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Magazines Trying to Survive Economy

Magazines Trying to Survive Economy

How can popular niche magazines potentially survive this moribund economy? Try eBay, for less than six figures.

Back in the day, a key to successful magazine publishing was to know thy niche and have a winning business model. Three years ago, DoubleJump Publishing seemed to be in that position when it launched Hardcore Gamer Magazine, its one and only magazine.

DoubleJump’s owner, longtime gaming hobbyist Greg Off, had established a thriving business selling thousands of gaming strategy guides on the Internet and at gaming stores, newsstands and book stores. He knew video games, he knew those who played them, and he knew where and how those people got their information about their passion.

Off and several cohorts expanded the business into a quarterly magazine that “celebrates the lifestyle and culture of gaming.”They sold their magazine at the same places their gaming guides had met with success. They launched a media rich companion website that included electronic PDFs of the magazine. And, they created about 30 related URLs with more content.

By 2007, Hardcore Gamer had a circulation of 220,000. But now, following the dreadful last quarter of 2008, DoubleJump is auctioning Hardcore Gamer for a minimum bid of $42,000. The eBay auction ends Jan. 13, and so far, there are no bidders.

For sale are: copyrights, registered trademark rights, intellectual property rights, back issues, subscription lists, customer lists, vendor lists, employee contracts, distribution contacts, public relations contacts, advertising contacts, web sites and 30 other domain names associated with Hardcore Gamer.

If the magazine isn’t sold, Off says he will continue to try and publish it.

The eBay auction of Hardcore Gamer follows the recent $71,000 telephone auction of Alpinist, a quarterly mountain climbing magazine and Web site that closed in October.

“That a magazine with a passionate fan base and multiple (albeit not yet profitable) platforms is sold for less than six figures—and does so over the phone—is scary, and says more about the state of print than many publishers would care to admit, “comments Folio magazine.

–Michael Blankenheim

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