While first-half magazine launches outpaced title shutdowns for the sixth year in a row, the bottom line isn’t great: net growth is dwindling.
First, the good news. MediaFinder’s report says that 60 magazines started publishing in the first six months of 2015, while just 23 shuttered—a net gain of 37 publications.
There are signs that the industry is stabilizing, as the 23 closures are a low since MediaFinder started publishing its tallies in 2009, and are fewer than a tenth of the high-water mark set that year—279 magazines stopped publishing in the first half of 2009.
The bad news is that launches are falling at an even faster rate. Gains are better than losses, but net additions to the industry have been steadily dropping for the last four years. And with a 41-percent decline in growth year-over-year, this marks the worst first half since the recession (there was a net gain of just three magazines in 2010).
The lack of investment in new titles echoes the dearth of M&A activity in the beginning of 2015. According to Petsky Prunier, deal value is way down for both consumer (-100 percent) and B2B (-87 percent) magazine media, with volume only slightly better (-70 percent and 22 percent, respectively).
*Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi, tells a different story though. While he doesn’t track closures, Husni says 118 regular-frequency magazines launched in the first half of 2015.
That total is down slightly from last year’s 123 launches, but well above the number of startups in each of the prior four years.
Husni and MediaFinder each have different methodologies and encapsulate different segments of the business, but it’s notable that one trendline is pointing up, as the other points down.
*Editor's note: Husni's statistics were added after they were published on July 1.