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DOJ Halts Quad/Graphics-LSC Communications Merger

Posted on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 3:46 PM

In the news: A proposed merger between two publishing giants is under legal scrutiny.

Two major printers and distributors of magazines and books, Quad/Graphics and LSC Communications, announced a merger that was set to finalize this year. But the Justice Department has slammed the brakes on the proposed deal. Marc Tracy of NYTimes.com reports that "lawyers in the department's antitrust division argued that the merger would decrease competition and drive up prices."

This is no small merger. Quad/Graphics publishes all Condé Nast and many Hearst magazines, as well as Scholastic books, says Tracy. LSC Communications publishes, among other things, two highly circulated AARP titles and book publishing giant Penguin Random House. Tracy reports that the DOJ has two key supporters on its side: the Authors Guild and PEN America. Read more here.

Also Notable

Apple News+ Revenues Sluggish, Say Publishers

Apple News+ is off to a rocky start. According to Mikey Campbell of AppleInsider.com, publishers are complaining that they're not seeing much revenue from the service, and that the product seems "unfinished" and technical support is hard to come by. Campbell reports, "Apple is said to have estimated publishers would in their first year on News+ rake in 10 times the revenue they made from Texture." But the results are mixed, he says: Some publishers are faring worse than they did with Texture, while others aren't seeing any change at all. Read more here.

Facing Reality: Paid Subscription Growth

"We have reached a point at which paid subscription growth, for many media companies, feels unattainable," writes Dean Horowitz in a June 4 Foliomag.com piece. He discusses some of the outdated thinking that hampers paid subscription growth and offers tips on retaining and growing subscriptions. He warns publishers against escalating subscription pricing; instead, he says, "audience development today means aligning subscribers with the messaging that resonates the loudest with them." Read more here.

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