Something evil this way comes

We live in interesting times. Both Future and Emap have experienced considerable drops in their share prices (ouch!) which means that the betting types in the City have smelt something off. Then Press Gazette runs stories about Future cutting back (rationalising) and Emap blaming men and motors (the monthly mags, anyway) for their bad results. Forthcoming ABC figures are being hedged around already.

The bigger question is, what does all this mean? And one likely answer is that distribution channels are going to get squeezed even further. Which in turn will mean that advertising money goes elsewhere.

Where? Weeklies and online, I would guess.

In one sense magazine publishers like Emap are in the same position as newspaper owners, trying to figure out how to make sense of this new topography. Some things are right (the weeklies, for as long as the market can hold out) but others are so wrong they don't even exist (eg Grazia's online manifestation). Could it be that the much-vaunted community effect has been squandered in the race for high returns on investment (like the newspaper industry; offer Ford the kinds of return which Trinity Mirror is making and they'd bite your arm off).

Then again, Trinity Mirror has just sold off its magazine division (compare and contrast with News International) to a management buyout.

A revised version of this posting with proper links when I'm on something other than my trusty but rusty clamshell i-book.