Magazine Closures: Trying to Understand the Numbers

November 25th, 2009

As reported in MediaDailyNews, according to figures released by, part of Oxbridge Communications (the “publication of record” on all data related to North American magazine publishing companies and their titles), 383 magazines closed in the first nine months of 2009, compared with 259 new titles launching (emphasis mine). 

However “the number of closures in 2009 was smaller than 2008, when 525 titles closed and 335 titles launched (again, emphasis mine).”

If the magazine publishing business is so awful, why is more than one new title launched for every title shuttered?

You could venture that there are too many egotistical fools out there, and also the many of the launches are small (while a lot of the closures of the last couple of years have been very large), and this would be true, but surely does not explain the whole story.

I think the whole story is that the U.S. and Canada (and of course many other countries) have enormous wells of creative, entrepreneurial talent, and many people with these strengths will remain willing to challenge some crazy odds, and embark on some (apparently) crazy ventures. Many will fail; the others will help clarify the path ahead for the rest of us.

Follow-up: Very good short backgrounder from the MPA: “Misperceptions about Magazine Closings.”