mc mag folds; 30 years and out

In an announcement e-mailed – ironically, considering – June 18, Rick Campbell, Publisher and Editor of Motorcycle/ATV/UTV Industry Magazine(s) and the Powersports International Internet Expos (PIIE), will cease operations July 1, 2010. (www.mimag.com)

Campbell is the latest casualty in print’s war of attrition with online (digital) content, further hampered by a devastated powersports market in an overall struggling economy. The main culprit remains loss of ad revenue, the lifeblood of publishing and the sauce that has historically driven the presses.

announcement ends 30-year run

While MIM’s readership remained fairly constant, the same couldn’t be said for the B2B’s clients. Campbell recently took a big redesign step of downsizing from a tabloid format to a more conventional, more economical letter-based layout. The move bought time, but no new revenue.

Making matters worse, the publication’s struggle to find online traction was itself symptomatic of the broader challenge facing what’s sometimes referred to as a dead tree dependency. Content does count, but print doesn’t automatically scale to digital.

new media is the new media

Last March I took notice of the page shrinkage in traditional annual buyer’s guides as a harbinger of the anemic health of the powersports B2B community. And while some continue to cling to the notion that a limp economy is the main cause of distress, the reality is that a print-only publisher’s option is history, with most major titles having already moved to a new business model that has print as a supported distribution channel, as opposed to a historically pivotal role.

E-readers are the future – for all generated content, not just print – and consumers are calling the shots. Like it or not, successfully managing a print merger with a digital product is the only way the genre can survive.

Good luck, Rick, on whatever path you choose.

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