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 Post subject: Farewell to SFX Specials
PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:00 am 
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I got a message from my app today that SFX Specials are closing. It's pretty sad but I guess the magazines were just too niche for mass market interest - I know I skipped most of them except the Anime ones. Hopefully this isn't an indication of bigger problems at Future publishing though.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:07 am 
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Official Nintendo Magazine is being scrapped as of this month too; it's certainly a worrying time for future.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:16 am 
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That is a surprise! I would have thought that Nintendo had a large enough following to easily allow for an official magazine. That really is troubling.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:45 am 
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I think it's becoming increasingly clear that there are some serious financial troubles at Future; they've sold off titles, cut staff and pared back their online presence with consolidations.

Now, given I left the UK four years ago at the height of the recession, I would have thought by now you'd have started to see a turnaround in the economy, but it seems Future are really suffering. I fear for the SFX staff.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:54 pm 
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I'd be very surprised if SFX itself was in trouble, its sales are generally pretty good I've been lead to believe. Isn't it meant to be Future's flagship mag?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 11:03 pm 
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Quote:
“In forming our opinion … we have considered the adequacy of the disclosure made … within the consolidated interim financial information concerning the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The company incurred a net loss of £30.0m during the six months ended 31 March 2014 and … had net current liabilities of £21.6m. These conditions … indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” PricewaterhouseCoopers, Report on the consolidated interim financial statements Futureplc


http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/1 ... 1G20140314

That was Price Waterhouse's report on Future's Half Yearly Figures last March

As its now 6 months later and they're practically closing everything they can find I guess the last 6 months haven't seen any improvement

I was going to put it in the 2015 Predictions thread but I'm expecting to see a new owner for SFX in the near future


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 2:39 am 
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That's a shame. The last one I brought was an Anime special, still, I guess it's hard to keep on making these specials and trying to keep interest in them up - there's a lot of topics to cover and I imagine the readership in general won't necesserrily be interested in every one.

I guess if Future are struggling then they'll want to streamline a bit more and ditching stuff like this may ease things for them a bit.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:56 am 
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davevank wrote:
Quote:
“In forming our opinion … we have considered the adequacy of the disclosure made … within the consolidated interim financial information concerning the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The company incurred a net loss of £30.0m during the six months ended 31 March 2014 and … had net current liabilities of £21.6m. These conditions … indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” PricewaterhouseCoopers, Report on the consolidated interim financial statements Futureplc


http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/1 ... 1G20140314

That was Price Waterhouse's report on Future's Half Yearly Figures last March

As its now 6 months later and they're practically closing everything they can find I guess the last 6 months haven't seen any improvement

I was going to put it in the 2015 Predictions thread but I'm expecting to see a new owner for SFX in the near future

That does not read well, financially. SFX ABC Figure is 25835, Total Film 61003. Looking through Future's ABC registered titles, SFX circulation is towards the mid range, but I seem to remember a time when it was 30k+.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 8:40 am 
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This might be of interest, and goes some way to explaining what's been happening:
http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/future-is-a-creator-of-content-not-a-publisher/s2/a562739/


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 3:29 pm 
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Paulky wrote:
This might be of interest, and goes some way to explaining what's been happening:
http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/future-is-a-creator-of-content-not-a-publisher/s2/a562739/


So then they'll soon stop the physical magazine and turn only to digital content and the website hub?

But then it is very hard to monetise content like this so I'm sure we can expect lots more paid for puff pieces :frown:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:19 pm 
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I have to be honest about it, if the magazine ceases to be, then in my eyes, SFX will be no more. I buy the magazine out of habit as much as anything, the online content I rarely read.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 6:19 pm 
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But premature even with moves in digital reading print still around a few more years yet and still no one quite got a model for making money working well. My main issue with Future is their digital output
On SFX shrunk and quality of starting to be hit too. No TV reviews, copies of mag articles - den of geek is getting more time at the mo. A forum they never really promoted and now a Facebook page of pap

The assumption sfxers are all gamers is flawed too


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 8:18 am 
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runalong wrote:
But premature even with moves in digital reading print still around a few more years yet and still no one quite got a model for making money working well. My main issue with Future is their digital output
On SFX shrunk and quality of starting to be hit too. No TV reviews, copies of mag articles - den of geek is getting more time at the mo. A forum they never really promoted and now a Facebook page of pap

The assumption sfxers are all gamers is flawed too


Yeah, this. I understand magazines generally struggling a bit more now as more people move to digital as their preferred form of media consumption, so whatever way you swing it the decision to pull back on their digital output such as Comic Heroes, the website which is sadly dismal without regular contributions from bloggers and the closure of the forum is totally bizarre. Now the news of the website merging with a gamer one really doesn't fill me with joy, particularly with the current stuff going down around Gamergate. I have even less desire to interact with people like that than I do the rabid hordes on Facebook. I spose what I'm trying to say in my rambly way is I could understand it if it made good business sense, but none of it does IMO.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:25 pm 
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I did notice the last survey they put out had a lot of questions about if I would prefer a digital sub, if I would consider switching, and indeed what could they do to make me switch. I wonder if they are testing the ground to see wheather people would prefer a subscription accessed digital version (Which is available now IIRC)

I reckon the Magazine in print form will be pretty much doomed if they start offering the Digital version free with a subscription (Think it costs a bit more at the moment) as it will show that they have a definite goal of moving the whole thing to digital.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:32 am 
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I have SFX on subscription now (only £2.50 per issue!) so I didn't feel like a traitor when I picked up Sci-Fi Now the other day.... I have to say it's a very good read this month, and if I wasn't so emotionally attached to SFX it would be a tough choice on which one I would buy on a regular basis.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:00 pm 
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I too am an SFX subscriber but must admit I bought a copy of Starburst a while back and was struck by how good it was. Quite charming, like an old, well-produced fanzine.

If SFX folds or goes digital I shall probably veer towards the occasional purchase of Starburst…..just like I did a loooooong time ago.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:23 pm 
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I loved the SFX specials on things I cared about, like comics or Star Trek. I picked up a few issues of Comic Heroes, but I rapidly found myself reading things I've read before. Yes I know how the Fantastic Four got their powers (although Josh Trank doesn't seem to), yes I know what happened to Bruce Wayne's parents. I applaud SFX's attempt to try and cater for a different market (ie people who wanted to be involved in comics, rather than just read about the characters), but that market, in my opinion, was never going to be a sustainable one. The specials were of a similar vein. I didn't like Buffy, so I had no inclination to pick up a special about it (although I'll understand why people would), but where digital content falls down is the people who sit on the fence. In a newsagent they can pick up the magazine and thumb through it, and they may like it, so they'll buy it. With digital content, you get a front cover and a list of contents. If you're not sure why would you spend your cash? There's also no impulse buying with digital content - you either want it or you don't.

Tying SFX in with a game website seems to be a way of "consolidating" (read: merging) audiences, and hoping that they'll cross-pollinate. I don't see it myself, for one reason - I'm a rampant console gamer, and a big sci-fi geek, and find I'm in a tiny majority by having a foot in both of those two camps. For example, I like Star Trek AND Call of Duty - and there don't seem to be many more who do.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 9:24 pm 
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Oh and while we're on the subject, if you have a back catalogue of Sci-Fi Nows from the last three/four years, don't get suckered into buying one of their specials - they're just reprinted articles from the main magazine.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2015 2:05 pm 
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Shame they are going - though I see the Bookazines seem to still be running, aren't they just the SFX specials under a different name?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Mr.Lavigne wrote:
Shame they are going - though I see the Bookazines seem to still be running, aren't they just the SFX specials under a different name?


'Bookazine'.......*shudders*

Whatever marketing bum-hole came up with that word should be skinned and dipped in salt.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2015 12:55 pm 
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I do have a vision of a guy in an ironicly trendy suit pitching this from a beanbag.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:04 pm 
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On a semi-related note, I haven't seen an issue of rival magazine Sci-Fi Now on sale for a while, so I've just searched for info and yep - it ceased publication back in July, though it's official website is continuing as an 'on-line platform' (sound familiar?).


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:32 pm 
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Yeah, it's all going online. Cheaper but less tactile.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2020 6:31 am 
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Like all of you SFX lost me as a subscriber the week hey closed the forum . I haven't picked up a physical copy in a shop in years

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:02 pm 
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I still buy SFX every month. Say what you like, it's outlasted the likes of Death Ray, Dreamwatch and now Sci-Fi Now, and when it does finally depart for that great newsagent's shelf in the sky, it will hold the record for the longest uninterrupted run by a UK genre magazine (Starburst launched in the late Seventies and Dark Side debuted in the early Nineties, but both underwent a several year hiatus).


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