Wednesday, August 30, 2000

The adman ... behind blue eyes

The August 2000 issue of Sarasota Arts and Entertainment is now, officially, in print. It'll be our last issue. Thanks to everyone who put their shoulder to the wheel. But this is it.

That's all she wrote.

Looking back, we did almost everything right. We made a few Darwinian mistakes. Shoulda gone to Mac in 1995 and dispensed with pasteup. Shoulda streamlined the congerie of contributors. Shoulda gone for a Web site instead of a TV show. Other than that, we did OK. We covered a scene, had an identity, had our own flavor. And what a damn good flavor it was.

So what killed us?

Lack of advertising revenue.

We found ourselves competing with:

A) Shamelessly advertorial-based publications that out-and-out traded "ink for ads." I.e., you advertise with us, we write about you -- and say only nice things.
B) National publications (like the local NYT chain paper or Creative Loafing) that launched local tabloid publications that cut into our niche.

Understand. Our circulation went up and down from 20,000 to 30,000. High season we print a lot. Summer, we cut back. But we did OK. We had a loyal following.

Except for the advertisers.

Like I always said, it felt like we were performing for a hall of 25,000 people. The first rows were the 50 advertisers who paid for what we did. The rest of the hall could be applauding like mad. If the advertisers in the front row are sitting on their hands, it doesn't matter.

Thousands of readers loved us.

Not enough advertisers loved us.

So we have to say goodbye.


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