There’s been an undercurrent for some years now about the decline and even death of print—print magazines in particular—and how the rise of social platforms and Google dangerously undercut the business model of media.
Part of that narrative has been that media companies are engaging with the enemy when they use the social platforms, because those platforms are out to benefit no one but those themselves: they’re profit and growth-driven companies bent on domination, not altruism.
That undercurrent transformed into a cascade in the last month or so. It was precipitated by several things: the highly unusual departure of four big-name magazine editors within a week; plus the deaths of two magazine icons, Hugh Hefner and SI Newhouse; plus the impending divestiture of Rolling Stone magazine by Jan Wenner; plus the never-ending saga of decline and turmoil at Time Inc. This week’s installment was the news that the company is cutting the size and frequency of some of its biggest brands—including Time magazine (being cut by a third), and Sports Illustrated (reducing by nine issues).
Yet under the radar, below the froth and the prognosticating, exist the survivors of the digital upheaval—the brands that don’t get the attention, who are not considered part of the usual dialog when it comes to media disruption.