Magazine Shutdowns Slow Drastically

But Print Launches Are Down, Too

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Magazines aren't closing like they used to, but new ones aren't coming along as quickly any more either.

Publishers only shut down 87 magazines in the first half of 2010, way down from 279 shutdowns in the first half of last year, according to new data on consumer and business-to-business magazines from MediaFinder. Only 16 titles dropped print to become online-only publications, far fewer than the 43 that went online-only in the first half a year ago. Figures include not just recurring subscription titles but newsstand-only specials as well.

The big slowdown in closures comes as a relief after a savage run in the magazine business, when the recession combined with long-term changes in the media business to force shutdowns at titles including Alpha Media's Blender, Conde Nast's Domino, Meredith's Country Home, Rodale's Best Life, Hearst's Teen, Disney's Wondertime and Electronic Gaming Monthly from Ziff Davis.

The magazine business is unlikely to ever again sell as many ad pages as it did in, say, 2007, but many observers and publishers have held out hope that the survivors of the past couple years would benefit from a less crowded field of competitors.

Even while print closures ebb, a more modest pace for new launches suggests that a thinner competitive set will persist for many magazine categories. Ninety new magazines arrived in the first half of this year, down from 187 launches in the first half of 2009, MediaFinder said.

Food magazines led the launches with 10 new titles, including ChopChop and Better Homes & Gardens Anyone Can Cook. Home magazines saw the most closures with 10 shutdowns.

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