Magazine publishing is slicing itself into ever-narrower niches. Each year sees a growing number of new niche titles catering to very specific interests.
The reason for this trend? Something dubbed “narrow-casting” (as opposed to broadcasting). A BusinessWeek article highlights the trend:
“NARROW-CASTING.” Part of the boom derives from an old phenomenon: What entrepreneur wouldn’t love to see his or her name as editor or publisher emblazoned on the inside cover of a magazine? And now, the barrier to entry, at least from a technology standpoint, has never been lower, with sophisticated publishing software and high-speed Internet connections commonplace.
Combine that with Americans’ greater discretionary income to spend on leisure, which allows them to more fully cultivate interests, from cooking to coin collecting, and you have a trend. “I call this phenomenon narrow-casting, where people want to know more about just one subject, and they either flip to a TV channel that offers that information or pick the magazine that does,” Husni says. “I mean, you have tons of new magazines on fishing, a magazine for landscaping, even furniture painting — you name it, and we’ve got a magazine for it.”
Last year saw the launch of 125 new magazines on crafts and hobbies, 83 on specific geographic regions, 59 on home design and services, 57 on sports, and 41 on different types of cars. The latest craze: “There have been eight poker magazines launched in just the past six months,” Smith says.
Of course, as with any startup, the chances are that startup magazines will not be successful. That doesn’t seem to stop entrepreneurs from starting new ones, believing that theirs might be among the small percentage of successful titles.
Now, if the large publishing houses would just catch on that narrow niche titles are what the public wants….