Print is dead ... or is it?

(Credit: Urbanite)

By Ryan Chatelain

If the magazine industry is dying, some publishers have refused to attend the funeral.

At a time when major publications — Portfolio, Blender and Country Home, to name a few — are folding at an alarming rate, several media companies remain undeterred, launching new titles into an industry that is battling the Internet and the recession all at once.

“There’s an experience that people have with a magazine that they don’t have on the Web or on their cell phones — that visual experience of reading something of length, reading something where you want to read it,” said Jane Ottenberg, president of The Magazine Group, which helps companies create publications.While the magazine industry’s struggles have been well documented and a Web site, magazinedeathpool.com, has even surfaced to track the demise of publications, Ottenberg said there are many success stories that have flown under the radar. Among them are that the June/July issue of Saveur is the culinary magazine’s largest in its 15-year history and includes 22 percent more pages of advertising compared to last year.

Media analysts largely agree that broad news magazines, such as Newsweek, are vulnerable. Publishers of new niche titles, however, believe they represent the future of print media.

“The winners will be the niche publishers making the content that is more passion-based and delivered in a higher-quality experience,” said Greg Di Benedetto, publisher of Guitar Aficionado, a quarterly lifestyle magazine that premiered this month and covers guitars, wine and cars.

Jennifer Roberts, publisher of Modern Magazine, a quarterly decorative arts and design publication that launched in May, agreed that audiences can still be reached through magazines.

“I think everybody when they found out we were doing this publication, especially on the international level, got super excited because there wasn’t anything else providing them with a place to research and understand the historic value of the pieces they were interested in acquiring,” she said.

Sixty-two percent of new magazines don’t survive their first year, according to industry analyst Samir Husni.

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Some new magazines launched in recent months or hitting newsstands soon:

Guitar Aficionado: Quarterly, high-end lifestyle magazine that covers guitars, wine and cars.

Modern Magazine: Quarterly publication that celebrates 20th- and 21st-century decorative arts and design.

Fresh Home: Home-improvement magazine from the Reader’s Digest Association that launched in February.

Best You: Over-40 health journal, also by the Reader’s Digest Association, that will be rolled out in March. It printed two test issues earlier this year.

AR: Publication covering U.S. and international hedge funds that will be available in September.

ESPN Outdoors Saltwater: Fishing magazine from the sports media giant that was launched in April.

Tags: magazines , print media

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