Here are my 10 predictions for the magazine industry for 2011.
1 Advertising revenue will lift. Indeed, it is already lifting. The luxury goods vendors will still cut their spending but the FMCG companies will carry on expanding advertising. But they will want something for it so expect more sponsorship and more attempts to control editorial content.
2 Subscriptions will not lift as fast. The supermarkets will take a greater share of the market, further squeezing profits at magazine publishers.
3 Magazine publishers will get into social media optimisation (SMO). SEO is so yesterday; SMO will be the new chant of the publishers.
4 Publishers will try to get into “magnetic content”. Magnetic content is a buzz term from marketing: content that sticks to people and they pass it on. Users pull it down and pass it around: rather like viral marketing. As they do so the magazines that manage to embed pay mechanisms into their apps will win a little revenue.
5 Another big house to have a clear out. Somebody, or even a few publishing companies, will follow IPC and clear out the less profitable titles. IPC cleared out the venerable along with Wedding, Loaded and Classic Boat to second rank publishers such as MyHobbyStore, Warners, Vitality and Chelsea Magazine Company. These smaller players should be able to make better returns than IPC. Surely the BBC will have to sell off titles like History under pressure from a frozen licence fee and the new services the BBC will have to fund. If it can sell TV Centre it can sell the mags of BBC Worldwide.
6 US or European publisher to take over a B2B magazine house? Some are ripe for takeover in a depressed share market.
7 There will be more purely digital titles from the big boys. Watch National Magazines.
8 The TV listing magazines will continue to defy gravity.
9 Magazine publishers will look seriously at shifting subediting and some other production functions out of the UK to lower wage locations. All they have to do it squeeze it down a line and have it squeezed back. Well, almost all.
10 Magazines based on a single celebrity may be launched. Why not the Alan Titchmarsh Magazine or the Kirsty Allsopp Magazine?
I looked back at my predictions for 2010 and think I can claim 7 out of 10 right. Not bad. Let’s see if I can do as well in 2011.