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Update – Lights out on the weeklies

No Time magazine. No People, Sports Illustrated, In-touch, Life & Style, Star Magazine or  National Enquirer among many others. The battle between Time Inc., Bauer Publications, American Media VS Anderson News and Source Interlink Cos has started. The 7 cents surchage per issue requested by the distributors has deprived the clients of about 4,000 Wal Mart in the USA to be deprived of their usual choice. Us Weekly, owned by Wenner Media, and OK!, owned by Northern + Shell, apparently, have accepted the hike and will be distributed. A key player in this battle of will is Wal-Mart itself, the biggest magazine retailer in the US of A, who has taken side with the distributors who, combined, represent 50% of the US magazine distribution. A magazine like People, who sells 1,4 million copies on the newsstand every week could lose 700,000 circulation in one week.

All this is happening at a time when most of these magazines have some of their highest circulation thanks to the awards season in Hollywood ( Academy Awards are Feb 22)

Time Warner ( Time, Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illustrated, Business Week, Fortune) has just reported losses in the billions of dollars while American Media ( National Enquirer, Star) has once again dodge a bankruptcy by renegotiating its multi-million debt.  It is obvious that there will be a resolution in the very near future since neither sides can afford to lose revenue in an already very depressed economy. As it seems that these publishers are not willing to pass the additional cost to advertisers or buyers, it would seem logical that once an agreement is obtained, it is the suppliers that will pay for the surchage. That means staff, writers and the photo suppliers.

It also seems that this will accelerate the publishers’ move to digital in order to remain independent from greedy distributors. However, image pricing on website is already at a ridiculous low and not much of a refuge for those of us who depend on photo licensing for a living.

More at the New York Post.

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