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History• In Colonial times the word magazine meant depository, or warehouse• This is what early magazines were -- a depository of material cobbled from other sources: books, novels, pamphlets and newspapers• Benjamin Franklin originally had the idea, Andrew Bradford beat him to publishing the first magazine -- both of their magazines folded early on due to financial issues• All of the early magazines were aimed at a specialized audience --- exactly what modern magazines do
After the Revolution• Most magazines of the time were very politically oriented, and aimed at an elite audience• The Niles Weekly Register was the first newsmagazine
Penny Press era• During this era, magazines became targeted toward the everyday, average reader• In the 1840s, the rise of womens magazines show womens growing social and economic importance
The Magazine Boom• By the 1900s magazines were booming, due in part to better printing technology and the Postal Act of 1879, which gave magazines special postal rates• Muckrakers: writers/publications that exposed corrupt practices in big business
Between the warsThree major types of magazines:1.The digest: people could read it in a hurry2.The newsmagazine: narrative style, group journalism3.The pictorial magazine: featured photo essays, celebrity images, pictures of current events
Postwar period• Trend toward specialization: Field & Stream, Golf Digest, Playboy• The urban renewal of the 1960s brought about "city" magazines (New York magazine)• 1950s saw the rise of the black press with Ebony, Jet and Tan
Contemporary magazines• Major decline in advertising dollars, many print magazines have folded (yet keep an online presence)• Facing marketing problems: national do not call list makes it difficult to get subscribers, supermarkets limit shelf space for magazines, big magazine sale pushes by Publishers Clearinghouse are in legal trouble• Weak economy means fewer ad dollars to go around, cable and Internet efficiently reach the same specialized audiences
Magazines in the digital age• Digital versions online, or for mobile platforms• User-generated content• Social media
Defining features of magazines• Of all print media, they have the most specialized audiences• In tune with social, demographic, economic trends (new magazines emerge resulting from popular trends)• Can influence social trends (Vogue, Playboy)
Organization of the magazine industry• General consumer magazine: can be acquired by anyone, readers can buy the products and services advertised in them• Business publications: aka trade publications, aimed at a specific business, industry or profession• Custom magazines: published by corporations that try to keep existing customers satisfied, while attracting new clients (Hiltons Grand Times)
Organization of the magazine industry• Literary reviews and academic journals: published by nonprofit organizations and universities, foundations or professional organizations. Do not use advertising revenue.• Newsletters: extremely specialized, small circulations, high subscription prices• Public relations magazines: published by a sponsoring company, intended for one of their publics
Functional Categories• Production function: encompasses all the elements necessary to put out a magazine• Distribution function: handles the job of getting the magazine to the reader.• Two types of circulation: paid circulation, controlled circulation• Retail function: retailers agree to keep the magazines on the shelf for a determined period of time
Circulation• Paid circulation: periodicals that use paid circulation qualify for lower postal rates, provides revenue source for publishers, also have the added expense of collecting payments and keeping records. Most consumer mags are paid circulation.• Controlled circulation: publications using it can reach all the personnel in a given field, avoid costs associated with promoting subscriptions, however they gain no revenue from subscription or single copy sales. Example: SkyMall
Producing the magazine• Circulation: responsible for keeping readers satisfied and attracting new readers• Advertising & Sales: selling space to advertisers• Production: oversees the actual printing and binding of the magazine• Editorial: plans topics for upcoming issues, helps out with various public relations activities. Includes artwork and layout departments.
The production process• Preliminary planning: idea generation for upcoming issues• Converting ideas to articles: setting deadlines, assigning lengths and writers• Putting together the dummy• Schedules for publication are in place• All pagination for web and print are done digitally• Web articles may undergo a secondary editing process: lengthening, adding multimedia elements
Economics• Four basic sources of magazine revenue: subscriptions, single copy sales, advertising, ancillary services (e-commerce, custom publishing, database assistance)• Advertising generates the largest amount of revenue• More difficult for new magazines to get shelf space in major retailers - decline in single-copy sales
Feedback• Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) provides reports for magazines (pink sheet, every June and December)• Rate base: the number of buyers guaranteed by the magazine, also the number the magazine uses to compute advertising rates• Primary audience: subscribers or single copy buyers• Pass along audience: people who pick up a copy of a magazine at a doctors office, gym, hair salon• Mediamark Research Inc.: provides data on total audience for magazines
Magazine audiences• About 11% of mags are single copy buys, 89% subscription• 85% of adults interact with a magazine at least once a month, most read more• Typical reader is more educated and more affluent than non readers