Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Too many magazines or not enough genealogists?

This is the newstand at the W H Smith local to where I'm staying in England. The genealogy magazines are: Your Family Tree, Your Family History, Practical Family History, Family History, Family Tree, and Who Do You Think You Are? Although Practical Family History ceases publication with the December issue that still leaves five newstand genealogy magazines, including two relative newcomers, for a domestic population of 61.1 million. That's one per 12.2 million people.

In the US and Canada, with a total population of 345 million, the newstand genealogy magazines are Family Tree, Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy. One magazine closed within the past year and nothing new has come on the market. That's one magazine per 115 million people.

Why the roughly 10:1 ratio with much less choice in newstand genealogy magazines in North America than the UK? It can't all be due to better marketing, can it? Is there scope for further newstand magazines in North America. Or can we expect further contraction in the UK market.


Marian Pierre-Louis said...

This is a good question. I've been following the phenomenom in the UK closely. WDYTYA? has taken off more quickly in the UK than in the US. But it's early yet. We might see more momentum when the second season starts. Either way we've had a real decline in the popularity of genealogy magazines here in the US. Perhaps it's not an indication of the readership but of the advertisers. US gen publications have a fleeting number of advertisements each issue. Maybe the advertisers are seeking alternatives in other media. Without the advertisers the magazines can't survive even with subscribers.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Working off of Marian's great comments - here in the US, I think more and more users are turning to online magazines, e-readers and the like for information they would get from magazines.

Is there room for more genealogy and family history magazines in the US/Canada market? I think so. But I predict they won't appear in the conventional print and paper mode but online.

Chris Paton said...

I'm not so sure there has been a contraction in the market in the UK. The long running titles Practical Family History and Ancestors have both ceased publication in the last year, that is true, but Your Family History has just started up recently, and the new online titles Discover my Past England (a year old) and Discover my Past Scotland (2 years old) from Brightsolid are both going strong. The number of titles does not necessarily correlate to active subscribers - in fact, I suspect that once one magazine goes down others will see an increase in numbers turning to their product.

Also, as Thomas announced a few days ago, the parent company of WDYTYA magazine, BBC Magazines Bristol, has in fact just taken a majority share of the Live venture at Olympia next Feb, and will be managing the next event - not bad considering a few months ago BBC Magazines looked like it was getting the chop from the Beeb!