Niche Magazine Consolidation – Scuba Diving

Posted: December 19, 2008 in Consolidation, Content, Photography Links, Trends
Tags: , , , ,

Via the blog

sd-collageMany readers of this particular blog may not be aware of my dual lifestyle. One part marketing maven, one part commercial photographer and adventurer. Today is one of the rare times where my two lives have come together (well, at least I’ve found an angle to make it relevant to the digital marketing community). Yesterday, Bonnier Corp, the parent of Sport Diver magazine, #1 title in the scuba diving category (where I am a regular photographer & author of the IMAGES column), acquired Scuba Diving magazine, #2 title in the category.  Scuba Diving magazine, for many years was owned by Rodale and more recently by F+W Publishing, has been an iconic title for some time. As is happening all around us, the new media era has allowed only the absolute strongest to survive and to a degree forced the consolidation of yet another category.  About 5 years ago another iconic dive magazine Skin Diver had folded, and Sport Diver subsequently acquired the remaining assets of their brand and customer lists. Congrats to the team at Bonnier and at Sport Diver for a job well done, and for maintaining a position of dominance in an evolving market. I am proud to be involved with the team at Sport Diver.

We are observing the result of massive changes in consumer media consumption. Niche categories have fared better than broader titles due to the passion their readers have for specific lifestyles. However, even niche categories are being affected by the shift to digital media.  The down economy and large infrastructure of primarily print-based media companies have been colliding lately. Look at what happened to Tribune, the largest newspaper conglomerate in the US.  The print media business is in a state of flux. Many publishers have heard the chants but ignored the mantra of “evolve or die”. Being a media company today means understanding how to distribute your content across multiple channels,  providing consumers the experiences they expect, and building revenue models that will morph and evolve as quickly as media consumption patterns. Easier said than done, of course.

We are watching history unfold in so many ways.

  1. Amit Rahav says:

    While I regularly enjoy your Sport Diver writing, i regret seeing Scuba Diving disappear. There’re some tips it can give to sport diver and is/was a great product for its audience. As you mentioned above, today this is not enough.

  2. Jason Heller says:

    Thanks Amit – glad to see another fellow diver in the marketing industry.

    The industry applauded Scuba Diving’s website, which has been better than Sport Diver’s, but ultimately is still shallow and not what it should be. Many magazine websites learned the hard way that their websites must stand on their own as well as compliment their print entity. Hoping to help them in that regard, we’ll see .

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