Over the weekend, Window Media LLC, the nation’s leading GLBTQ newspaper publisher, shut down, reportedly over lack of funding.
Employees of the GLBTQ niche publisher arrived at work Monday morning to find out about the sudden end to the newspapers owned by Window Media LLC. At Washington Blade office’s in Washington, DC, the locks were changed and a note was posted on the door. The first issue of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest gay–niche newspaper created in 1969, is featured here.
The company’s financial woes stemmed from a number of factors. Aside from the industry-wide drop in advertising revenue due to the economic downturn, many mainstream publications are now writing about GLBTQ issues, lessening the dependency on niche publications like Window Media’s.
Is this the end of the niche publication? Not if they follow the lead of their mainstream counterparts and redirect funds and staff to develop a digital media contingency plan. The age of exclusively “brick and mortar” addresses is over and now more than ever, it’s important for niche publications to capitalize on the cost-effective option of moving print vehicles to an online space. Traditional publishers aggressively leveraging digital media and using it as a color on their pallet are fairing better than their counterparts who resist the digital pull. Media companies like Conde Nast are aggressively leveraging digital media to their advantage through destination sites like Epicurious.com (home of shelved Gourmet Magazine) or Style.com. The question is how quickly can they gather steam and purpose their assets and resources towards this? Unfortunately for Window Media, it wasn’t fast enough.