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Summary:

Centaur Media is considering a plan to close down its monthly Public Private Finance magazine and accompanying website publicprivatefinance.…

Centaur Media is considering a plan to close down its monthly Public Private Finance magazine and accompanying website publicprivatefinance.com in the coming months due to a drastic downturn in advertising and subscription revenue, paidContent:UK has learned.

The anonymous Private Fraser’s Doomed Magazines blog posted an email from a Centaur worker saying the magazine was to be closed in February and five staff made redundant. A source close to the company confirmed to me that the plan being considered would see the magazine shut down for good — and the source added that online-only is not an option, it’s either “all or nothing”. Centaur declined to comment and the magazine’s editorial director could not be reached.

PPF has a print circulation of 1,800, according to its own marketing literature. Combined print-and-online subs start at £650 per year for one user, rising to an eye-watering £2,145 for five to ten users. The website receives between 4,500 and 5,000 monthly unique users online and holds back some content for subscribers only. It’s questionable whether such titles can charge as such in the current climate – while WSJ.com and FT.com can make a success of charging for online content, their users are counted in tens of millions not single-digit thousands. And while the advertising market collapses and companies cut back on non-essentials like subscriptions, there’s only one outcome for many magazines: closure.

How long before more Centaur B2B titles are closed or cut back drastically? In a similar field, Centaur also publishes the six-times-a-year Public Sector Building, which must now have an uncertain future at best, as well as a host of building magazines and sites. The company posted a 16 percent drop in revenue in its last results covering June to November, but it said the worst of the losses were in the Legal & Financial division which publishes The Lawyer. So it looks like the malaise is spread more evenly around the company than previously thought.

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  1. Chris Gregory Friday, January 16, 2009

    "… companies cut back on non-essentials like subscriptions…" – subscriptions are neither essential or nonessential. It's the *information services, be they online or hardcopy, that are thus categorized.

    Trouble is too many of Centaur's publications are 'nice to have' rather than 'need to have'. And that's a problem not confined to Centaur…

    What's more, a lot of contemporary subscriptions marketing does a very poor job of communicating value to prospects.

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