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[epub] Newsletter market speculations
Hi folks.

At the risk of getting a little heavy on everybody, I'd like to throw some 
ideas at you and see what you think.

I've been researching the periodical market lately and I've noticed some 
interesting things.  The print newsletter industry is currently a $5 
billion a year industry, according to the most recent data I've been able 
to get out of the Newsletter and Ezine Publishers Association 
(NEPA).  While the industry is dominated by small businesses and 
entrepreneurs, the growth potential is definitely there.  The industry's 
largest newsletter publisher has reported earnings of approximately $300 
million annually, while the largest circulation consumer newsletter boasts 
1.5 million subscribers.

Meanwhile, the magazine industry is hurting, partly because of the way the 
ad market tanked last year and partly because the younger readers that 
everybody is panting after (because you always need to renew your market 
with a new generation of customers) are being siphoned off by a combination 
of television, cable and the Internet.  The result is that there is a rash 
of consolidation expected for the magazine industry; it's slow to start 
because of all the economic uncertainty but we can expect it to get up to 
steam later in the year as the economy improves.

The problem with all the consolidation is the tendency for those big 
conglomerates to play it safe, with the result that there will be a bunch 
of bland consumer publications out there and very little creativity or 
innovation or new voices to be found.  Already, there is a push for some of 
those publications to succumb to the spin-off fever that we saw with 
television sit-coms back in the '70s.  This stuff is not likely to appeal 
to those younger readers that are so attractive.

What all this suggests to me is that newsletters -- and particularly e-mail 
newsletters, which are able to acutally *take advantage* of the way the 
Internet is eating into the market -- might be coming to a point at which 
they could give the magazine industry a serious run for its money, in terms 
of market share.  There are some major obstacles to overcome here -- most 
notably the reluctance of the average consumer to pay for electronic 
content -- but looking several years down the road, this seems to me to be 
a definite maybe. <g>

What is the market looking like to you?


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[epub] RE: Newsletter market speculations Frances Stewart
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