Periodical Publishers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 3,700 periodical publishers in the US produce and distribute magazines and other periodicals in print or electronic form. General interest publications focus on a broad topic, such as arts, culture, leisure, entertainment, politics, business, or news. Other types of periodicals cater to a specific market and include trade publications, such as scholarly, medical, or scientific journals.

Competition From Alternative Media

Periodical publishers compete with a variety of alternative forms of media, including television, radio, newspapers, books, and digital media.

Variable Costs

Periodical publishers are exposed to risks associated with the cost of paper and postage.

Industry size & Structure

The average periodical publisher operates out of a single location, employs about 19 workers, and generates about $7.4 million annually.

    • The periodical publishing industry consists of about 3,700 companies that employ about 70,000 workers and generate $27.5 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top and fragmented at the bottom; the top 50 companies account for 62% of industry revenue.
    • Large publishing houses include RELX Group, International Data Group, and Meredith Corporation. Large firms typically hold portfolios with multiple titles and may also operate in related categories, such as broadcast (TV) media and book publishing.
    • Small companies include city and regional magazines and highly targeted trade publications. Many markets can only support one subscription-based lifestyle publication, according to Folio Magazine.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Periodical Publishers Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                May 20, 2024 - Publishers Increase Prices
                                • Periodical publishers increased prices slightly during the first quarter of 2024, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Periodical publishing industry employment and average wages for nonsupervisory employees decreased slightly during the first quarter of 2024, according to the BLS. Periodical publisher sales are forecast to grow at a -0.9% compounded annual rate from 2024 to 2028, slower than the growth of the overall economy, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc.
                                • There were 71 newly-launched magazines in the US in 2023, according to the Mr. Magazine industry news site. That is substantially fewer than the number launched in 2021 but in line with the number of new publications entering the market in 2022, according to Statista. Special interest magazines make up the majority of newly-launched publications and book-a-zines are increasing in popularity. Labor shortages and inflation were just two of several factors affecting magazine publishing in 2022 and 2023, according to Statista.
                                • The number of US periodical publishers has decreased 37% since 2010, according to WhatTheyThink. The printing industry news site notes, however, that the post-COVID establishment count hasn’t decreased more than it historically has on a year-to-year basis. WhatTheyThink also notes that some of the decrease in the number of periodical publishers may be due to mergers or a switch to online publishing that may move some firms from the periodical publisher industry to the more general media industry.
                                • The strategic importance of newsstands for periodical publishers continues to decrease, according to Samir Husni, the founder and director of the Magazine Media Center. Newsstand sales fell from a high 35% in the late 1970s to less than 10% in the early 2000s to 3% of the total circulation in 2023. Publishers hoped that supermarkets and bookstores would replace newsstands and continue to make magazines available, and that worked until the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to Husni. Magazines on today’s newsstands can be divided into three categories, according to Steven Kotok, president of Kappa, one of two major puzzle publication companies. They are traditional periodical magazines; special interest publications, better known as “bookazines;” and puzzle publications, which “are in a class by themselves,” Kotok said. Traditional periodicals are “in rapid decline,” bookazines are “in rapid increase,” and puzzle publications are “holding steady,” he said.
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