Over the last few years, the rapid rise of online presences and digital outlets has plagued many famed publications that are most notably known for their distinguished work in print. All have taken a big hit as not only money has been lost, but also in the equation, has been a mass loss of jobs as well. Taking the fall this time around is none other than the iconic New York Magazine, which revealed this past Monday that they’ll be slashing its print run, and will drop to a bi-weekly publication beginning at the top of next year—which, according to the NY Post will supposedly start somewhere in March. Due to a hefty loss of $1 million dollars within this year alone, company executives decided this would be the best solution.
Before the financial meltdown took its course in 2008, the New York magazine was consistently pulling in 3,300 ad pages a year, but now in 2013, the current print edition will barely be above 2,000 ad pages. The company claims it is repositioning the venerable publication for the way people consume modern media.
“Legacy media companies are trying to change the tires while they are doing 100 mph,” said Barry Lowenthal, president of Media Kitchen, an ad-buying agency.
“While print has been challenged, it will end the year within 5 percent of last year’s performance,” insisted Publisher Larry Burstein, who said the frequency changes will save $3.5 million in printing and distribution costs.
“Revenue is growing and more than half the revs are coming from digital because digital is growing, while print is operating close to flat,” Burstein added.
“Personally I am sad because I enjoyed reading New York magazine every week,” said Lowenthal.
But he said the change for New York and other print publications is inevitable. “As ad budgets go more and more for digital, they were faced with the question of how do they make up the margins they were getting in print,” he said.
“For some brands, New York may be a must have, but clearly not for enough brands. Maybe this will give it a lifeline.”
The move to slash costs by dropping some of the printed editions has come up for discussion even when its benefactor Bruce Wasserstein was still alive. He bought the magazine in 2004 and it has been run by a family trust since he died in 2009.
“We’ve had the discussions about this move for the last five or six years,” said Chief Executive Anup Bagaria.
The move — from 42 issues this year to 27 in 2014 — signals “forward-thinking changes that best position the company for future growth,” he said. The magazine had shrunk to 42 issues, with the advent of double issues, over the past few years.
“We want to make New York more of a nationally focused publication,” Bagaria added.
The 2014 schedule also will include three special issues. In 2015, it will become a true fortnightly publication, with 26 regular issues — plus the three specials.