Magazines: our current position.
We got it wrong. We thought we had a period of time to adjust to the digital age and were working towards that, and then Covid hit. The first lockdowns were tough, but we came through and did so with confidence that the world had survived … until the second lockdowns.
That killed the High Street.
The aftermath of both is still doing damage to the economy, to print and paper costs, to the price of postage and to disposable incomes. And it is no consolation that it’s an international problem.
Have we chucked the towel in?
Hell no, but the revenue model that has supported publishing since the dawn of magazine publishing is in trouble, and if American-V does return to print, it will only be because it can be subsidised by something else bearing its name and logo. We will deal with how we distribute it when it is viable – distribution will be a big part of that viability – but it is very unlikely to be in the news agents, and we won’t be able to absorb the cost of postage in the cover price without making it look unaffordable: it used to be 97p for second class, it is now £2.70!!
So, subscriptions and digital editions – which is how you ended up here.
There is currently nothing to subscribe to, but there might be in the future and I didn’t want to lose the ‘Subscriptions’ button.
Ditto digital editions, but more than that I was disappointed to discover that the published issues did not stay online for perpetuity. I thought that as they’d been paid for, and all costs met, that they would be, but I’m not going to lose too much sleep because the take-up on digital editions was so low. If we learned nothing else from Covid, it was that our readers want paper: it was hardly worth producing the intermediate digital editions for subscribers, because so few people actually looked at them, waiting instead for the multi-edition paper magazines to dent their doormats.
Where to from here?
We have got an idea that we are working on, which we think has got potential and is absolutely relevant to the American-V name, but we’re playing our cards close to our chest for now.
Get it right and it could bankroll the relaunch of the magazine – and massively improve its availability – so that is our primary focus at the moment.
And then I’ll have to see if I can remember how to use my camera and word processor … and see if I can find something nice to say about the new generation of Sportsters, which has been the silver lining of this particular cloud for a good twelve months now.