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 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

                                Recent Developments

                                Mar 10, 2023 - Industry Struggles With Deluge Of AI-written Content
                                • The science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld has stopped accepting new submissions from writers after being flooded with submissions of what it says were AI-generated stories. "By the time we closed on [February] 20th, around noon, we had received 700 legitimate submissions and 500 machine-written ones," said publisher and editor-in-chief Neil Clarke. Clarke said that the magazine wasn't revealing the method it was using to identify the AI-generated stories because it didn't want to help people game the system, but he said that the quality of the writing was very poor.
                                • A 4.2% US Postal Service (USPS) delivery fee increase for periodicals, first-class mail, marketing mail, package services, and special services became effective in late January 2023. It is the latest in a series of changes that may affect periodical publishers. The USPS implemented new service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals in October 2021 that extended the delivery timeframe. The USPS raised prices, added new fees, and discontinued some of its shipping options in 2022. Higher rates may result in better delivery performance, however. USPS delivery performance metrics for the third week of the second quarter of fiscal year 2023 showed delivery performance improvements in First-Class Mail and Periodicals. The average time for the Postal Service to deliver a mailpiece or package was 2.5 days.
                                • E-commerce giant Amazon plans to cut back on selling newspapers and magazines for the Kindle sometime in 2023, according to Publishers Weekly. Kindle newspapers and magazines aren’t going away entirely, however. Publishers Weekly reports that “hundreds” of titles will be available for members of Kindle Unlimited, who pay $10 a month for access to a wide range of books and periodicals.
                                • Magna, a unit of Interpublic Group of Companies' Mediabrands, cut its forecast for nonpolitical ad spending for the second half of this year and its total advertising spending growth forecast for 2023. Company analysts say that a weaker economic environment is likely to cut into consumer spending. Items like food, drinks, personal care, and household goods ‘are especially at risk as firms are forced to increase product prices and face the possibility of consumers trading down in favor of cheaper brands.’ Advertising expenditures will decrease as a result. Ad spending growth for all of 2022 will come in at 9.8%, Magna said, less than the 11.1% forecast in June. The growth forecast for 2023 was cut to 4.8% from the June prediction of 5.8% growth.
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