American Express has decided to cease publication of its’ Travel and Leisure Golf magazine after the March / April issue. The bi monthly publication had a circulation of bi-monthly circulation of 625,000. That’s no small potatoes. But its ad pages were down 13.9 percent in 2008. And that’s what killed it.
“While the award-winning editorial product has enjoyed a loyal and passionate following, the current advertising climate has severely impacted the magazine’s bottom line to where the short-term and mid-term prospects for the magazine are not viable,” said president and CEO Ed Kelly.
Here’s what a lot of people don’t realize about the periodical publishing business: subscription fees don’t even begin to cover the cost of the magazine. In a good many cases, they don’t even cover the costs of delivery and the administration of the subscriptions. That’s sort of what happened to the Detroit Free Press newspaper. In a month or so, Detroit’s daily newspapers will offer delivery only three days a week. They’ll still be on a seven day publishing schedule, but the paper will only be available on the newstands most days. Cutting the expense of delivery makes the publications viable.
Magazines don’t really have that option.
I wonder if this also means that American Express will be cutting its other golf offerings. They also have a golf oriented website for card members and at the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, had a significant presence. I especially appreciated the portable score keeping / television device they lent to me as a cardmember.