This is old news now, but I’m still a little bent out of shape over
the random demise of Premiere Magazine. Its last issue was in April,
and I miss it. It was an intelligent magazine for film lovers, a breath of
fresh air in a marketplace saturated by People-esque publications.
The magazine was launched by Susan Lyne (now CEO of Martha
Stewart Omni), who ran it for eight years (1987-1995). After Lyne’s
departure two other editors (Chris Connelly and Nancy Griffin) resigned
over “editorial interference.” According to reports, columnist Corie
Brown allegedly “spiked” a “California Suite” piece about business deals
between Sylvester Stallone and Planet Hollywood. The restaurant chain
had venture plans at the time with Ron Perelman, the owner of
Premiere. Insiders say the publication was never the same after that.
According to articles, the paid circulation of Premiere has
declined slowly over the years. There were 616,089 subscribers in 1995
and only 492,498 at the end of last year. The rate of page ad sales (the
bread and butter of any media outlet) declined by 24.7%.
Society seems to reward the mainstream, and Premiere just didn’t fit
in, though it seemed to try in later years. I guess the majority of the
magazine buying public wants more celebrity gossip. Out Martin
Scorsese and in with Cameron Diaz. Another major thing to keep in
mind is that the internet is taking over everything, and the majority of
people get their information online instead of in a monthly magazine, so
keeping an operation like Premiere going gets costlier and costlier.
(Premiere will continue to be available online.) You can get all of your
information online – trailers, showtimes, gossip, reviews, etc – so why
pay to get it delivered to you via “snail mail.”
But to add insult to injury is what the remaining subscribers were stuck
with. Apparently the subscription list was sold and we are all now
subscribers to US Weekly. The cover story this week is about the feud
between Britney Spears and her mother. The only film covered in the
magazine is what people wore to the premiere. It might as well be
retitled Brad, Angelina, Paris, Nicole & Britney Weekly, the latter three’s
contributions to the entertainment industry being questionable.
The bottom line is that media responds to demand. The American
public isn’t stupid and uncultured; I wish it would stop acting like it was.