When The Magazine nearly died

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

The Magazine

Interesting insight into The Magazine and its (previously unknown, I believe) near-death experience:

Having a “built-in audience” from a 5by5 show, Tumblr, Instapaper, and Marco.org didn’t sustain The Magazine. I sold it because it was cratering under my ownership and losing subscribers alarmingly quickly. I was about to shut it down, but Glenn wanted to try running it, so I sold it to him for much less than you’d probably assume.

It’s often cited by people – myself included – as an interesting experiment with a subcompact magazine format on the iPad. The fact that, after a successful start, it nearly failed is eye-opening. The reason? Marco makes it pretty plain:

The Magazine under my leadership was subjectless, unfocused, and irrelevant to most of my audience.

Under Glenn Fleishman, it seems to have prospered. No matter how good the tech, you still need a skilled editor…

[Update]: A response from The Magazine suggests that the situation was more nuanced that perhaps Marco’s post suggested (to me, at least):

@adders Correction: Marco was going to shut it down because he didn’t find it a success; it wasn’t about to fail, however.— The Magazine (@TheMagazineApp) June 24, 2014

Re-reading Marco’s post with that correction in mind suggests that he was considering closing it because subscriptions were falling (which he considered a failure), not because it was about to become unprofitable. That’s a distinct difference.

editorsiPadmagazine publishingsubcompactThe Magazine

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.