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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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Old 03-20-2019, 07:28 PM
walter walter is offline
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Default FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

http://bigdeerblog.com/?p=5993

A surprise and not a surprise.

"Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine Files For Bankruptcy

Posted on March 20, 2019

I am, or was, a print writer at heart, having majored in English in college many years ago, and then having written thousands of articles for magazines along with 6 books over the past 30 years.

This is a sad day for me, as yet another hunting magazine goes down.

F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines, is liquidating. The New York-based publishing house, which has been in business for 100 years, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy papers on March 10.

According to the filing, the company has seen magazine subscriptions drop from 33.4 million in 2015 to 21.5 million in 2018. Advertising revenues decreased from $20.7 million in 2015 to $13.7 million.

The company?s CEO summed it up: ?Over the past decade, the market for subscription print periodicals of all kinds, including those published by the company, has been in decline as an increasing amount of content has become available electronically at little or no cost to readers.?

Yes, and all of us in the outdoor media, from small bloggers like me to the largest publishing houses still in business, are still, after many uncertain years, trying to figure it out. There is so much free content out there, and so much more written and video content coming online every minute of every day.

How to compete? How to stay relevant? How to scratch by and make a living? A profit?

F+W Media hopes to sell off its magazine and book divisions, or else Deer and Deer Hunting and the company?s other print/digital titles will cease to exist.

Investing in print media is risky (understatement of the year) but my hope is that one of the few large outdoor-lifestyle publishers left?say the publishers of Field & Stream and Outdoor Life?would take a chance on a strong ?vertical? brand like Deer and Deer Hunting and add it to their lineup. This one deer magazine is all any outdoor publisher would want.

Deer hunting and whitetail in particular dominate and drive the entire hunting industry. If not for deer and those of us that hunt them, there would be no hunting media of any kind.

Surely there is a way for a print publisher to figure it out, and peddle enough advertising targeted to America?s 10 million deer hunters to keep 6 issues of Deer and Deer Hunting on the shelves, and a digital version on our devices 24/7/365.

Wishful thinking."
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Old 03-21-2019, 03:39 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

The outdoor mags have been declining for years. Way back the publications had a monthly issue. Then they begin "combined" issues dropping January and July down to 10 issues. But the fees for a sub remained the same. I just had an editor with one of the "big Three" tell me they are going to four times a year and he said Outdoor Life was doing the same. Last I heard Sports Afield was six per annum. You are never going to be told the truth for why because no one wants to take the blame. Personally I have been trying to do business with some of those guys for 50 years and have thought for some time that it is a closed club, that you have to drink with those guys.

There are a lot of mistakes in content choice. Ever notice how little coverage striped bass get in the big three? Why? I have no idea. Then there are the stupid things: A guy uses a gun to protect himself and the publication throws him out because he is socially damaged goods. Because they are a fishing magazine, the Second Amendment, and remember many fishermen use firearms in hunting, gets no consideration. Doesn't anyone see in a fishing magazine that a large number of fishermen are also hunters? Dah. In some cases editors in big publications are googans. Its complicated as to why these apple pie/mom and pop publications are failing. Walters post is most appropriate. We need more Walters.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:47 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

No doubt the decline in hunting magazines come from the overall decline in hunting as well as other recreational firearms use. All these terror events with firearms have made firearms ownership uncool. People see you with a gun in autumn and they call the police.

Hunting is a PIA what with all the overregulation that has been growing for years. Permits, tags, stamps, zone lines -- hunt here but not there; varying shooting hours, selling the animals one species at a time. You need an attorney to read the game laws. Certainly if people don't hunt they are not likely to subscribe to a magazine; hence the "Deer and Deer Hunting" publication closes down. The trend in reduced hunting license sales has been incrementally going down for roughly 15 years. My wife and I see it in the woods what with less and less people hunting.

Only a matter of time before the same influences manifest themselves in fishing. The same people who imposed overregulation in hunting are managing fishing. It would follow that their solutions would be the same (10 inch scup).
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Old 03-23-2019, 12:37 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

Its probably a mistake to oversimplify reasons to explain the demise of outdoor publications. The Internet is being blamed for a lot of changes occurring in our culture. Safe answer, other than the decline of hunting license sales which are a true barometer, is that with less hunters there would be less hunting reading. Change is a big part of cultural evolution.

It would be interesting, perhaps even telling, what our members think of outdoor magazine decline.
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:55 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

The decline in hunting license sales cited above is the most significant reason but there are many secondary reasons. Time was when a years subscription meant 12 issues. Now they have all these dropped months and so-called "double issues" which don't double anything. We have all been taught that a monthly publication should come out 12 times, not six times or four times

In some cases there is also poor editing. Presently I have two good editors but years past I have had some true ding-dongs. Remember that the editor is the reader's agent and an editor who does not know his job and fails to provide the reader with suitable material or who does not know subject matter covered in the publication can effect readership. It is not easy to be ahead of some readers because some readers know more than the writers and if they know more than the editor than there is a problem. The editor should never be the publisher's son-in-law.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:59 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

There is a decline in hunting and fishing interest and I blame over-regulation. Too many woods cops with too much petty enforcement. Sportsmen go out to relax and enjoy nature. It is worse with hunting than fishing but they are still selling you the animals, fish or game, one species at a time. Presently my wife and I are getting ready to turkey hunt and we need a CPA to track our paper work. It follows that magazines serving them would decline commensurate with declining interest. Then there is loss of Pittman-Robinson funds returned to the states.
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

ALSO, a lot of the readership has drifted to the internet so "print publications" are dropping in demand faster than the panties at your local "rub and tug". Combine that with a general unwillingness to do anything outside of a strict business model that they feel is "fragile but working" (just barely) so the readers get a lot of the "same old-same old" but keep buying the product.
When I took over the "Conservation Corner" for The New England Fisherman Magazine" I was told not to rant but rather just stick to the facts of the meetings and processes. Those meetings and processes are both boring and absurd and the only way I was really able to communicate that to the readers (and myself) was to rant about it for a few years and they gave me the leeway.
On the other hand, The Bonnier Corp. owns a string of popular magazines (Saltwater Sportsman, Sport Fishing, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, etc) and they do not want ANY (dry/factual or emotional/rant) conservation related articles from me as they have "people that do that" and I'm told those people do not say anything that is "too controversial". I get the feeling they are trying to keep the commercial fishing industry happy in many ways and some of the things I write are quite damning (So lets play it safe even though we know Jason is right!)....JC
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:42 AM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: FYI F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines,

Great set of points, Jason. Many of these publications have two protocols: the one they profess and the secret one shared within the confines of the inner organization. I began writing in 1969 when the only contributors were WASPS. Eventually that faded to accepting contributions from Italians like Al Ristori and Frenchmen like Mister Smarty. But many of the secret policies remain and much of what goes in these magazines is practiced within the inner sactum of the publication. What gets my wrasse is this most recent defining of a year: Just this week I was offered a year's subscription of "New England Game and Fish" for a year, all nine issues. When the phuck did a year become nine months?
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