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Thread: Print publishing death watch

  1. #1
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    Print publishing death watch

    Over the holidays, everyone always asks me how the magazine is doing. Well, as I've said many times before, the industry is on a downward spiral and we're fortunate to remain on the newsstands. Now, AsianWeek is ending it's print run and going completely digital. There may come a day when I have to write a letter like this, but I surely hope not:

    December 30, 2008
    To Our Readers:

    AsianWeek has played a long and significant role in helping develop Asian Pacific America, from publishing the first 1980 U.S. Census data on Asian and Pacific Islanders Americans, to co-publishing the most comprehensive textbook analyzing 2000 Census data with UCLA.

    AsianWeek has also changed itself to keep up with the rapidly evolving Asian American community. This includes the re-launching of AsianWeek.com as the largest Asian American news site, using the newest delivery tools for electronic media. We also have worked to bring together the increasingly diverse segments of the Asian Pacific American community, organizing events like the Asian Heritage Street Celebration and community-wide campaigns like the San Francisco Hep B Free initiative. Our news focus has shifted in turn, to reflect the growing focus of Asian Pacific Americans on their own career, professional and business development. We are also producing more special newspaper sections around issues as diverse as heritage, health issues and car reviews.

    The economy and the news business have experienced their own changes. There are fewer major newspapers, fewer newspaper readers and fewer newspaper advertisers than ever before. A faltering economy has accelerated the decline. Meanwhile, Asian Pacific Americans have led the way in the digital revolution migrating away from print media and into receiving their news and information electronically.

    To reflect these changing times, AsianWeek will cease regular newspaper publication immediately. We will continue to publish on-line and in special newspaper editions. Electronic versions of AsianWeek articles will be available free via email. We will also be more active than ever in the community, helping Asian Pacific America to grow, evolve and reach its full potential. We appreciate the support the community has given us over the last three decades and look forward to giving back to the community for many decades to come.

    James Fang,
    President

    Ted Fang,
    Editor and Publisher
    We brushed on this topic in another thread with Rolling Stone's format change and the end of the print version of Christian Science Monitor.

    What can you do? Well, you can help us by subscribing. That helps us keep our numbers up. Of course, buying us at the newsstand helps too.

    Thanks for your support!
    Last edited by KFQ Admin; 10-06-2009 at 08:00 PM. Reason: Product wrong URL
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
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    Have you thought about making it avaialble to download, like in PDF format?
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  3. #3
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    sure

    We've been contacted by a few companies that do that, as well as considered doing it ourselves. The market is still unstable on the viability of subscription-based PDF zines, so we're watching to see if that's even viable in the long run. Most online publications are more towards the model we have now (or what AsianWeek is doing) - free access for the most part. That's tricky to monetize, but fortunately, we have built-in advertising.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
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    Another one bites the dust

    Newspapers are having a much more difficult time than magazines. Most people are getting their news off the net. What's more, want ads, which have been traditionally a major source of income for newspapers, have all gone to the net. The most difficult part of this is that it's really hard for newspapers to monetize their websites. There are major discussions about the impact this will have on journalism as a whole as more newspapers dissolve.
    Plan to Close Chinese-Language Paper Deepens a Shadow Over the Ethnic Press
    By KIRK SEMPLE
    Published: January 22, 2009

    There is nothing overt at the modest headquarters of The Ming Pao Daily News to suggest that the 12-year-old newspaper is under siege. In the paper’s small warren of offices in an industrial building in Long Island City, Queens, the advertising and reporting staffs are still working the phones and putting out their scrappy broadsheet as if nothing were amiss.

    The Ming Pao Daily News, one of four Chinese-language dailies in New York, is set to close.

    But looming over the entire enterprise is a plan by the paper’s corporate parent, Media Chinese International Limited, based in Hong Kong, to shut it down. Though the plan has yet to be formally announced, and several of the paper’s employees said they still remained in the dark about their future, the paper’s general manager confirmed in an interview with The New York Times last week that the daily would indeed disappear from newsstands, possibly as soon as the end of the month.

    News of Ming Pao’s demise has shaken New York’s ethnic press industry, which until recently remained extremely robust but, like many other industries, has been buffeted by the nation’s economic slowdown in the past few months.

    In recent weeks, two other prominent ethnic newspapers have also closed. Hoy New York, a Spanish-language daily started in 1998, published its last print issue on Dec. 30, though it retains a presence on the Internet. AsianWeek, a widely respected English-language Asian-American weekly based in San Francisco, published its last print issue on Jan. 2, though it, too, remains online.

    Ning Wang, editor in chief of The Sing Tao Daily, one of Ming Pao’s three rival Chinese-language dailies in New York, said Ming Pao’s departure would diminish the city’s Chinese-American community, which as recently as the mid-1980s supported 10 daily newspapers.

    “For the community it’s a very depressing thing,” Mr. Wang said.

    But in an interview, Ming Pao’s general manager, Thong Lai Teng, said that the news was not all bad and cast the paper’s closing as something of a new beginning.

    While the company planned to cease publication of the daily, which costs 50 cents a copy on the newsstand, it would continue publishing a free, six-day-a-week newspaper, called MP (NY) Free Daily, introduced more than a year ago.

    The Ming Pao staff has already been supplying most of the free daily’s content, Mr. Teng said. And though there would be some layoffs, he added, most of the workers would remain, ensuring that The Ming Pao Daily News would survive in substance and spirit, if not in name.

    He said the shift and belt-tightening were necessary for the company to stay alive.

    “We are here to stay!” he exclaimed, with a bit more gusto than the paper’s struggles would seem to allow.

    Circulation of the free daily has been increasing in proportion to the decrease in the paid daily’s circulation, propelled by an enthusiastic response from advertisers, Mr. Teng claimed.

    Some 35,000 copies of the free daily are distributed daily, he said. Meanwhile, he added, the circulation of the paid daily has declined significantly from about 45,000 early last year, though he did not divulge the current circulation numbers.

    News of Ming Pao’s plans have filtered out in a curious way. Two rival newspapers published thinly sourced articles in late December reporting Ming Pao’s closure. Then in an article on Dec. 31, Ming Pao published a vague article about the change.

    But when first approached about the plans last week, the paper’s staff members and managers refused to confirm the closing, deferring instead to the corporate parent company for comment. When it was pointed out to Mr. Teng that the corporation’s plans had already been reported by one of his own correspondents, he appeared confused, then insisted that the article had been printed prematurely. “The editor wasn’t in the office that day,” he said.

    Analysts of the ethnic news media say that Ming Pao’s plans, and the recent closings of Hoy and AsianWeek, are most likely a harbinger of much more contraction in this sector of the media industry.

    Until the middle of last year, analysts say, the ethnic press was largely insulated from the vicissitudes of the newspaper industry, including severe downturns in advertising revenue and circulation, which have brought many mainstream newspapers to their knees.

    Devoutly focused on local, largely immigrant communities, ethnic newspapers provide readers with news particular to those populations and reports from the immigrants’ homelands that are hard to find elsewhere. They also address the specific needs of immigrants trying to adjust to a new country and new lifestyle.

    “People don’t necessarily see themselves reflected in the mainstream media, so different cultural populations were turning to the ethnic media more and more,” said Cristina L. Azocar, director of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University.

    In addition, advertisers are often the neighbors and acquaintances of the newspapers’ staff, creating an intimate relationship between the newspapers and the communities they serve, analysts said. Many ethnic papers have not gone online in any comprehensive way, but until the broader economic downturn, that did not much matter since much of the readership, particularly in working-class and poorer communities, may not have been connected to the Internet anyway.

    But beginning last year, growth in the ethnic press began to level off and the footing of many papers has not been secure enough to withstand the recession.

    Ethnic newspapers are now having to scramble to stay alive, cutting staff, printing less frequently and shifting to the Internet.

    “Some are finding very innovative ways to keep afloat and others are committed to operating in the red,” said Sandy Close, director of New America Media, a nationwide association of more than 2,000 ethnic media organizations.

    According to several current and former Ming Pao staff members, the paper has always struggled to find a niche for itself in the rough-and-tumble market of Chinese-language dailies.

    Ming Pao was founded in 1997 as an offshoot of a well-respected daily in Hong Kong that also publishes iterations in San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver. It has tried to cast itself as the most intellectual of the four Chinese-language dailies in New York, mirroring the reputation of the Hong Kong paper. But it has not been able to cut deeply enough into their market share, industry experts say.

    An employee smoking a cigarette outside Ming Pao’s offices in Long Island City last week said he was unsettled by the possibility of layoffs, but he was also philosophical about the matter. The economic malaise, he pointed out, was ubiquitous. “It’s happening to everybody,” he shrugged. “Not just us.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
    My wife bought me a two year subscription for Christmas. I haven't received the first one yet, but I figure it will be the issue I already own.... the Shaolin Special for 09. I did get the t-shirt though!

    Can't wait to get them at the door instead of waiting (and sometimes forgetting) to pick them up at the store.

  6. #6
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    Alas, we'll probably see the end of them as we know them in the next ten years. There is no denying the power of the digital media.
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  7. #7
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    Chief_Suicide

    If your wife got you a sub for Xmas, you got a great wife.

    Your probably subscription won't start with the Shaolin special issue. Those were actually shipped out in late November. It should start with the new Mar/Apr 2009 which was shipped out a week or so ago, and will be hitting the newsstands Feb 3rd.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #8
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    The fall of Anco

    This is huge. We're distributed by Curtis, and we can feel it.
    Anderson News ceases operations, in negotiation with publishers, retailers
    By Carly Harrington (Contact)
    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Just over a week after imposing an unpopular fee for magazine delivery, Anderson News has decided to cease operations as it continues to negotiate with publishers and retailers.

    The decision is an attempt to rein in escalating expenses just as publishers have stopped shipping magazines to the Knoxville distributor, which began charging a 7 cent fee on Feb. 1 for each magazine distributed.

    CEO Charles Anderson said the surcharge was necessary to offset losses and stay in business, but publishers have refused to pay.

    Most employees were told Saturday not to report to work until further notice.

    It was unclear how many were affected by the decision, but in a note posted on the doors of its headquarters, Anderson News said it hoped to resume normal business activity soon. Meanwhile, the company is maintaining "a skeleton work force."

    "As these discussions proceed, we are incurring unsustainable costs. If these costs continue to go unchecked, we jeopardize any chance we may have to resolve this crisis. We will continue our efforts, but must for the short term stop these escalating costs," Anderson wrote as part of the note.

    Anderson News has had about 400 employees at its Knoxville-area facilities, including a distribution center on Westcott Boulevard off Middlebrook Pike, though the company reportedly laid off some workers last year. In 2007, Anderson had about 9,800 employees companywide, according to Hoover's Online directory of businesses.

    "We continue to work toward an amicable solution. I have been told by our two largest publishers that any interruption of service should last only a few days. I am not quite sure if they really understand the situation. This is a mess for all of us," Anderson said in a statement released Saturday.

    Last Wednesday, the company denied reports that it was exiting the business. Another distributor, Source Interlink, which also had implemented a price increase, alleged that publishers were refusing to ship copies to it and Anderson News to "lock out competition."

    Anderson News and Source Interlink represent about 50 percent of the magazine distribution market, which also includes rivals Hudson News and News Group.

    Anderson News has said the fee is meant to be a temporary measure as it seeks "a viable business model" that would ensure a competitive marketplace. Anderson News' magazine sales in 2008 were about $760 million, and it reported a net loss of more than $20 million.

    The impact on consumers and how and when they will be able to get the latest issues of their favorite magazines is yet to be seen.

    Food City CEO Steve Smith said the regional grocer sells millions of dollars worth of magazines, which are supplied entirely by Anderson News.

    "We're sympathetic with their goal to get a more effective business model; however, we're not being serviced. That can only go on for a certain amount of time. We support Anderson and hope they get these issues resolved, but ultimately, we have to make sure our customers get the products they want," Smith said Monday.

    Based in Abingdon, Va., Food City operates 100 retail food outlets throughout the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee. It has been a longtime customer of Anderson News, which Smith called a local company that does "a good job."

    Kroger spokesman Glynn Jenkins also expressed hope that Anderson News would find a resolution, saying the disruption in service "could temporarily limit the selection and quantity of books and magazines available in Kroger stores."

    "Some of our distributors informed us that they are having issues fulfilling their obligations to retailers. We hope they resolve their situation soon and, in the interim, are looking for alternative suppliers," Jenkins said.

    Last month, Anderson was quoted in The New York Post as saying in a conference call with publishers that, "The last thing we want to do is exit this business, but why should we continue in a business where we are not making any money?"

    Anderson News was established in 1917. It is one of the largest distributors and merchandisers of magazines in the United States. The firm provides weekly service to retail locations in 37 states.

    "We survived two world wars, a great depression and countless economic panics," Anderson said in his memo to employees. "In the past two months, we have done everything possible to get our magazine companies back on solid economic foundation."
    Source Interlink sues rivals over alleged plot
    Mon Feb 9, 2009 8:59pm EST

    LOS ANGELES, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Magazine wholesaler and publisher Source Interlink Co Inc (SORC.O) on Monday asked a New York federal court to stop rivals from trying to drive it out of business, according to court papers.

    Source Interlink, controlled by billionaire Ron Burkle, said it needs emergency court intervention to stop the defendants, including publishers Time Inc and Hachette Filipacchi, distributors, and rival wholesalers from monopolizing the U.S. wholesale magazine distribution market.

    Source accused the defendants of cutting off its access to People, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Time and other magazines, and spreading "disparaging rumors" about its financial condition to its retailer clients, the filing said.

    Source said the scheme arises from its efforts to charge a 7 cent per copy distribution fee to recoup costs of retrieving unsold inventory from retailers, tabulating and destroying it.

    Source tried to impose the fee in January but had to rescind it when publishers and distributors resisted, the filing said.

    A short time later, the magazines "cut Source off from its supply of magazines" and told its customers that it was in "deep financial trouble", the filing said.

    The "conspirators" wanted to force Source to sell its distribution infrastructure at a steep discount to rivals Hudson and News Group, which were colluding to take over Source's west coast, mid-Atlantic and midwestern territories, the filing said.

    Source accused its rivals of charging retailers higher prices for the same products as the competitive market shrinks, the filing showed.

    The defendants named in the case were American Media Inc, Bauer Publishing Co, Curtis Circulation Co, Distribution Services Inc, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., Hudson News Co, Kable Distribution Services Inc, the News Group LP, Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) Time Inc and Time/Warner Retail Sales & Marketing Inc.

    Representatives for Bauer and Kable had no immediate comment. The remaining defendants could not be reached for comment after hours. (Reporting by Gina Keating; editing by Richard Chang)
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  9. #9
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    Remember when I said we were distributed by Curtis?

    The main reason I started this thread is because people always ask me "how's the magazine doing?" and I have to explain how grim things are looking in our industry. Well, now, you can see how the hammer is falling.

    Of course, this effects us. We're a small niche magazine, so when you see the entire industry imploding like this, it's a struggle. I always urge you to pick us up at the newsstands, but I also urge you to subscribe. We appreciate your support and will continue our efforts to bring you print coverage of the world of Chinese martial arts to the best of our ability.

    Source Interlink Files Antitrust Suit Vs Publishers, Rivals
    Dow Jones
    By Chad Bray Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

    NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Source Interlink Cos. (SORC) sued a group of publishers, distributors and rival wholesalers on Monday, saying its magazine wholesaler has been cut off from its supply of People, Sports Illustrated and other popular titles after trying unsuccessfully to implement a per-copy distribution fee last month.

    The antitrust lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, alleges the magazine publishers and distributors, along with two wholesalers, are trying to destroy Source's business and monopolize the U.S. wholesale magazine distribution market.

    "Defendants' indisputable goal is to destroy Source's business so that defendants - through Hudson and News Group, the two remaining wholesalers - will monopolize the wholesale market and use that monopoly power to shift to retailers and consumers - and away from publishers - the entire financial burden resulting from worsening market conditions and publisher-induced inefficiencies in the distribution system," the complaint said.

    The lawsuit names as defendants magazine publishers American Media Inc., Bauer Publishing Co., Hachette Filipacchi Media, and units of Time Warner Inc. (TWX).

    It also names as defendants: magazine distributors Curtis Circulation Co., Kable Distribution Services Inc., and Distribution Services Inc.; and wholesalers Hudson News Co. and The News Group LP.

    The lawsuit claims the collusive actions of the publishers, distributors and other wholesalers has caused wholesaler Anderson News Co. to go out of business.

    On Jan. 14, Anderson announced it would implement a 7-cent per-copy distribution fee and Source's distribution unit followed suit on Jan. 19, announcing its own fee effective Feb. 1, according to the complaint.

    The publishers and distributors resisted the surcharge and Source's distribution unit rescinded it, according to the lawsuit. Source Interlink also publishes magazines, including Motor Trend and Soap Opera Digest.

    Source claims the publishers and distributors, despite assurances to the contrary, moved in "virtual lockstep" to cut off its supply of magazines, including People and Sports Illustrated.

    The lawsuit also alleges the defendants launched a campaign to spread false rumors to Source's customers and others that "Source was in deep financial trouble and had ceased operations or was exiting the magazine wholesale business."

    "The goal of that coordinated campaign was to do just that - to put Source out of business," the complaint said.

    Dawn Bridges, a spokeswoman for Time Inc., declined comment late Monday, saying the company was reviewing the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for Bauer Publishing also declined comment late Monday.

    Spokespersons at the other companies didn't immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday.
    On a different front, but equally telling...
    Hachette Filipacchi Drops Out of Magazine Publishers of America
    Former CEO Kliger Once Called Out Others That Didn't Support Print Trade Group
    by Nat Ives
    Published: February 09, 2009

    NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., publisher of magazines including Elle and Car and Driver, has dropped out of the Magazine Publishers of America, the magazine industry's association for promoting the medium, lobbying in Washington and supporting magazine publishers.

    Hachette casts its withdrawal as a response to the recession. "These are extraordinary economic times," a spokeswoman said, "and this is one of a number of hard decisions that we are making until conditions change."

    But the departure is still jarring. Hachette isn't the biggest publisher in the country, but Elle is a big power among magazines. The company, moreover, has had a close relationship with the association.

    Jack Kliger, Hachette's president-CEO from 1999 through 2008, served prominently as chairman of the association from 2005 through 2007. In Mr. Kliger's last speech as MPA chairman, he even took a swipe at publishers that don't pay MPA dues for getting a "free ride." Mr. Kliger was succeeded at Hachette by Alain Lemarchand last September.

    The MPA said this is no time to quit. "We're disappointed that Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. has dropped its membership in Magazine Publishers of America, especially in this challenging environment," an MPA spokesman said in a statement. "More than ever, this is a time when magazine publishers need to work in unison to promote their interests and protect their assets. We hope that when the economy improves, Hachette will rejoin the MPA, which has served the industry so effectively by spotlighting the effectiveness of magazine advertising, pushing for postal reform legislation and collaborating on many other initiatives that are vital to the health of magazines."

    Many other publishers said today that they continued as members and supporters of the association. The dues, however, are clearly a growing issue.

    Henry Donahue, CEO-publisher of Discover Magazine, said his magazine is still a member of the MPA. "We are," he confirmed via e-mail, "though it's an ongoing source of discussion given the expense."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #10
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    time to buy a subscription next paycheck. along with some new faiyue's.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mantis View Post
    Genes too busy rocking the gang and scarfing down bags of cheetos while beating it to nacho ninjettes and laughing at the ridiculous posts on the kfforum. In a horse stance of course.

  11. #11
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    yeah man gotta make sure the only REAL kung fu magazine. doesnt disapear.

  12. #12
    Unfortunately I haven't received my last two issues I can see why it's a death watch. (and yes I already contacted Gene) but Gene is not a mailman.....stupid mailman.

  13. #13
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    Sorry about that, Egg fu young

    Did you contact sales@martialartsmart.net? That's who really handles subscription fulfillment - it's our TN office. If you emailed me, surely I referred you. If it didn't get handled, let me know via email and I'll see what can be done. Gene@KungFuMagazine.com.

    Thanks for the support SLL & doug. That is appreciated.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #14
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    Man, it's a good thing you are a total niche market!

    distribution would be your greatest bane I would think.

    advertising should be fairly simple enough and subscribers and newstand buyers can be increased with more provocative covers. lol.

    less old men in pajamas with fierce faces and more hot chicks beating the crap out of toadies would be a jump I'll bet.

    Kung Fu is good for you.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    Man, it's a good thing you are a total niche market!

    distribution would be your greatest bane I would think.

    advertising should be fairly simple enough and subscribers and newstand buyers can be increased with more provocative covers. lol.

    less old men in pajamas with fierce faces and more hot chicks beating the crap out of toadies would be a jump I'll bet.

    actually acording to gene. people by more copies of old men in pajamas then hot chicks. when it comes to kung fu magazine.

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