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.
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.