MotorTrend publisher TEN Publishing is canceling 19 automotive magazine titles at the end of this year. Folio first reported that MotorTrend Group president and General Manager Alex Wellen sent a memo to staffers on Friday announcing the decision.
I totally agree that certain magazines print status end was inevitable, (I shed a tear when euroTuner went away) but I think what happened at Motor Trend Group (most people know them as TEN) was extremely pre-mature. Yes, many of us receive content electronically, mostly through social media, but there is still a demand for print. If you look at the actual numbers, for Superstreet, 40% of the people just want electronic content, but 60% still want magazines. SIXTY PERCENT! I believe what happened at Motor Trend Group was more about mismanagement, than the excuse of going with the current technological trends.
Yes, many millennials avoid paper as much as possible, and would rather receive their content on their hand-held. But, I would argue that these same millennials are not the magazines demographics. A very limited amount can drive a manual *, and even fewer modify their vehicle, let alone take their pride and joy to a weekend car show. There are many of us who still enjoy the feel of a magazine, and would rather receive that type of content in print.
There is something to be said about advertisements that are in print. Unlike electronic content, more senses are involved with a print add, and therefore a greater bond is established with the consumer. You could say an emotional bond. I still remember cutting out a picture of the Hamman wide body kit and Privat Wheels, I wanted for my e46 BMW then keeping them in my wallet. They were reminders of what I was saving for, and motivated me to save for the products. I don’t think people do that now with electronic ads.
I believe the Motor Trend Group used a business model which works for TV air time, and tried to apply it to their recently acquired magazines. An obvious mistake, but one executives will be hard pressed to admit. There is still room for both print and electronic media and hopefully the management at Motor Trend Group will realize this in 2020, and bring back some of the print titles. If not, Performance Auto & Sound Magazine will continue to rise, then make the electronic ONLY transition when the time is appropriate.
In closing, I wish to know what will replace the honor/prestige of having your vehicle on the cover of a magazine? I don’t think an online feature, or a pic of your vehicle on FaceBook Group Page cover will ever measure up. So, what do you think could replicate the honor of a national automotive magazine cover
* U.S. News & World Report says only 18% of Americans can drive a manual transmission and only 5% of cars sold in the U.S. are equipped with a manual trans. 25% of the American population are millennials.
** Most Millennials have never:
- driven a carbureted car
- pumped the gas (pedal), or flooded the engine
- driven a car without air conditioning
- driven a car with rear-wheel drive
- made use of more than two dashboard gauges
Here is the full list of the TEN Publishing magazines that won’t be returning in 2020:
4-Wheel & Off-Road
Chevy High Performance
Hot Rod Deluxe
Muscle Car Review
Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords