PC Magazine will switch to online-only operation
Ad revenue is falling fast, publisher says
Ziff Davis Media said yesterday that it was ending print publication of its 27-year-old flagship PC Magazine and would make the title online-only.
It is the latest of several magazine publishers to drop a print edition as advertising revenue plummets and the cost of printing a paper version rises.
"The viability for us to continue to publish in print just isn't there anymore," Jason Young, chief executive of Ziff Davis, said.
However, while most magazines make most of their money from print advertising, PC Magazine derives most of its profits from its website. More than 80 percent of the profit and about 70 percent of the revenue come from the digital business, Young said, and all of the writers and editors have been counted as part of the digital budget for two years.
The change will not require much of an adjustment, because the focus has been on getting stories to the Web first, said Lance Ulanoff, editor of the PCMag Digital Network, which is what PCMag.com and its accompanying websites were renamed yesterday. "All content goes online first, and print has been cherry-picking for some time what it wants for the print edition," he said.
Circulation at PC Magazine had been declining since the late 1990s, when it hit a peak of 1.2 million. This year, the magazine's rate base was 600,000.
Young said that while the print magazine would be profitable in 2008, he had forecast that it would lose money in 2009. The final print edition will be the January issue.
Seven production, circulation, and advertising employees will be cut as a result of the move, out of a total of about 140 who work on PC Magazine and PCMag.com. Young said the company was considering making its other print magazine, the video-game publication Electronic Gaming Monthly, into an online-only format, but would not decide before the end of the year.
Other publishers have also moved publications online-only.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists recently announced it would go online-only beginning in January. "We're trying to deal with the cost pressures," said Jonas Siegel, the Bulletin's editor.
The Boston-based Christian Science Monitor said in October that it would cease printing its paper weekday edition and appear online only; also in October, Hearst Corp. closed CosmoGirl but kept its website.