Press: The Big Shake-Out Begins

A publication glut and a soft ad market spell turbulent times for the consumer-magazine industry

The overstuffed newsstands of the '80s told the story at a glance: the fast- money decade spawned a prodigious magazine boom, with titles crammed three deep into every trendy market niche. Some 2,800 new magazines flew off the presses in the past decade, 584 in the past year alone. Foreign media barons opened their wallets wide, and American entrepreneurs -- from Hartz Mountain pet-food magnate Leonard Stern to Frances Lear (ex-wife of TV producer Norman) -- rushed into the circulation game.

But now the shake-out is at hand. Magazines are going under or changing hands at a dizzying rate. Owen Lipstein's...

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