Family Circle magazine, at least in the UK, is going out of print this winter. One article I read puts the point I want to focus on in its title, â€œ'Family Circle' closes as women lose taste for crochet and recipes.â€
Despite recent attempts to update the monthly title, sales had suffered because it no longer catered for the tastes of the modern woman and it was no longer relevant to modern family life, its publishers admitted.
Having failed to innovate successfully, the publishers were faced with the choice of pumping in more cash or accepting that the readership, of which 93 per cent was female with an average age of 52, was in danger of dying out. The threat from the internet and the arrival of a clutch of new magazines with added celebrity content helped to make up their minds in pulling the plug.
Interesting. Family Circle, at least on my side of the pond, really doesn't appeal to me nor, I'm fairly comfortable assuming, to most of my crafty demographic. Of course, I'm younger than the average FC reader. But I do love me some Real Simple, and I'm younger than its target demographic, too (so I perceive, not knowing anything about their target audience). Anyway. The bit I find most notable is the publisher's acknowledgment of the internet as a threat to its publication's survival in the marketplace. That, to me, does signify a failure of the mag to innovate. There are two things glossies rely on to stay afloat: advertising and circulation. It looks like FC tanked in circulation. In my opinion, as an online indie publisher, glossies and web zines can not only coexist, but can complement each other without eating away at the other's circulation. The Internet will never take away the joy of flipping through a glossy. Unless the glossy seems outdated and stale compared to the content available elsewhere, including online.
Despite her sickeningly puritanical viewpoint (I've never read her pieces before, so I don't know if it's ironic, but I don't think it is), I love what Times writer India Knight recently wrote about the demise of FC:
The closure â€” the last issue will appear in December â€” would seem to confirm the notion that womenâ€™s much-vaunted post-feminist love of domesticity is a pose… Who has the time, let alone the inclination, to spend an evening knitting a tea cosy or reorganising their kitchen shelves? The answer to that question, perhaps surprisingly, is millions of women, and the evidence is to be found, as is so often the case, on the internet. There has recently been an explosion of interest in crafts, cookery and other previously rather dated-seeming â€œwomenâ€™s interestâ€ activities. The proof? There exist thousands of websites to fuel it. Far from being risibly old-fashioned or nostalgic, the idea of knitting a tea cosy has enormous appeal for a whole generation of young women, as well as older ones…
The reason [Family Circle] is closing down isnâ€™t because thereâ€™s no demand for the material it provided â€” the demand is vast, and other places, the net chief among them, cater to it by providing similar but better content in an entirely modern, visually exciting way that is trendy and so self-confident that it even eschews putting an ironic, semi-apologetic twist on its offerings.
Don't we know it.
On other fronts, in a stunning reenactment of a seemingly hereditary physical design flaw (thanks, mom!), I dislocated my right shoulder on Sunday going for a wicked back-hand save* in my first game of tennis in over a decade. No crocheting for me this week. I'm typing two-handed now only thanks to the handy way my laptop has of sitting on my lap, so my right elbow is supported comfortably. If you've emailed me and don't hear back for a couple of days, that's why. Or if you receive an email all in lowercase, it's 'cause I'm hen-picking with my left hand.
* This is a sarcastic lie. The backhand would only have been wicked had I had superhuman tennis power. Instead, my mere mortal self not only missed the shot, but also crumpled to the ground as I felt the ball pop out of and then back into its socket. Big thanks to JohnnyB and Saje, not only for not doting, but also for bringing yummy ice cream.
Finally, I got my hands on a copy of Crochet Today. Woo hoo! 🙂
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