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Despite a recent New York Times
report that Primedia will have to start selling off divisions to pay
down its debt load, and despite a recent trade magazine news item
citing that report and implying magazines in Primedia’s active sports
group might be affected, the publishers at both Canoe & Kayak and Climbing magazines have told SNEWSÂ® they are having their best year ever.
“We sold more magazines, ad pages, and ancillary products this year
than in the past 32 years of business,” Duane Raleigh, publisher of Climbing said.
Adds Glen Bernard, publisher of Canoe & Kayak,
“I can tell you that Canoe & Kayak is forecasted to have our very
best year ever, which comes on the heels of many successive record
“In fact, even our 4Q
numbers are strong due to record ad sales for the December issue which
includes our buyer’s guide. I think ad sales are so good there because
it’s a kind of ‘trasumer issue’ — part trade, part consumer,” adds
While it is true that Primedia is having difficulty, largely due to
their heavy investment in Dot Com properties, including the now defunct
Brill Media (Brill’s Content and Inside.com), print magazines are going
strong and that is the meat of Primedia’s revenue stream.
“Primedia recognizes that we are revenue producers for them. They are
investors and believe we (Climbing, Canoe & Kayak, etc.) are good
businesses,” says Raleigh.
“Climbing magazine is most definitely not for sale!”
Neither is Canoe & Kayak.
Yes, the few mainstream magazines in Primedia’s 280 title line-up —
Seventeen, New York, etc. — are singing the ad revenue blues along
with the likes of AOL Time Warner and VNU, but that’s because they all
rely on what is known as non-endemic advertising (liquor ads, auto ads,
pharmaceuticals, sports drinks, etc.). Small, vertical titles, such as
Primedia’s Canoe & Kayak, Climbing, Fly Fisherman, Powder, and Bike
are more insulated because the majority of their ad revenue — as much
as 85 to 90 percent in many cases — is endemic, meaning businesses
unique to the market each magazine covers. As long as paddlesport or
climbing businesses remain healthy, they’ll advertise as a means to
introduce and sell product to a very targeted consumer. As for what
Primedia might be selling off, it has been reported that the company is
seeking to sell up to seven magazines that are not performing,
including Guns & Ammo and Bacon. It is also looking to divest
itself of its challenged Internet-based portfolio.