The circle of life

While I don’t regularly link to magazine demise stories, when a 150-year-old magazine like Punch goes away (reg. req.), it’s at least worth noting.


The circulation of Punch, a fortnightly, has slumped below 6,000 from a peak of 175,000 in the 1940’s. The publishing cost, $58,000 an issue, has become too steep, (said) Mr. Fayed,… an Egyptian who also owns Harrods department store and whose son, Dodi, died in a car crash in 1997 in Paris with Diana, Princess of Wales. (Fayed) had revived Punch four years after its first demise, in 1992.

Another reason I decided to link to a demise story is a Boston Globe report today about the possible launch of a new “George-like” magazine this fall. While I love to see new magazines launch, I doubt this one will make it. Even George, with JFK Jr. making personal pitches to twenty-something-year-old media buyers, could not coax enough money out of advertisers during advertising boom times, to make the real George work. Even JFK Jr. appearing nude couldn’t turn it around. Unless this new magazine is going to be a political-lifestyle magazine that also targets “randy” young men and features bikini-clad women and videogame reviews, I doubt it can succeed in today’s marketplace.

2 thoughts on “The circle of life

  1. My 2cents about why George didn’t work:
    It was acting as if
    a. 20-somethings were interested in politics when studies show they don’t even vote
    b. politics were interesting and sexy [while I’ll argue the former all day long, the latter, not hardly]
    c. celebrity politics were the rule, not the exception — I’m going to assume this Hollywood-Capitol Hill connection it pushed in many issues was a schtick to sell the mag
    and nobody bought it.
    Having said that, George did a lot of interesting things, and for the 20-somethings who are interested in politics [at the time I fell into this category — the age group; am still interested in politics] it was a valuable political & historical magazine. Especially the pieces that JFK Jr. himself did — often interviews I think no one else could have gotten. The one with George Wallace for instance still sticks out in my mind. Lots of the “what you were supposed to learn in school and won’t get from Time magazine” sort of stuff. But more interesting than a 10th grade history class.
    Will this new mag — Common Good — sell? Nah. It’s not in line with what sells a newsmagazine like Dateline…therefore it won’t work. It’s a shame.

  2. Wow, Laura. We totally agree on something. George was good magazine based on wrong assumptions but peddled by the perfect human to attract advertising and get ANY interview. Common Good sounds like it lacks Common Sense.

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