The future of niche magazine publishers continues to look gloomy

By our News Team | 2021

Over the past decade only the strongest trade magazines have survived, as advertising revenues plummet. Can the hold-outs still thrive?

SMEs proliferate the trade media sector. For over 20 years, Mike Leahy, founder and MD of South African-based company, Media Manager, has tracked trade publications.

“There has been a drop in the number of titles from a high of 775 in 2008 to 395 in 2020, and numbers continue to plummet. Covid-19 on its own did not change the landscape. It’s a case of compressing the events of the past five years into one,” he says.

Consistent increases in print costs, the collapse of the Post Office, declining ad spend, changing technology and constantly shifting reader behaviour have all played their role.

“Let’s face it, the numbers game is the bottom line. If our products do not get feet in store or eyes online, they are not working. The decline in advertising spend is real and not restricted to one medium,” Jason Aarons, Director of Isikhova Media, another South African publishing house, says. 

“We continue to engage with advertisers, real time or Zoom time, to come up with solutions which are affordable. We package advertising across titles, emailers, and social media and work around payment plans where required.”   

Weighing options

Remaining the number one choice of readers and advertisers of niched publishing remains a key indicator of sustainability. There are many tales of unscrupulous and aggressive publishers who fudge their circulation figures. Some also adopt a bullying approach to selling once-off advertising. 

Leahy suggests advertisers weigh up their options, select the brand with a deep understanding of their readers, study and verify circulation statistics. Then select the one or two that come out tops.

He adds: “Probably, many should not have survived in the first place. In some sectors there were five or more titles competing for ad spend, the single source of income for most of them. Those publishers who could not change closed down; only the nimble continue to publish.”

Source: Themediaonline.co.za

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.