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 3,800 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 million annually.

    • The periodical publishing industry consists of about 3,800 companies that employ about 71,600 workers and generate $26 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

                                Jan 11, 2024 - Publishers Cut Prices
                                • Periodical publishers increased prices slightly during the first half of 2023 before gradually decreasing them below January levels by the end of the year. Industry employment was unchanged during the first 11 months of 2023 while wages for nonsupervisory employees increased significantly. Periodical publisher sales are forecast to grow at a -0.23% compounded annual rate from 2023 to 2027, slower than the growth of the overall economy, according to Inforum and the Interindustry Economic Research Fund, Inc.
                                • The increasing number of online open-access journals promotes academic exchanges, but the prevalence of predatory journals is undermining the scholarly reporting process, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Data collection, feature extraction, and model prediction are common steps used to distinguish between legitimate and predatory academic journals and publisher websites. Predatory journals are considered a significant threat to the trustworthiness and legitimacy of mainstream scientific research and reporting, the study authors say. Defined as deceptive or write-only publications, predatory journals and predatory conference proceedings cater to the growing demand among scholars to have their research published. They promote themselves as having rapid manuscript review processes but often fail to mention that they do not adhere to standard peer-review procedures, according to the study authors.
                                • 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.
                                • Publishers are concerned that artificial intelligence chatbots will reduce readership, according to The New York Times. Many sites get at least half their traffic from search engines, but chatbots give answers to search queries in full paragraphs rather than a list of links. Many publishers worry that far fewer people will access their sites as a result, reducing site traffic — and, by extension, revenue. “You could essentially call this the Wikipedia-ization of a lot of information,” said Bryan Goldberg, the chief executive of BDG, which publishes lifestyle and culture websites like Bustle, Nylon and Romper. “You’re bringing together Wikipedia-style answers to an infinite number of questions, and that’s just going to nuke many corners of the open web.”
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