Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Staying Alive

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Staying Alive

Article excerpt


The economic downturn has been a killer. Two of the U.K.'s biggest consumer magazine publishers suffered surprise casualties in the last month.

The National Magazine Company (Hearst) reduced its shelter magazines to a single title with the shuttering in July of Your Home, and IPC Media (Time Inc.) pulled the plug on Muzik, aimed at the dance music market. Both titles struggled in the last few years to secure advertising and market share. They reported circulation declines of 24.5 and 11 percent, respectively, for July to December 2002.

It's been a battle of the budget, too, in the hard-hit IT sector, where ad revenues have fallen by 10 to 20 percent in the last year. A number of trade companies have pared their spending down to the bone in search of savings.

CMP Information, which owns more than 50 trade titles, in the last two years slashed its expenditures by almost $16 million and its staff from 1,100 to 800. "It is an exhaustive, line-by-line process. You really do have to look at every bucket of costs," says CMPi CEO Bernard Gray. "We tried to look at [reducing spending] in a scientific way and ask how we could be cost-effective in each department. We looked at our print contracts, reprographics, mail and distribution, as well as at editorial. We asked ourselves how much it costs to produce a page in each of the magazines and how much revenue we pull in per salesperson."

CMPi says it was able to reduce its IT expenses by more than $8 million. The company also reduced its real estate costs by about $3 million, scaling back from eight offices spread across southern England to just two.

VNU Business Publications, which counts Computing, Personal Computer World, and IT Week among its titles, cut back on freelance photographers and improved its efficiency by commissioning the remaining freelancers to take pictures for multiple stories while on one assignment. …

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