The NY Times yesterday featured an article on an event that in retrospect perhaps marked the beginning of the end of a lavish (advertising) era for print magazines:
This was the Talk magazine launch party on Aug. 2, 1999 — simply called The Party at the time — and it seemed as if a new era of media fabulousness had been christened. The Hearst Corporation and Miramax, owned by Disney, decided to finance a new general interest magazine led by Tina Brown, fresh off her triumphs at Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, that would lead the national conversation . . .
Rather than the culmination of a century of press power, the Talk party was the end of an era, a literal fin de siècle. Flush with cash from the go-go ’90s and engorged by spending from the dot-com era, mainstream media companies seemed poised on the brink of something extraordinary. But that brink ended up being a cliff.
Talk Magazine failed in 2002, a leading indicator of the dive that the industry would take years later — a combination of “secular” and “cyclical” factors.
These days magazines are suffering almost as much as newspapers. But they’re a form, downsized and bruised, that is likely to remain — although there will be fewer titles and, as the article suggests, this sort of flamboyant and costly type of launch party may/will likely never be seen again.
The advent of eBook Readers may herald a new era for magazines. Beyond the new mobile “form factor,” magazine (and media) publisher Meredith’s recent investment in mobile creative shop Hyperfactory, as well as Lucky Magazine’s deal with NearbyNow, suggests magazines are potentially going to evolve into “marketing platforms” or ad networks — of a sort.
Related: Forrester eReader consumer survey data. Awareness is growing: 40% have now heard of but not used and 36% have seen but down own. Only 1.5% of respondents said they own one of these devices.