CN Portfolio, our Most Notable Launch of the Year. So far I haven't heard one whisper of disappointment concerning that investment, except of course from the prophets of doom and gloom.
I've been saying this for some time now, we are in the midst of a market correction. We saw the market correct itself in 1999 and we are seeing it again this year. What we are seeing is, in some ways, similar to what the housing market or national economy is doing. Anything involving money has a tendency to be a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. There may be those that are complaining as we are at a low point, but be certain, those same individuals will be praising our industry when the numbers swing back up like they have time and again over the 20+ years I have been tracking new launches. Enjoy.