NME’s surprise return to print, helped by a cheque from Netflix, is a demonstration of just how well it has managed to sustain its online presence. But is this a future that other ex-print magazines can really look forward to? Esther Kezia Thorpe takes a look for What’s New in Publishing.
For us Londoners, it’s been almost a year since the cries of “Free NME…free NME…” have been heard in the capital. The music magazine printed its last issue in March 2018 after 66 years of publishing, the move coming shortly after its parent company Time Inc. UK was sold to private equity group Epiris LLP.
But in a surprise announcement, NME has now put out a special edition of the print magazine, in partnership with Netflix.
The ‘collector’s edition’ promotes the release of Netflix’s new series The Umbrella Academy, with 50,000 copies of the 36-page edition available from independent music stores and comic outlets. The graphic novel adaptation tells the story of a dysfunctional family of superheroes who come together to solve the mystery of their father’s death, and more.
On the one hand, the news that Netflix, the world’s seventh-largest internet company by revenue, has chosen to resurrect a print magazine that was shuttered last year is heartening to many of us who have watched the print magazine industry struggle with declining ad revenues over the past decade.
The fact that they see merit in the format, and can see that NME is still a strong brand even without a magazine is brilliant, and should send a strong message to advertisers and agencies.
On the other hand, it could be argued that if Netflix were set on a print takeover, there are plenty of great entertainment magazines with regular print runs that are in need of a cash injection from brands.
So why resurrect NME?