Opinion: Youth titles lose out to net in the fight for readers

Some of the best minds in magazines continue to insist that new media has not yet had any negative effect on their business. But last week’s ABCs might suggest otherwise.

Some of the best minds in magazines continue to insist that new

media has not yet had any negative effect on their business. But last

week’s ABCs might suggest otherwise.



Look, for starters, at the football weeklies market. The one-time

circulation powerhouses Match and Shoot both lost ground, the latter

falling a worrying 29.5 per cent over the year. These magazines are

traditionally aimed at boys under 15. This group is growing up with the

net and considers it a natural place to turn for information. It is hard

to believe that the proliferation of football sites has not played its

part in the demise of Shoot and Match.



Then there is the weekly music magazines market, with bad news for NME

and Melody Maker. Some will blame their slide on the decline of the

seven-inch or CD single, others will point out that rock music - the

traditional mainstay of their editorial - has lost out to dance and hip

hop. But with MP3 sites challenging porn sites as the most popular on

the web, it is clear that plenty of music fans are turning to the net to

download their favourite tunes - and presumably that means some of them

will get their news and reviews online too. The way things look at the

moment, Melody Maker could find itself abandoning the presses in favour

of an online existence.



And then there’s the teen market. Total sales of teenage girls’

magazines fell more than 10 per cent last year. These magazines are

battling for attention against a huge variety of media, especially TV,

and it is a crowded market. But they have flourished alongside TV up

until now - perhaps this dramatic decline in circulation mirrors the

online boom. I hope not, but it is impossible not to see a connection.



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