In April, we tentatively wondered whether the bad times for magazines had finally ended, after a year and half of the suck. It appears that celebration is in order. In the second quarter of this year, ad pages and revenues rose—for the first time since the end of 2007. The celebrity magazine category is back in a big way. Conde Nast, the shining symbol of the death of fancy magazine culture, saw widespread ad page gains in the quarter, with Vogue, GQ, Wired, and Vanity Fair all up more than 20%.
At the same time, more cautious investors meant a more stable industry in the first half of the year. There have only been half as many magazine launches so far in 2010 as there were by this time last year—but that's not a bad thing:
But on the bright side, there were also far fewer magazines folding in the first half of 2010, with 87 titles closing compared to 279 in the first half of 2009. That works out to a net gain of three new titles in the first six months of this year, versus a net loss of 92 titles in the same period of 2009.
So: the weak have been culled. Resources have been centralized. The strong (more or less) have survived, and they are coming back. Magazine deaths are being brought down to a more normal, manageable level. If you're still employed in the magazine industry, take a deep breath; you've survived.
Until the next time. Print is still dead. The economy is still precarious. Staffs will still be cut drastically. At least half of you are on borrowed time. Enjoy it while you can!