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Motorsport Network to close Autosport weekly magazine publication


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#51 Fastcake

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 16:03

I was never a regular Autosport subscriber, but I would go through phases of getting the magazine or picking up the odd copy in a newsagent from time to time. It was the paper of record for the motorsport world, and that carried through to the website in its early days. I would read the website religiously, and it was much better than the other early online sources of news. That was quite some time ago however. It’s sad to see it go, but perhaps no real surprise.

Unfortunately it’s the inevitable fate for most magazines. Maybe some have the right audience or content to keep in print, but for your bog standard weekly news periodical, the internet effectively killed them off at the turn of the century. All we’re seeing now is the slow drip of death as each publication stops being viable.

Edited by Fastcake, 07 October 2019 - 16:03.


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#52 JHSingo

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 16:08

So Autosport won't even confirm it? What a shambles...

 

We are exploring options regarding our print edition and any news will be communicated at the appropriate time.

 

https://twitter.com/...0467227653?s=20

 

I do hope if the decision is made to close the print edition (which it has probably has), it isn't as immediate as this week. It's such a respected title, and 2020 would be its 70th year I believe. I hope any final issue would recognise that and have a nice tribute, rather than just being the usual weekly thing with a half-hearted "by the way, we're closing" message. The long time readers, not to mention the writers who have contributed a great deal to it over the years, deserve more respect than that.


Edited by JHSingo, 07 October 2019 - 16:10.


#53 DinocoBlue

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 16:13

^I agree, they need to have a proper send off. Why not 7 special editons for each decade?



#54 djparky

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 16:47

Sad news... I used to buy it every week from about 1991 but stopped a few years ago as I found less to interest me. I gave up on F1 Racing as my interest in F1 declined.

#55 johnwilliamdavies

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 16:55

I preferred Motoring News, which came out on a Wednesday*, and included local sprints/hillclimbs and rallies, as well as the Formula 1 news. 

 

*I'd pick it up along the with NME, which also doesn't exist anymore. 



#56 MartLgn

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 17:06

It is sad to see such a title vanish from the newstands but as many have said the current offering is not to put too fine a point on it..crap.

 

I had it on order from the newsagent (remember that?) from 1987-2008 but it had been on the slide since the 90's, GP reports became photo essays with captions, national news was increasingly reduced and club events? what are they? To be fair with everything now available online a tipping point was bound to be reached where the cover price could not be justified for the content within.



#57 Rob29

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 17:11

Just found this thread-think have had almost every issue of Autosport mag since 1955 Sadly have been noting recently that there is nothing in it I have not already seen on TV or online :cry:



#58 loki

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 17:38

The Indy Star was the daily newspaper which you had to subscribe to by phone. They actually had a huge circulation of mail order only during that month. It generally came in batches of 3-4 issues at a time. Wish I had kept them, they had a great group of writers back then. Now it's a generic USA Today/Gannet rag. My newsstand was in Temple City.

I’m hep to the Star.  That’s why I called it the Scar  ;) Hated it since Tony George had them fire Miller and they replaced him with Cavin.  The newsstands had papers from all over.  Many Sunday only but big city papers were flown in daily.  The Star was from a market not big enough to carry normally and having good local coverage of the 500 didn’t help them make the cut.  During May the Star was a good source.  These days not so much.



#59 loki

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 17:41

^I agree, they need to have a proper send off. Why not 7 special editons for each decade?

If they are losing money in print now more final editions will only make them lose more.



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#60 JHSingo

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 18:19

If they are losing money in print now more final editions will only make them lose more.

 

Graham Goodwin, from Daily Sportscar, has been tweeting about this. He claims that Autosport made money last year, and in response to someone asking how much, replied:

 

Enough that they could afford to pay all the bills, including the wages, and have some left over! The issue here is not profitability - it's about establishing a different brand - and they don't want competition in the marketplace for that - even from within their own group.

https://twitter.com/...003623750221824

 

It's just his word, of course, but I'd say he's probably quite well informed what the situation is.



#61 FirstnameLastname

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 18:26

It's sad, but let's face it, when I was a kid, I collected autosport and gaming magazines religiously, but now that I think about it, I haven't bought a single newspaper in the last ~15 years.


I’m the same. At one point I had every copy of F1 Racing magazine, but the internet really has made monthly magazines obsolete unless the articles are phenomenal... and they usually aren’t. My collection got skipped a long time back, I realised that I just really had no interest in going back to read old articles from 1998... and nobody will ever make money trying to sell old f1 magazines.

With autosport, I wonder how much of the traffic to this website was driven by the magazine itself. Could be the start of a slippery slope.

Not bought any magazine/paper in well over a decade... print media will die out with the ‘oldies’. A shame, but it’s just an evolution, for better or for worse.

#62 cpbell

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 18:37

I grew up in a post-magazine world. I wish I could understand the significance. Terribly sad, by all accounts.

I think this is the problem; I'm part of the final generation for whom specialist print magazines like AUTOSPORT was the only way of finding out the sort of detail that TV reports or the national press didn't bother with.  Roebuck's style of race reports will remain for me the sine qua non of understanding the structure of a Grand Prix - Hughes came close, but none of the subsequent AUTOSPORT F1 writers has got near to their ability to explain the underlying forces behind how a race developed while at the same time producing prose that was enjoyable in and of itself.  Though I've sometimes bought a print copy of recent years, I've found myself reading everything of interest within around a couple of hours net, where a copy in the '90s seemed to have interesting content even when covering forms of motorsport in which I was less knowledgeable.  Piola's illustrations of F1 cars, based on a few photos from Fiorano or Silverstone were my personal highight; I can recall clearly a two-page drawing of the '94 Ferrari 412T and its impact on me, as it was the first idea we had as to what Ferrari had produced that year as they attempted to iprove from their nadir of the previous couple of seasons.



#63 Fastcake

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 20:15

Being a very well known news site and having a paywall is one thing (although given The Guardian's financial struggles, and how many times they've had to rebrand themselves to stay in business, I'm not sure they're the best case to cite!), but being a site dedicated to what is a niche interest - when there's countless rival sites catering for the exact same thing - is something else.

I've made my feelings about Autosport/Motorsport's paywalls well-known already, but I think you're as likely to drive people away as you are to get them to sign up. Particularly when you consider that following motorsport/F1 is already expensive enough as it is, given the fees you have to pay for Sky/F1 TV, tickets for any races you want to attend, and so forth. Not many people have a lot of dispensable income to use on following their favourite sport.

We've talked often enough on these forums how damaging it is to any sport, and F1 particularly given its well known declining audience, to be behind a paywall. I therefore can't see any way it would benefit Autosport to be behind a paywall either.


The question though is how do you run a viable online site without a paywall?

Online advertising rates have cratered, and they were never high to begin with. Google Adsense brings in a pittance, direct adverts make a bit more, but trying to boost revenue can force users away and lead them to blocking ads and driving the revenue down even further. You could run things like sponsored content, but that’s ethically dubious to say the least. You could run a membership scheme that provides benefits apart from access to content, but you obviously need something to offer. You could similarly have a supporters scheme designed more as a donation, like the Guardian or a lot of smaller sites, but are people going to donate to keep something like Autosport going? I think you either need to be small and have an obvious selling point, or like The Graun have a hook (support news from liberal minded people against right-wing foreign domiciled billionaires) that gets people to donate. (Incidentally the guardian has been surprisingly successful and is becoming a profitable online enterprise)

Who knows what the right model for a motorsport site is. If you want a service that covers multiple series from across the world, with reporters who are actually there, together with the usual features and opinion pieces, at least some of us are going to have to pay.

#64 Sterzo

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 20:57

Inevitable perhaps, but still very sad. I have bought every issue from 1st January 1966, plus back numbers including a bound volume of the first editions from 1950. As well as the difficulty of making a profit, they've sort of lost their way, being unsure what to put in a Grand Prix report to be read days after information has been made available elsewhere. Their answer has been to use some very good reporters to write lightweight gossipy summaries, whereas they could have aimed for depth of coverage and maybe that would have been more successful.

 

The real blow is the loss of club and junior formula racing coverage. Some have said there's none in Autosport, but my copy has it, so I don't know how others fail to get it. Up to now I haven't found an online source of good quality race reports for the various F3 series, for example.



#65 jonpollak

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 21:05

So who are the ‘new’ owners then ?
Jp

#66 MikeV1987

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 21:07

Too bad for the people losing their jobs but this was bound to happen sooner or later. Who buys magazines anymore?

#67 jonpollak

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 21:16

My bloody wife that’s who.

She has stacks of Vogue and the Tattler and all that bullschitt piled high to the roof....

One of these days I’m having a bonfire for the ages.

Jp

#68 danmills

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 21:34

Joe Saward is using the ‘opportunity’ to remind folk that his magazine-but-online is available for subscription, and claims it to be of a higher standard.

Never actually read it, but an option perhaps.


I refuse to read anything that man says after his tantrum over fans getting prime seats at the mclaren launch for once. Really showed his superiority complex.

The same fans that would ultimately be the sort that subscribe to his stuff effectively financing the lifestyle he moans he's worked so hard for.

No mate, you need the fans. Articles don't read themselves. Dont bite the hand that feeds you.

Rant over.

As for autosport, not surprised. When you can read most news stories at breaking speed on social media for free, why would the masses buy it in print? The content is still good, just like old corded phones still work.

It's just there are better, cheaper, easier ways now to do the same job.

I laughed when I saw F1 racing being sold the other week for something like 7.99. Everything in there was old news just with a posh fancy matt paper.

#69 rmhorton

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 21:47

"As for autosport, not surprised. When you can read most news stories at breaking speed on social media for free, why would the masses buy it in print? The content is still good, just like old corded phones still work"

 

The only thing to bear in mind is that you might be reading it for free but a cost was involved in producing it..



#70 milestone 11

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 21:52

I think this is the problem; I'm part of the final generation for whom specialist print magazines like AUTOSPORT was the only way of finding out the sort of detail that TV reports or the national press didn't bother with.  Roebuck's style of race reports will remain for me the sine qua non of understanding the structure of a Grand Prix - Hughes came close, but none of the subsequent AUTOSPORT F1 writers has got near to their ability to explain the underlying forces behind how a race developed while at the same time producing prose that was enjoyable in and of itself.  Though I've sometimes bought a print copy of recent years, I've found myself reading everything of interest within around a couple of hours net, where a copy in the '90s seemed to have interesting content even when covering forms of motorsport in which I was less knowledgeable.  Piola's illustrations of F1 cars, based on a few photos from Fiorano or Silverstone were my personal highight; I can recall clearly a two-page drawing of the '94 Ferrari 412T and its impact on me, as it was the first idea we had as to what Ferrari had produced that year as they attempted to iprove from their nadir of the previous couple of seasons.

Within the flurry of Twitter posting last night, there were a number of employees confirming that Autosport made money last year.

Like many here, I've had the magazine weekly from the middle '60's and my father had it before me. Now sadly, since 2016, I was finally beaten into submission and only get the digital version, I remember Tuboscocca and me in lighter moments laughing at the fact that on occasion our printed copy could be anything up to ten weeks in the post. At least the frustration has gone.

Certainly yesterday, the consensus was that the printed Autosport would be no more. There was a tweet from an employee stating that but was subsequently removed. Now though, as of late this afternoon, there is a suggestion of otherwise.

Autosport statement,

Tweets-with-replies-by-Autosport-autospo


Edited by milestone 11, 07 October 2019 - 21:54.


#71 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 22:02

That statement is not very supportive of print. 


Edited by Ross Stonefeld, 07 October 2019 - 22:03.


#72 milestone 11

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 22:11

Yesterday it was definitely gone, now they're exploring options.



#73 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 00:01

That's the difference between an unofficial/unapproved tweet from a specific insider and the 'company line' in a press release. 



#74 loki

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 03:47

So who are the ‘new’ owners then ?
Jp

Same guys that bought it a few years back,  Motorsport Network.  Damn yanks...  



#75 SB

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 05:52

Sad news but not totally surprised.

 

At least the magazine is more long lasting then the two local bookstore chains which imported the magazine to my city. I've not seen a printed copy of Autosport for 2-3 years already.



#76 Fiorentina 1

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 06:11

I'll buy the Sochi issue today and hope the Suzuka issue actually gets printed. In the October issue of F1 racing there are a dozen (at least) ads for the autosport plus service which includes the digital issue. But if its digital, why does it come out on Thursday? Auto Hebdo from France, and Auto Sprint from Italy have digital issues that come out on Monday.... I buy the Autosprint iPad edition every Monday at 3 pm for 1 quid. If Autosport goes digital only, why come out on Thursdays? Come on..... 


Edited by Fiorentina 1, 08 October 2019 - 06:11.


#77 rockdude101

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:50

I think part of the problem is that Autosport is a weekly publication when monthly might be a better avenue. Without a subscription Autosport is going for about £4 a week. They could charge upto £5/6 which would be inline with similar monthly magazines. Then again most motoring magazines are monthly anyway these days. 

 

The era of the magazine is slowly coming to an end.



#78 balage06

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 08:50

The real blow is the loss of club and junior formula racing coverage. Some have said there's none in Autosport, but my copy has it, so I don't know how others fail to get it. Up to now I haven't found an online source of good quality race reports for the various F3 series, for example.

 

http://www.formulascout.com/ is a good source of information in that regard.



#79 PayasYouRace

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 10:32

I used to buy Autosport every week while I was at university. It was my Thursday ritual.

Since then I stopped buying it regularly. I started subscribing online and I get all my news, features and analysis long before the print versions hits the shelves. I prefer not to end up with stacks of old magazines cluttering up the house too and it’s just better for the environment to not buy print. With my iPad I don’t even need magazines for when I’m on the go, or in the loo.

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#80 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 11:11

Same guys that bought it a few years back,  Motorsport Network.  Damn yanks...  

 

It's Russian/Eastern European with a mix of Canadian and etc. It's not really 'An American Company' 



#81 Widefoot2

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 12:51

It's Russian/Eastern European with a mix of Canadian and etc. It's not really 'An American Company' 

That was my belief, but all I've found for ownership of MN is the name Mike Zoi, who was born in Florida.  Do you have references for true (or extended) owners?



#82 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 12:55

Follow the money as they say



#83 WilliamsF1Fan

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 12:56

I used to buy Autosport every week while I was at university. It was my Thursday ritual.

Since then I stopped buying it regularly. I started subscribing online and I get all my news, features and analysis long before the print versions hits the shelves. I prefer not to end up with stacks of old magazines cluttering up the house too and it’s just better for the environment to not buy print. With my iPad I don’t even need magazines for when I’m on the go, or in the loo.

 

I find mobile phones better for updates when in the loo  :p



#84 Marklar

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 13:22

:/

We have signed an agreement to sell F1 Racing Magazine to Lifestyle Media, which will post-closing continue primarily as a print-only publication. The deal, completion of which is conditional upon legal requirements, including obtaining a third-party consent, is expected to complete around the end of October 2019. The demands of modern consumption mean that we need to adapt our distribution methods in order to deliver our products effectively. As a result, the sale price for the print version of Autosport magazine will increase to £10.99 per issue as of this week. We are exploring options regarding our other print only title Motorsport News and will communicate any updates in due course.

https://www.motorspo...ch/4554768/amp/

Edited by Marklar, 08 October 2019 - 13:22.


#85 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 13:24

So what's the logic/scam behind ratcheting up the price of Autosport? Are you not allowed to close it on a whim and have to show a loss(since it's still made in the UK?). They'll sell some copies at 10.99 but presumably not enough(we're about to see a fascinating example of price elasticity) so why keep going if it's going to lose money and absolutely scream **** YOU at anyone who wants to buy it?



#86 ensign14

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 13:26

Gregor Grant's ethos was that Autosport ought to cost the same as a pint of beer.

 

I suppose he didn't mean Bullock's Old Scrumptious made from Eritrean hops brewed by nuns a craft brewery in Hoxton.



#87 Imateria

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 13:37

Gregor Grant's ethos was that Autosport ought to cost the same as a pint of beer.

 

I suppose he didn't mean Bullock's Old Scrumptious made from Eritrean hops brewed by nuns a craft brewery in Hoxton.

Given how much a pint can cost these days they're defintiely in the same ball park.



#88 potmotr

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 13:41

£10.99 an issue! Well that's one way to euthanise a much loved magazine I guess...



#89 F127

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 14:04

How sad that it is true, charging that price just to kill off a magazine that still has a circulation of 15,000 for asset stripping purposes. Not to mention the job losses from the acquisition etc, people at the top must be so proud. :clap: :clap: :clap:

 

Looks like I will have to cancel my subscription, I'm going to assume I will get a letter with my Thursday delivery giving me some actual information, does that count as due course?

Pretty sure my contract is for a print magazine so if they try and roll it into the digital subscription I will just cancel the debit and they can spin on it if they think they are ever getting another penny. 

 

But I guess that is what they want anyway! :(

 

Congratulations!



#90 Peat

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 14:07

Jeeez. Cynical or what. Just kill it, which news agent in thier right mind would stock that?



#91 JHSingo

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 14:28

Gregor Grant's ethos was that Autosport ought to cost the same as a pint of beer.

 

I suppose he didn't mean Bullock's Old Scrumptious made from Eritrean hops brewed by nuns a craft brewery in Hoxton.

 

£10.99 is the price of a pint...in London. :p

 

Anyway, this looks nothing short of diabolic. No matter how much PR spin they desperately try to put on it, it's a load of nonsense. A big revamp of the magazine would be cause for a price increase, but even then £10.99 would be taking the mickey. That price when it will still be exactly the same magazine as a week ago is just shameless. What a bunch of muppets.



#92 pacificquay

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 14:31

It's clearly a strategy to kill the print version.

 

But given they'll still be producing content for digital and that's where most people consume it, I'm not sure it's really worth getting exorcised about.



#93 milestone 11

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 14:46

I've ony in the last couple of months paid my annual subscription, €135, for the digital magagazine and Autosport+. It will be interesting indeed to see what happens to that in coming weeks.



#94 statman

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 15:01

isn't Motorsport the same entity that bought Motors TV and killed off the TV channel?



#95 Myrvold

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 15:45

isn't Motorsport the same entity that bought Motors TV and killed off the TV channel?

Yup, they are also blocking content from YouTube that they don't have (sole) rights to.



#96 ExFlagMan

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 15:57

Cover price hike from £3.99 to £10.99 - wonder how many retail outlets will continue stocking it - even on a Sale or Return basis.

 

Given that my latest 13 issue subscription (£34.99) has just been paid I wonder what the next one will be? - somehow doubt I will be paying it - or the MSN one either.


Edited by ExFlagMan, 08 October 2019 - 15:57.


#97 Fiorentina 1

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 16:19

I wonder how the advertisers feel? No one is going to buy it at that price, therefore no one will see their advert. I don't know who's the idiot in charge who thought this was a good idea.... Probably a graduate of the Donald Trump University.  Personally, I will read it at WH Smith and you won't get a penny, yet they spent the money printing it. Good job, smart move.... LOL 


Edited by Fiorentina 1, 08 October 2019 - 18:28.


#98 RisingFive

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 16:37

Sad. I stopped subscribing at the start of 2018 when the Halo came in after 25 years.

Was just getting my enthusiasm back for F1 and thinking of renewing my subscription.

I find that even though there is a lot of 'digital content' out there I know far less about the sport when I'm not getting a magazine each week.

#99 cpbell

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 17:15

So what's the logic/scam behind ratcheting up the price of Autosport? Are you not allowed to close it on a whim and have to show a loss(since it's still made in the UK?). They'll sell some copies at 10.99 but presumably not enough(we're about to see a fascinating example of price elasticity) so why keep going if it's going to lose money and absolutely scream **** YOU at anyone who wants to buy it?

I buy a monthly magazine on a subject most Americans are unaware of - cricket.  It's called The Cricketer, has been published since the 1920s and costs not much more for a monthly which contains many hours of interest than AUTOSPORT does as a weekly.  This increase is ridiculous, and, as you say, is a solution to 'prove' that there isn't a large enough audience for the print version.



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#100 TomNokoe

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 17:19

I really don't understand the motivation behind the price rise. It looks like only one thing - some hamfisted deliberate sabotage to underinflate sales and eventually close the magazine. But this idea is so remarkably scandalous and mismanaged that it cannot be true.

There surely has to have been a more elegant way to do this. Perhaps announcing that weekly editions will cease after 2019, switching to monthly for 2020 only, with a view to closing the magazine at the end of the year. I think someone posited this idea earlier in the thread. No doubt they likely would've made some money from collectors and fans alike wanting a piece of history.

Edited by TomNokoe, 08 October 2019 - 17:21.