Charles Basenga Kiyanda

A sad start of the new year (for some)

I just got an e-mail in my inbox from the folks at jpgmag announcing the unfortunate demise of the magazine on January 5th. A sad start of the new year, unfortunately. I’m especially sad because, now, three of the sites I liked and touted as great examples of the new way the internet is influencing the real world. Jpgmag was the earliest of the three and most successful. A spin-off of jpgmag was everywheremag, also developed by 8020 publishing (although I think they’re called 8020 media now). Pixish was a recent offering. I’ve written about all three before and was quite excited by all of them. Unfortunately, although the everywheremag website is still up and running, the magazine hasn’t been published since issue 4. Pixish also closed it’s doors in late october 2008 and the successful jpgmag is now defunct as well. The question I have now is why? Jpgmag sold for 6$ per issue (25$ per year) and it was successfully selling advertising although I don’t know at what price, obviously. Still, it was able to raise advertising money, which implies that they sold paper copies. What would have been the “correct” price point for jpgmag to be able to make money (or at least pay its staff and production costs)? By comparison, Lenswork, another photography publication, charged 10$ per copy and sold no advertising before they decided to sell only through a subscription model and no longer at newsstands. To be fair, the company publishing Lenswork also sells other products, which might mean that some of that money supports the periodical publication, I don’t konw.

In any case, had jpgmag sold for 10$ or 12$ a copy, would they have survived? I dwell on the issue of price here since that’s the reason given by the staff for the demise of the site. They tried to seek funding, buyers, etc, but were unable to raise money. It would seem that jpgmag is the latest unfortunate victim of the economic crash. The publication model was interesting and, most importantly, boasted a sizable following. Photographers were interested in participating. If it was really only an issue of price then, it would be interesting to know how much money was needed to make it work. Maybe with some tweaks, this business model could work again and generate a vibrant and inspiring publication once again in the future.

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