The number of new launches was down sharply from last year, tumbling from 187 new titles unveiled in the first half of 2009 to just 90 titles in the first half of 2010.
But on the bright side, there were also far fewer magazines folding in the first half of 2010, with 87 titles closing compared to 279 in the first half of 2009. That works out to a net gain of three new titles in the first six months of this year, versus a net loss of 92 titles in the same period of 2009.
The food category was a particularly big gainer, with 10 new titles including ChopChop and Better Homes & Gardens' Anyone Can Cook. Meanwhile, the shelter category saw the same number of losses, including Lofts and Condos and Mountain Home. The closures also included 35 business-to-business magazines, while 17 new B-to-B titles launched.
MediaFinder also reported that 16 print magazines went to online-only publication in the first half of 2010, down from 43 in the first half of 2009.
While the latest figures are certainly more positive in comparison to previous years, the relatively small gain in the first half of 2010 suggests that the total number of magazines will increase slowly during the tentative economic recovery. This, in turn, raises the possibility that the recent contractions were permanent, meaning the medium overall will remain smaller in the long term.
The new figures on launches and closings from MediaFinder come just as the Publishers Information Bureau revealed a return to a modest 0.8% growth rate in consumer magazine ad pages in the second quarter of 2010.