Stroke mags becoming obsolete:
- After 35 years in the business of titillating and offending, pornographer Al Goldstein says his magazine can’t compete anymore. The audience is just as large, he says, but the Internet has transformed the product and its delivery.
Just over a month ago, Goldstein stopped publishing Screw magazine and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, giving him a chance to cut costs, relaunch the magazine and refocus attention on his Web site.
Similar pressures are seen throughout the adult publishing field. Bob Guccione’s General Media Inc., for instance, has also filed for Chapter 11 protection, although the company’s trademark Penthouse magazine continues publishing while the company restructures.
On Friday, Guccione resigned as CEO of General Media’s parent company, Penthouse International. He remained at the helm of the magazine, which has seen circulation decline from nearly 1 million to 565,700 over the past five years.
….Founded in 1968, Screw was successful in its early years. Its mix of scatological editorials, pornographic pictures and tongue-and-cheek articles sold as many as 140,000 copies a week. By last year, sales had dipped to around 30,000.
….”That’s one magazine category that really can’t compete with the Internet and television,” Husni said. “Sex has become so much a mainstream entity.”
Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who says his company has succeeded in the new marketplace, agrees that magazines are a dying breed.
“This past decade has been very, very bad for men’s magazines and it could become worse,” he said by phone from his office in Los Angeles. “I’m not going to say it’s going to become extinct because some people will always want to feel that magazine in their hands, but it’s never going to have the impact it once had.”
Flynt said his company began to diversify over a decade ago, and now has a presence on the Internet and in the adult movie industry.
….Despite all this, Goldstein is optimistic he can stage a comeback. Along with a new Internet focus, Goldstein has rented a smaller office, recruited a smaller freelance staff and enlisted a new distributor.
He hopes to have a new issue of Screw on the newsstands soon. “It’s going to be dirtier and filthier than ever,” he said. [AP]
I would expect no less.
It would seem the crux of the matter is “movement”: magazine pictures don’t DO anything, they just sit there. The Internet and video seem a step closer to “reality” than the two dimensions of paper. Wait until they have holograms visiting right in the bathroom.