House ads couldn't help save Nickelodeon's magazines

Parents of kids aged preschool to 14 were no doubt familiar with Nickelodeon's branded magazine and Nick Jr., it's monthly for preschoolers, at least from the frequent house ads that the network ran to bulk up subscriptions. The "Nickelodeon Magazine Please!" commercials were ubiquitous.

But that wasn't enough to save the magazines.

Recently, Viacom announced that Nickelodeon Magazine and its Nick Jr. publication will be canceled. The company stated that ad pages dropped by 27% in 2008. According to Media Life Magazine, subscribers will receive refunds and some staff members of Nickelodeon Magazine Group will remain temporarily to produce the last big final issue in August. All 30 employees will then lose their jobs.

Nickelodeon Magazine was first published in 1990 and priced at $1.95. The network also had a partnership deal with Pizza Hut offering free distribution of the magazine with a purchase from participating restaurants. The first iteration only involved two issues. Nickelodeon Magazine then returned in the summer of 1993.

Will the bad ad market and the lack of subscriptions take other TV-boosted print plays with it? Disney Adventures, a magazine that was issued ten times per year that contained the latest news about Disney Channel was discontinued in 2007. Instead the network chose to keep viewers informed about their projects with company ads on Disney Channel. I think self-advertising through their television channel seems like a more sustainable strategy.

With increasing evidence of print media failures, the industry has chosen to go digital. For example, Oprah lost one of her niche publications, O at Home, last November. Since then, Oprah expanded her internet presence and recently began "tweeting" via Twitter. Martha Stewart noticed a decline in subscribers in her magazine line and shifted her attention to the Martha Stewart Online University.

It begs the question, If TV branding is no longer enough to keep a publication going, then what is?
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