The Italian Almanac


Italian News - February 23

In the roller coaster ride of the Italian publishing industry, subject for years now to the whims of a considerable advertising crunch, magazines targeted at women have been having a particularly rough time. .Both fashion glossies and more general interest women's magazines get more than 50 percent of their advertising revenue from fashion houses and clothing brands. But advertising income from that sector has essentially been at a standstill for the last four years.

To make matters worse, the boom in women's magazines that put many new titles on Italian newsstands in the 1980s and 1990s ended up glutting the market, so that recent months have seen the beginnings of a cannibalization within the genre, even within publishing houses. ."The female market has grown too much," said Guido Besana, an official from FNSI, the Italian journalists' union. "So many magazines have the same target that publishers have to decide what to kill and what to save."

Magazines in general are also paying the price of changes in the publishing industry, from a shift to the Internet to the more recent trend that has seen daily newspapers introduce color. Publications must also come to grips with the anomaly of the Italian advertising market, which is largely dominated by television.

In Italy, the publicity shakedown has been offset by so-called collateral sales - the selling of gadgets, anything from clutch purses and scarves to books and DVDs, along with the paper product. This practice has transformed Italian newspaper kiosks into mini-bazaars. .The phenomenon, which first started in the women's magazine market, spread to daily newspapers and other periodicals and has softened the blow to publishing bottom lines.