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Niche magazines safe – as long as the niche is

Niche magazines safe as long as the niche is

Niche magazines safe as long as the niche is

While not recession proof, niche magazines and their loyal audiences are thought to be a relatively stable side of magazine publishing. But, it all depends upon the niche. Five specialty magazines for the wealthy folded Tuesday.

The Publisher’s Information Bureau (PIB) reports that the number of magazine advertising pages was down 11.7 percent in 2008. Early figures for 2009 indicate similar sliding.

But the PIB found that niche magazines with extremely well- established audiences and advertisers directly linked to the focus of the magazine tended not to lose money, and even saw profit.

Some examples where ad revenue grew: Organic Gardening (circ. 200,000) up 27 percent; Scholastic Parent & Child (circ. 1.2 million), 46 percent; and Technology Review (circ. 325,000), 25 percent.

Good news for extremely focused niche pubs. But niche magazines that take a wide-angle view are facing disaster, particularly those that aim for the luxury market and high income readers.

Doubledown Media, the publisher of five specialty magazines aimed at Wall Street elite and affluent consumers, closed Tuesday. The company’s magazines were Trader Monthly, Dealmaker, Private Air, Corporate Leader and the Cigar Report.

Doubledown had dug deep into the slash-and-burn playbook during the last year to try to survive—it cut staff, published fewer editions and paid employees less. But, that wasn’t enough.

The magazines were well written and well designed, but advertisers weren’t stepping forward and readers weren’t buying the advertised products, causing Doubledown’s creditors to slam the doors shut.

–Michael Blankenheim

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