Report from the 2009 De Silva + Phillips Dealmakers Summit: Debating the future shape of US media

Geoffrey Precourt
WARC Online

The American magazine business is in chaos, to the point of near collapse, according to the head of one of the country's iconic magazine titles.

"Cosmo Girl. O At Home. Domino. Country Home. They're all gone," Scott Crystal, TV Guide chairman/ceo, the 7th-annual DeSilva + Phillips Dealmakers Summit in New York.

"And the list seems to be growing. No one had any idea that any of them was in trouble. Cosmo Girl's circulation of 1.4 million was only off 4 percent.

"It doesn't seem to make any sense," Crystal said, "until we look behind the curtain."

In each case, he said, the killer was a flawed strategy that relied too much on advertising revenues and too little on circulation dollars. And the uncertainty of advertising - in newspapers, television and digital media - was a common theme throughout the day-long Dealmaker gathering.