Periodical Publishers

Industry Profile Report

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

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

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

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

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 4,200 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 16 workers, and generates about $6 million annually.

    • The periodical publishing industry consists of about 4,200 companies that employ about 68,300 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

                                Coronavirus Update

                                Apr 28, 2022 - Paper Shortage may Slow Recovery
                                • Members of the World Print & Communication Forum (WPCF) warned in late April that current paper shortages will have severe repercussions in the supply of print products for all markets. WPCF said that demand is now almost back to pre-pandemic levels in most countries, however customers are facing surging prices and uncertainty about the supply of paper.
                                • Tech companies that aggregate news came under increasing pressure to pay news publishers for content use when ad buyers slashed budgets early in the pandemic. Complaints from antitrust regulators in France and Australia prompted Google to launch Google News Showcase, which pays publishers to license their content. The Google News Initiative waived ad fees for small- and medium-sized news outlets during the pandemic and provided $15 million to the Support Local News Campaign.
                                • Industry experts are urging publishers to experiment with new subscription models and to leverage their in-house talent in new ways to help drive subscription and ad revenue. Some periodicals may provide subscriptions at various price points that offer content by topic of interest (sports) or format (podcasts). Publications may also leverage popular reporters and columnists by creating video content or hosting live chatrooms to better engage with readers and make subscriptions stickier.
                                • Publishers scrambled to find new sources of revenue to avoid laying off staff, downsizing operations, and trimming titles and content when the coronavirus pandemic caused advertisers to slash their budgets. Many publishers pivoted to focus on reader-generated revenue, especially subscriptions. Some industry watchers warn that publishers may miss out on potential revenue from casual readers by focusing on traditional paywall subscribers. The subscription model doesn’t accurately reflect readers’ online surfing behaviors, according to Publishing Executive. Readers who hit a paywall may find the information elsewhere. More publishers may develop user-focused pay models that allow readers to consume individual articles or pieces of content without purchasing an entire subscription. Publishers could further diversify their revenue streams by enabling readers more control over how they access content and pricing a la carte content profitably.
                                • The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted some journalism organizations to adopt nonprofit business models, according to Axios. The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) is a consortium of nonprofit news organizations that helps other journalism groups convert to nonprofit status. By switching to nonprofit business models, newsrooms can solicit donations to help fund operations in addition to selling ads and subscriptions. The INN grew its ranks by a record 28% in 2020.
                                • Many publishers dropped their paywalls early in the pandemic to allow free access to essential public health policy information and COVID-19-related news. Some publishers reinstalled paywalls but offered subscriptions at extremely low introductory rates which increased exponentially upon subscription renewal. So-called “sleeper” subscribers who are infrequent readers but don’t cancel their subscription after it jumps to the higher pricing tier can account for up to 40% of a publication’s subscriber base, according to subscription software provider Piano. Publishers may lose some sleeper subscribers as more consumers use subscription management services to track and cancel subscriptions they seldom use.
                                • IAC/InterActiveCorp’s Dotdash acquired magazine publisher Meredith Corporation in late 2021. Some industry watchers suggest that IAC/InterActiveCorp’s media brands - including Brides, Serious Eats, and TripSavvy - will complement Meredith’s print and digital titles, including People, Entertainment Weekly, and Martha Stewart Living. Meredith had been challenged with falling newsstand and print ad revenue and mounting debt, problems that were exacerbated by the pandemic. The newly created firm, Dotdash Meredith, hopes to gain efficiencies by combining Meredith’s advertiser relationships with Dotdash’s e-commerce and digital advertising expertise.
                                • Some publishers are rethinking their reopening plans for newsrooms amid the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Medical experts suggest that while Omicron is more transmissible than earlier variants, including Delta, it tends to cause less severe illness.
                                • The Omicron outbreak renewed Americans’ interest in COVID-19 news. About 37% of adults said in January they are following news about the pandemic “very closely,” up from 31% in March 2021, which was the last time the survey was taken by the Pew Research Center. The rise in Omicron-related news matched the levels seen in the fall and winter of 2020 when the Delta variant drove a spike in new COVID-19 cases.
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