The News from Source Interlink is About WAY More Than 'Automobile' Mag
Everybody jumped on the Jean Jennings bandwagon yesterday when the news broke about her ouster from the editor's chair at Automobile, but the news from the embattled Source Interlink is literally going to change the way you buy car magazines -- both on the newsstand and by subscription -- if you still actually do that. It's sending shockwaves across every automotive enthusiast group that exists, and will culminate the loss of more than 6,000 jobs across the country. Here's why: Twelve Titles Shut Down Automobile sucked up a lot of attention, mainly because it's one of the big four buff books, but Automobile will likely carry on in some shape or form. It has name recognition that's too good to see go away completely. But while the news about Jean Jennings' removal made headlines in this community, a whole lot of other people at many other Source Interlink publications are on the unemployment line today. There are some titles you can understand falling by the wayside, but some are earth-shattering in their short-sightedness. The other titles shut down were: High Performance Pontiac:
The last non-club Pontiac-only magazine in existence. Former editor Tom DeMauro decamped for Hemmings Publishing in the last six months. If you're interested in Pontiacs, get involved with the Pontiac-Oakland Club International (POCI), because its magazine Smoke Signals edited by Don Keefe is terrific.
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the 1965 Pontiac GTO
GM High Tech Performance and Camaro Performers:
Folded now into the Super Chevy brand
Popular Hot Rodding:
PHR came to life in 1962 as an alternative to Hot Rod, and its focus remained on hard-core muscle car modification until the very end. It's gone now, and gearhead hot rodders only had one other publication to rely upon...
Rod and Custom:
...and it was Rod and Custom, and it's no longer being published, either, after a run that began in 1953. The H.A.M.B. at JalopyJournal.com is abuzz with the news.
PHOTOS: Full Galleries of the 1932 Ford Roadster
Import Tuner and Honda Tuning: Both of these titles die, in the hope that Super Street can pick up the slack.
Modified Mustangs and Fords: Shifts to Mustang Monthly now.
5.0 Mustang: Moves to Muscle Mustangs and Fast Fords.
Custom Classic Trucks: Source Interlink split out custom trucks and unmodified trucks into two separate titles, and now they're folded into one. Neither audience is going to be to thrilled with that decision.
Mud Life and Four-Wheel Drive & SUV: Both titles go away in the hopes that Four Wheeler covers enough of the same ground
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More than 100 people have been cut loose in the last 24 hours, including some long-term editorial talent like Jeff Smith at Car Craft, Pete Tarach at Modified, and John Cappa at Four Wheeler. Smith alone has 30 years with the magazine.
Source Interlink Distribution
This is the real news in this whole restructuring, and nobody but publishing insiders really seem to be talking about it. It's HUGE. Source Interlink Distribution is a $300 million business that is no more. Shut down completely.
A bit of magazine distribution history: as late as the early 1990s, there were some 300 magazine distributors -- companies that worked as the middleman between publishers and retailers, because many retailers didn't have the time or expertise to deal directly with publishers and vice-versa.
As of the day before yesterday, there were essentially THREE major magazine distributors left. Now there are just two, Canada's The News Group, and Hudson News. Hudson News owns the retail outlets in most of the major airports in the United States.
Source Interlink Distributors held the keys to most of Walmart's magazine distribution, virtually guaranteeing its titles would show up on Walmart shelves around the country. But Time, Inc., one of the largest magazine publishing companies in the world was embroiled in a bitter fight with Source Interlink Distribution over a price increase. Time Inc. refused to pay, shifted its business elsewhere, and not 24 hours later, Source Interlink Distribution shut its doors.
It leaves hundreds of titles with a lot of questions about how they'll be distributed in the future.
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UPDATE: The NY Post is reporting that the demise of Source Interlink Distribution will result in the loss of 6,000 jobs at its headquarters in Bonita Springs, Florida. In 2009, Lee County (FL.) awarded Source Interlink $1 million in Financial Incentives for Recruiting Strategic Targets (FIRST) incentives to locate there. The agreement was amended in 2010 and then renegotiated again in 2013 when Source Interlink Distribution failed to meet job creation and wage benchmarks.