Friday, February 19, 2010

Media Roundup: Enquirer Goes for the Gold, Comic Heroes Update, Profits at Playboy Mag, & More

The latest from the media whirl -- I mean, media world:

I noted here recently the intriguing news that UK-based SFX publisher Future was launching a comics magazine next month called Comic Heroes. One question I posed was whether the magazine would cover more than just the superhero-based comics that were being touted in the press I'd seen so far on the new magazine. Our friendly editors at SFX replied (via Twitter) that "yep, out 16 March - it will cover all kinds of comics." Good news.

More good news from the battered magazine publishing world: Playboy magazine, which has been a punching bag for the digital-only crowd for years, actually made a profit in fourth quarter of 2009, reports Folio:. The magazine's profit was powered by cost-cutting -- including the combined January-February issue (which went on sale in December) -- and by additional newsstand sales of its November issue, which featured Marge Simpson on the cover and which generated some of the greatest media buzz in the mag's history. The entire company had greatly reduced losses for that time period, too, so new CEO Scott Flanders at least has a promising story to tell investors. But Folio: quotes him as saying, "Although each of our businesses has promising opportunities, our operations are subscale in industries dominated by large players. In our business, size matters. Our mission is to create a stronger and significantly more profitable company."

A while ago I also asked in this blog whether Huffington Post magazine blogger James Warren -- a favorite of mine since my Chicago newspaper-devouring days -- was gone for good. I asked him directly (I know, a novel idea), and he responded that he does intend to return to his HuffPo perch; he's currently just too busy with his duties running the Chicago Reader. See, this blog is just full of good news today!

Let's keep the happy feelings wagon rolling, then. Mr. Magazine (aka Samir Husni) reports that January 2009 saw the largest number of new magazine launches in three years.

Let me dissent from the general shock-and-arrgh over the National Enquirer's bid for a Pulitzer in recognition of its uncovering the whole John Edwards affair/love-child scandal. The Pulitzer committee has accepted the tabloid's submission for consideration, so it's in the running. I'm no fan of the Enquirer -- never bought a copy, hope I neve do, and I don't like yellow journalism -- but I have absolutely no problem if it is deemed worthy of the award. Daily Finance blogger Jeff Bercovici agrees. Should it win? I don't know what else it'll be up against in the two categories for which it's being considered. But with the traditional media largely giving up on the expensive (and controversial, so it makes advertisers upset and it scares the MBAs who run the media) investigative reporting that is needed to keep the rich and powerful discomfited. Judge the individual work by its merit, not by the media outlet's whole.

Read my previous media roundup.

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