According to Media Daily News, Sept. 13, 2011, sales from newstands of 68 mainstream magazines have dropped by nearly half, from 22,019,953 for a six month period in 2001 to 11,562,028 for a six month period in 2011.
"So what?" you say? "We'll just replace replace them with digital magazines?" you say?
According to the article: "...digital newsstand sales remain fairly low."
Sales of digital from Time Inc. Magazines was a grand total of 600,000 in August. Conde Nast were 105,000 in the preceding six weeks.
There are, of course, subscriptions but you have to think that they undergoing the same pressures and declines.
Even if the math is skewed, even if some figures don't correlate exactingly, the trend is pretty obvious. I assume, as well, that digital is cheaper. I don't know what kind of revenue they can generate from digital ads (obviously if they have a fraction of the paid readers, the rates must be much lower.)
Again, I hear everyone saying, "So What? We'll just get our information free."
Except who is going to pay for the administration of the magazines -- the hiring and paying of writers, artists, editors, cartoonists, etc. etc.?
What news are the aggregators going to aggregate when the source material disappears? Who pays the guy to go across the country to get the real scoop? Across the state? Across the city? Hell, who pays them to go across the street?
Free is not much of a motivator for work. At least not quality work.
I have the same questions for books, and games, and comics, and even -- eventually -- music.
How much of the free that we are getting is already parasitic on ongoing systems? What happens when they disappear? Who produces the material?
Those who wish the downfall of the comic shops or bookstores or record stores, or who mourn them without supporting them, or who just don't give a damn, seem to believe that they'll just get the source material from a different delivery system.
It seems to me that less than a million cheaper digital downloads won't pay for the same material that tens of millions of physical copies used to pay for.
What if the source material can't be produced under a different delivery system?
To me, it isn't about the delivery system -- it's the payment system, and if digital doesn't pay, who produces the material?
People who do it for free, I guess. Or for minimal return.
You get what you pay for.
5 days ago