In his keynote speech at the ASBPE National Editorial Conference
, Tony Silber aimed to demonstrate with a real-life example that a magazine can not only launch and stay in business, but actually beat out the competition, even in the current lukewarm economy.
You probably know that Silber, a former editor and publisher at Folio:
magazine, helped start the magazine-industry publication M10
under the company umbrella of Red 7 Media
. The pub launched as a web site in March 2003. A print edition followed in June '03. M10
(the name signifies "Magazines to the 10th power") was a direct competitor to Folio:,
which was then owned by Primedia Inc.
According to Silber, M10
was a very bare-bones proposition at the start. "I was employee Number Two," Silber says. "It was literally two guys in a basement. … The first media kit was a Staples folder with two PDFs on one side and three PDFs on the other side."
Yet within a year, M10
was the ad-page leader in the field (beating not only Folio:
but another startup, Crain Communications' Media Business
). Was M10'
s per-page rate lower vs. Folio:'
s, and could that have been a factor? I'm guessing yes. Still, in August 2004, the team behind the year-old M10
acquired sole responsibility for the management of 32-year-old Folio:
. (Primedia still retains a minority stake in the property.)
Red 7 Media combined the two magazines, keeping the M10
look and content — M10
did not take on any of Folio:
's editorial staff — and renaming it Folio
to take advantage of the familiarity of that brand.
The conclusion Silber drew from M10'
s success was this: Markets respond to quality, even in a down economy
(a sentiment shared by David Silverberg, editor of year-old homeland security magazine HS Today.
) Silber says M10'
s quality showed in both editorial content and marketing strategy. Under Primedia, he says, Folio:'
s content was "Manhattan-centric. It was largely about who's eating lunch with Tina Brown." Silber aimed for more relevance with M10
. On the ad side, the philosophy was to sell marketing services and help with business development, rather than focusing narrowly on selling ad pages. Another factor in M10'
s favor, he believes, is that from the start it was a multimedia resource, with a web site, a print issue, and an email newsletter. Publishing Industry Outlook
It's nice to know that a new magazine can make it in a down economy. But Silber thinks an economic recovery is on tap for the magazine business in second half of the '00s. He's seeing renewed investment and activity — for instance, American Business Media memberships are up, and so is attendance at the Folio: show. Other predictions, at least for the B2B side of the industry, are a little less sanguine.
Silber also believes that entrepreneurship will be a strong trend in magazine publishing. As it happens, entrepreneurship is the planned topic of our first fall chapter event
.Coming up on the Blog
Over the next several days, I plan to post more about what went on at the ASBPE Conference. Travel and work temporarily put my ability to post on hold — hence the lengthy gap since the last post on this fledgling blog — but I don't intend that to be the norm.