BowTie, Inc. Has Sold Cat Fancy Magazine

I couldn’t believe it when I read that Bowtie, Inc. has sold Cat Fancy magazine. Cat Fancy has been around for decades and is one of the favored publications of cat lovers and cat journalists alike. Today, I want to give the readers as much information on the sale as possible. Those of you who know more, please feel free to add to this article in the comment section.

Cat Fancy Magazine

Cat Fancy Magazine

THE SALE OF CAT FANCY MAGAZINE

David Fry, chief technology officer at Cumberland County based Fry Communications Inc. is part of a partnership that has acquired the assets of BowTie Inc. for an unconfirmed figure in the tens of millions of dollars (reported by the Orange County Register). Although Fry didn’t disclose an actual figure, he admitted it was an “eight-figure commitment.” The deal was finalized on February 1. Not only was Cat Fancy sold, so was Dog Fancy, along with several other specialty publications. Fry issued a statement that was reported on by the Central Penn Business Journal a few days ago stating “we can make it better for the user, and we can make it better for the publisher.”

Fry has partnered with I-5 Publishing with Mark Harris, who is co-founder of National Publisher Services based out of New Jersey. Harris and Fry have reported a plan to keep most of the 150 employees and continue to publish Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy magazines.

David and his father Henry Fry own a half stake in Harris’ National Publisher Services, and the respective companies have partnered on business deals in the past, including the acquisition of Thumb Media Group.

DECLINING READERSHIP AND FREELANCE WRITERS

There were serious declines in readership suffered by BowTie, and this is what led to the sale. Unfortunately, this has created problems for those whose income depended on BowTie. This includes not only regular employees, but also freelance writers and photographers. David Fry has confirmed that layoffs are now taking place. He also told the media that Fry Communications and I-5 plan to keep two thirds of those previously employed by BowTie.

Many of my friends are freelance writer’s and photographer’s. They depend on magazines like Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy to buy and publish their articles. I’m not sure whether this buyout will affect permanent staff more than it will those who sell freelance to different publications to make a living. From what I’ve learned, the new owners didn’t acquire the freelance contracts, so it could be a lot of trouble for those who contribute in that manner to be paid for their work. IF they still have a job left under the new contract. Either way, it’s sad that a magazine such as Cat Fancy has a decline in readership. I wonder whether digital media had a part to play in all of this.

Did the amount paid to freelance writers and photographers have anything to do with the downfall? Once source I checked said the free lance writers have been left out in the cold over this transfer of ownership, leaving many with no way to earn a living. I’ve read what some writers made each month and it seems above average. Of course, considering what writer’s have to go through between research and the time spent developing and editing their work, they probably consider themselves underpaid. For those of you who don’t write freelance, there’s a very large scale on what an article is worth. I’ve seen article reimbursements go for as little as $5-$10 to more than $400 per article. I have one friend who won’t touch a story for under $400. I would think such an established publication would be able to pay well without it affecting their net worth. Since the freelance writers were reportedly left out, does this mean their earnings made at impact on the decision to sell. Or was it truly only a decline in readership. Were the advertising dollars falling short of what was needed to run Cat Fancy? It’s difficult to believe this beautiful magazine would lack for readers or lack of advertisers, since many breeders bought advertising space.

DIGITAL MEDIA VS HARD COPY

Note from Michael: Catchannel.com is Cat Fancy’s website – its online presence. At 7th Jan 2013 at 13:34 GMT the website is down (can’t access it) – update: it has now come back online. Catchannel.com has been struggling a bit. The online cat market is very competitive.


I’m sorry, but I never got into digital magazines. I read a lot of digital books downloaded through Amazon, but there’s something about holding a magazine that’s I’m just not willing to give up. Especially when that magazine has cute cat photos and cute cat stories. Let’s not forget the “cat centerfold” that I’m sure many of us have pulled out and framed in our younger days. As a teen, I used to decorate my bedroom with kitten pullouts.

I wonder at the difference in publication cost between an actual magazine and it’s digital version. I know a lot of digital publications offer additional content not available in the printed issue.

Did problems with either the digital media or the hard copy have anything to do with the decline in readership? Which is more cost efficient and which is the better way to go these days?

DOES ANYONE KNOW THE FUTURE PLANS FOR CAT FANCY

Does anyone know the future plans for Cat Fancy magazine? Will the hard copy disappear off of store shelves and out of mailboxes, or can we still look forward to thumbing through one of the most beautiful cat magazines ever created? I do hope those of you who know more can enlighten the rest of us.

Elisa

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Comments

BowTie, Inc. Has Sold Cat Fancy Magazine — 14 Comments

  1. I just subscribed to Modern Cat and got my first magazine today. I like the hard copy. I like having it on my table or in my bag to read on the train. I also work for a magazine and we are having to beef up our web presence. We just signed a contract to upgrade our website to include payable subscriptions with downloadable full versions. Digital media is a huge cloud. Most of that cloud is fancy websites with lots of ads and stories pouring in each day but none of the stories are theirs, they are just press releases copied and pasted into their website making them look like the center of the world in whichever particular field it is. We on the other hand create the content and never put it in it’s entirety on the web. Since we are the major magazine in our field we get all the press releases and reports and stuff we want and thats why I know that most of the website out there have nothing but copy paste because I recognise all the stuff ‘they’ are publishing on their site. Furthermore the releasers of press releases want their stuff to be put everywhere verbatim so you end up with a big cloud with the same old stuff everywhere you go. Occasionally you find a point or site or magazine/publication where the news and creation of new material comes from. If you have good stuff to publish then you can either keep it hard copy or go digital and payable. We are going to have both. We are making our site readable on iphones and pads etc and our actual downloadable monthly issues will have to be secure and copyrighted. I am personally worried I will find my articles on some stupid website so I have insisted the pdfs be totally secure so that you can’t copy from them.

    HMV just went out of business because they didn’t get on with getting digital quick enough.

    It’s weird. In our situation we don’t have to worry too much because we make all the main reports in our field. People will have to come to us (unless sites can copy our online publications and breach copyright). It comes down to the fact that there will always be a market of people who want paper and another of people who want digital. Both survive entirely off advertising. Our site will start having ads. We didn’t have any yet. If you produce both you will sell both. But if you try to put your eggs in one basket it might seem a bit small. The cat fancy magazine needs to shrink down its print numbers to suit the market and spark up a digital version for those who want cat fancy on their iphone on the train to work. Personally I like both. I want both of something if I like it. For different occasions. Companies producing print before the digital age will by definition lose people who buy their print. But I would wager overall they will probably have more customers if you include the ones who moved to digital plus the new ones who came just because of digital. Digital is far reaching. The reader numbers will grow and mags will have to find a solution to make money with two version of their publication. Its hard for big old mags set in their ways. It means losing print people and gaining web people but I would also say that in terms of the freelance writiers it absolutley should not make any difference at all. It doesnt with us. They get paid whichever way – for the work they send us.

    • I do a lot of what I call story weaving. Whenever something happens you have 5-6 different accounts but no one seems to tell the entire story. I try to put it all together in one article. The stories I do that tend to get the most comments are the stories I write from my own experience that aren’t really news.

      • Yes, Elisa, first hand experiences with an emotional content are the most popular. They are the most alive stories. You can get involved in them. Thanks for this story by the way. I had no idea and I know Cat Fancy magazine well and Catchannel. I think Helmi Flick has her work published in Cat Fancy. This change of ownership may impact her.

  2. I think that most cat lovers prefer to surf the web and dip in and out of cat sites and Facebook etc.. Speed reading.

    I agree that hard copy mags are nice and I like both internet and print. As you say there will always be a section of society who prefer hard copies. The younger people prefer internet.

    When I started PoC the internet was much less competitive. At one time PoC was getting more hits than Catster and Catchannel. It is still in the top 5. But it is hard to compete with businesses when you’re almost alone and an old geezer.

    I appreciate tremendously the input (comments) of the regular visitors and contributors (Ruth (Kattaddorra) and Elisa, for example). They are important to PoC and help give it a voice for the cat.

    I fear that the new owners of Cat Fancy will build a bumper cat website that will make things even more competitive.

    I have always strived to produce original work that adds something to the internet. As Marc says most sites just regurgitate. You have to stick your head over the parapet sometimes and take risks when you produce new thoughts and your own thoughts.

    The internet is changing rapidly. One thing is for sure, it will become even more competitive.

  3. Don’t worry Old Geezer. You have a bored but classy antique (me)marketing the website all over the place for you. So just sit back and geez…

    I heard it thru the grapevine that Cat Fancy has shut down totally. I spread the story link and hope someone will be able to clarify.

  4. Speaking from a developing Country where the Internet usage is still a minority of the population, have to confess that i have totally stopped buying the daily newspaper.I browse through various newspapers on-line and same could be the case with most urbanites of India.Prior to the “INTERNET” era i was a avid free-lance writer to editors of newspapers on a topic i fancied, a few letters published.In the Western First World, the “Internet” is creating havoc in the profits of established newspapers, magazines and book publishers and same seems to be the case with “CAT FANCY” magazine devoted to cats.Today, just at the click of a mouse a internet researcher can get access to any subject, rather then go to a library as was the case about 2 decades ago. As for me, i love reading novels in print form but have always used the internet for researching my blogs as well as writing.Thanks to “P.O.C” on the Internet, i am a better educated cat owner and same could be the experiences of other cat owners and hobbyists.Change is permanent and the “Internet” has changed the way we research and obtain our information.

    • Nicely summarised Rudolph, thank you. Books are a classic case of complete change. Kindle editions have dented hard copy versions hugely. I believe that in five years you won’t be able to buy some newspapers in hard copy. The internet is expanding rapidly all the time. Tablet computers changed the market big time because they are highly portable with a long battery life. The same goes for mobile phones.

    • I like hard copies but there is an important and valuble point about the digital world, and that is the enormous environmental advantages. For me that is the major sticking point that is unavoidably good. I still look forward to my next edition of modern cat though. Did you know that glossy magazines use paper that is harvested from old growth trees because that is the kind of wood you need to start with to end up with those incredibly glossy pages and covers. I know this because I work in the mag industry and have been given various papers to select for our magazine. Worse is that you have to use this kind of paper if you want to compete. It shows up images in a way that they look and feel sharper and people won’t think much of a mag made of recycled any old paper. As a mag we have to use this paper to stay competitive. Old growth forest has to be one of the most valuble and incredibly beautiful things on this planet. Most people have never even seen such forest and I can tell you from personal experience that it is utterly incredible and enchanted. The trees are enormous and even the ferns and undergrowth is all way taller than we humans. I was in the middle of the amazon once in a place called Manaus and we trekked through the jungle. The roof of the forest is so high and far away you cant believe it. It’s like being in a huge aircraft hanger inly bigger – it echoes when you shout and the tree tops feel like a whole other world away with all the goings on up there. The tree trunks are so much bigger than you could ever expect. The so called ‘vines’ that tarzan swings on are thicker than half the trees in europe. They are trees – they don’t swing or move. They curve down an grow along the ground. To climb over one would be difficult. The incredible amount of noise and life is overwhelming. I was also in an old growth forest in Canada which was different yet it had the exact same magical feeling of abundant life and age old growth that fills you with a feeling you don’t ever forget.
      I would advise anybody who has not visited such a place in their life to do it. I will guarantee that you will be astonished and enchanted.

    • Rudolph, perhaps you have been to Himachal Pradesh? If so you will know exactly what I am talking about with regard to the old trees and forests that adorn the mountainsides there. I trekked all the way up the Kulu valley and I also travelled all the way up to Leh passing all the forests that last up until the Rotang Pass where the altitude limit for such growth is reached. These are some of the most beautiful and incredibly valuble places in the world in my humble opinion. It is for that reason that I will never justifiably be able to argue against the transition of paper to digital 🙂

      • Marc i have not visited Himachal Pradesh and Leh, places every tourist praises.India is rich in forest in certain patches, including the Western ghats mountain range, especially just after the monsoon rains.Should visit someday.

  5. I actually wrote a very compelling post about the demise of the print world a couple of weeks back and had not considered Cat Fancy as being the next victim of our times… While I could not live without the benefits of technology, I am deeply saddened by this trend. The ability to write well is a skill, and one that is now being minimalized by Internet publications.

    I have been a fan of Cat Fancy for as long as I can remember and it is a bittersweet moment for me – my first published article with them will appear in this April’s issue on the subject of spay/neuter. I never dreamed it would be both my first and last opportunity to work with them…

    http://zeezoey.com/blog/reflective-caturday-mourning-the-demise-of-the-written-word-in-print/

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