Opinion: The end of an era

POSTED: 06/27/14 2:11 AM

The Internet is killing the magazine market – at least, large parts of it. While we have no numbers for the interest in magazines (or for the newspapers, for that matter) in St. Maarten, the Dutch circulation-institute HOI has its data down to a tee. And the picture these numbers represent is not pretty for the printed (magazine) press.

Men’s magazines like Playboy seem to be slowly but surely tottering towards their inevitable grave. Last year Playboy had a circulation of 42,000, this year it plummeted during the first three months to 31,439 – a quarter less.

Illustrated magazine Nieuwe Revu also saw a drop of 25 percent in readership to 17,763, while competitor Panorama fell 17 percent to 35,000.

The publisher of the magazines, Sanoma, wants to sell the titles but with these tumbling numbers it will be tough to find an interested party. Recently, Sanoma sold already 19 titles, but the men’s magazines were not among them. If the publisher fails to find a buyer and if merging titles within the portfolio fails, Panorama, Nieuwe Revu and Panorama could disappear from the market altogether – marking the end of an era in magazine publishing.

Not all news is bad though. Women’s magazines are doing reasonably well. A title called Linda saw circulation go up by almost 10 percent to more than 200,000 copies. Libelle still sells 353,000 magazines every week, though this number represents a decline of 7.5 percent. Margriet lost 10 percent and fell to 193,000.

Among the opinion magazines, rightwing Elsevier dropped with 17.4 percent to a circulation of 83,000. HP/De Tijd lost 25 percent and now stands at 16,000. Others, like De Groene and Vrij Nederland remained more or less stable. The women’s opinion mag Opzij sold 38,000 copies, a decline of 12 percent compared to a year ago.

The numbers show that an increasing number of readers are turning to electronic media for their information. The upside to this trend is obviously that publishers will use less paper – and therefore kill fewer trees. Not everybody is happy with that either, because the most important downside is the loss of employment.

The numbers don’t lie: in 2012 unemployment among journalists in the Netherlands increased by 40 percent, and last year it went up by 31 percent. Currently there are almost 2,300 unemployed journalists. Assuming that there are 15,000 journalists in the country, unemployment in the profession now stands at 15.3 percent. For the total working population, unemployment is 8.3 percent.


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