Sign in to follow this  
John_S_in_Penna

Hobby Publisher F&W Media Files for Bankruptcy

Recommended Posts

This may affect a good number of car fans.  I hope not.

 

I just read that hobby publisher F & W Media

is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  They are 

publishers in a considerable number of hobbies,

including antique cars, stamps, coins, comic books,

and sports cards.  They produce Old Cars Weekly,

Old Cars Price Guide, and the numerous Standard 

Catalogs of antique cars.  (They bought out Krause

Publications in 2002.)

 

The article said, "The company plans to remain in

operation while it plans liquidation of its holdings."

 

"Company officials cite industry decline, problematic

investments and corporate mismanagement as

contributing factors leading F & W into bankruptcy."

 

"In 2008, F & W shifted its business model to e-commerce

from print, a move that hastened the company's financial

decline according to its filings.  [Company CEO Gregory]

Osberg details in the F & W bankruptcy filing that the firm

sustained significant losses among print subscriptions,

dropping to 21.5 million from 33.4 million, with a corresponding

plummet in advertising revenue to $13.7 million, from

$20.7 million.  The shift to e-commerce resulted in F & W

Media entered [sic] into expensive technology contracts

to help fuel sales that did not materialize."

 

The article was in a hobby publication other than our

antique-car hobby, and did not address the automotive

aspect that we all appreciate.  I don't know what, if anything,

will happen to the car publications.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ran across my old Vol 1 #1 of Spoke Wheels, they got bought out by old Cars Weekly. The paper had a great run back in the "Golden Years" of the hobby. Bob 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Understand that this is a Chapter 11 and not a 7.  They are trying to reorganize and stay in business.  So they could end up keeping OCW if it is profitable or even selling it off.  Too soon to tell, many businesses have come out of Chapter 11 to have success.  Here is hoping that something good happens for our friends at OCW.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope they either sell it off, or "trim the fat' and enter profitability again!

 

Think of all the good magazines that we've already lost over the years, including Automobile Quarterly, Cars & Parts, Car Collector/Car Classics, Motor Trend Classic, etc.

 

Craig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

F&W already abandoned, literally, their Iola, WI, facility where 500 employees were once employed....... :( 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, cahartley said:

F&W already abandoned, literally, their Iola, WI, facility where 500 employees were once employed....... :( 

 

Can you tell us more?

Did that happen very recently?

Did Old Cars Weekly staff move to a new location?  Where?

 

I understand that Krause Publications (later bought by F & W)

was instrumental in the Iola, Wisconsin antique car swap meet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still buy Hemmings Classic Car in print form.  Great magazine at a very reasonable subscription price. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of people subscribed to these publications for the classifieds, that has changed in the past 15 to 20 years. Remember the days of SASE? or sending a $5 check for a deposit on pictures of a car for sale? I hope they get things together, I don't want to see anyone have a problem. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OCW classifieds are all but worthless. There are more sharks wanting to buy cars than there are sellers. If it wasn't for Angelo I wouldn't subscribe.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Can you tell us more?

Did that happen very recently?

Did Old Cars Weekly staff move to a new location?  Where?

 

I understand that Krause Publications (later bought by F & W)

was instrumental in the Iola, Wisconsin antique car swap meet.

 

John, OCW moved to Stevens Point Wi. sometime in 2018. A big lay-off also occurred within that division at that time.

Curti, Angelo will land somewhere else on his feet as he is passionate about his work and it shows.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

F&W  is here in Cincinnati - not to offend anyone who owns one, though their reputation around these parts tends to be anyone with a good used 1965 Ford Mustang 6 Cylinder that perhaps goes to one car show a year was a "god" (or goddess)  of antique car hobby (and I hear the same stereotype as to many of their other publications as well - and have heard it for years now) - true or not I have no idea, but that is what I hear. 

 

I do know that I have sitting on a shelf an October 1, 1971, Old Cars Weekly - their very first issue and it is 100 times better than the past 10 years combined. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve mentioned before I do circulation fulfillment for publications. I processed over 120 magazines at the high point of our business. Today there are about 20-25 of them left in business - no not because I charged too much!  Most that are gone tried to go digital or e-commerce too quickly. The main problem was lack of advertising combined with poor platform design for readership on the digital. The e-commerce problem was over estimate of revenue income. Many were listing to the tech guys and not their own sales guys and were off by well over 100%! 

As an example I tried to let a 4 pub customer know other customers with twice the circulation had done the exact same thing they were planning but had spent half the budget their tech department had requested and failed. They dropped the project and closed two of their pubs because of the losses. The head tech said they couldn’t have had the same great programs and plan they had. He convinced the publisher I was not the house that would support what he wanted to do so they left my service after 12 years. They over spent the budget by 15% in the first six months and the revenue stream missed by over 60%. The new service bureau cost were 15% higher than mine and they didn’t get any free consultation the way I provided them. They ended up closing one of the pubs, fired over half the tech guys and moved the service back to me. The publisher said he just didn’t know why he listened to tech guys when he didn’t really understand what they were planning. 

The publishing industry lost its focus in this internet era. I know the younger generation is much more dependent on their screens than older people. But how many people really get enjoyment out of reading an article they want for enjoyment (not work) on line?  Look at most of the old car stuff you get online and they are short quick articles, not the in-depth articles you read and reread in a print copy, then go online to a forum to discuss. It’s a balancing act for print/digital publications, get it right and it works well get it wrong, good bye! 

Dave S 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can always learn something new when I receive a new issue of Skinned Knuckles.  Technical, but not too technical. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Curti said:

I can always learn something new when I receive a new issue of Skinned Knuckles.  Technical, but not too technical. 

Always pleasurable reads !  I had a subscription for a while back in the 90's. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

I do know that I have sitting on a shelf an October 1, 1971, Old Cars Weekly - their very first issue and it is 100 times better than the past 10 years combined. 

 

What was that 1971 issue of Old Cars Weekly like?

How large were the sheets, and how many pages?

I remember seeing some of those distant past issues once,

in a vendor's pile, and even the front page had several

articles, but I didn't scrutinize those issues.

 

In more recent years, Old Cars Weekly kept shrinking

their pages and number of pages, until it was the size

of a newspaper's weekly TV listings.  I stopped subscribing,

sorry to say.  I hope they succeed and thrive, and get back

to offering some real substance!

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

F&W  is here in Cincinnati - not to offend anyone who owns one, though their reputation around these parts tends to be anyone with a good used 1965 Ford Mustang 6 Cylinder that perhaps goes to one car show a year was a "god" (or goddess)  of antique car hobby (and I hear the same stereotype as to many of their other publications as well - and have heard it for years now) - true or not I have no idea, but that is what I hear. 

 

I do know that I have sitting on a shelf an October 1, 1971, Old Cars Weekly - their very first issue and it is 100 times better than the past 10 years combined. 

When the late model stuff arrived it became Old Cars Weakly. Bob 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like OCW's "new" appearance and hate hearing they have financial troubles. I'm one who still enjoys sitting down with a PAPER copy of my magazines. I can drop it and then pick back up a few hours later. Aggrafretting as hades to do that with digital. 

 

I was at my favorite Italian joint Friday night with my local newspaper, and the 20-year old server said he didn't know anyone his age who read newspapers or hardcopy magazines. Pfft.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have issue one of Old Cars somewhere. May be a future collectable :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is an article on the F & W bankruptcy from Forbes magazine:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tonysilber/2019/03/11/fw-media-citing-debt-decline-and-mismanagement-files-for-bankruptcy-protection/#57d08a404355

 

The article says they have $2.5 million in cash available,

but $102 million in outstanding debt.  It's no wonder that

they will have to sell off some of their assets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/23/2019 at 5:45 PM, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Can you tell us more?

Did that happen very recently?

Did Old Cars Weekly staff move to a new location?  Where?

 

I understand that Krause Publications (later bought by F & W)

was instrumental in the Iola, Wisconsin antique car swap meet.

 

Yes it happened quite recently.

Chet Krause was the actual founder of the Car Show via the Iola Lions Club of which he was a member.

Besides Chet I knew one other who displayed at the first "show" during the Lions Club grilled chicken dinner at a park in the village.

Staff was moved elsewhere and the big building in Iola was vacated.

Car Show got to be too much and became its own corporation. https://www.iolaoldcarshow.com who, sadly, makes no mention of the history of the show....... :angry:

 

Periodical publishing has become a tough, TOUGH, business since the growth of the internet.

Chet told me not long before he passed away that after the coin and car magazines took off money was rolling in almost faster than they could count due to PAID advertising and, primarily, the classified ads.

Not so much now when everyone has the stupid idea that everything on the internet is free.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's common to hear that the internet has hurt

the printed medium;  but interestingly, F & W said

that its jump into electronic media was what

ACCELERATED its demise.  They spent too much,

and unwisely, it was said, on a full-bore move to

get away from the printed page.

 

And of the car magazines lost in recent years, they

didn't merely move to electronic versions.  Instead,

they disappeared entirely.  Automobile Quarterly is 

gone (I'm not sure why);  Cars and Parts got involved

in modified cars and lost their antique-car subscriber base,

eventually changing their focus entirely and ceasing to

exist as an antique-car publication.  Thankfully,

Collectible Automobile is still very good.

 

Maybe the lesson is:  Hobbyists want to read and

relax with a printed page.  They want true hobby-focused

articles that are well researched and give good insights.

And the writers need to be knowledgeable on the subjects!

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Classifieds were the cash cow of newspapers and not a major revenue source for most (but not all) magazines. Think about 4 to 6 pages of close to 1500

$10 -20 ads every four or five days. That’s over $60,000 at a minimum per week. Usually classified ads were paid for up front so the cash flow was very good. Sunday ad sections were also money machines as they printed these in off times to keep the presses busy. Along comes eBay and other types of cheap internet ways to advertise something for sale and that cash flow disappears. Newspapers can’t keep large reporter staffs without the cash. Si editorial suffers. 

 

Magazines rely on ads more than classifieds. Think of a three legged stool. One leg is circulation ( subscribers) another is editorial and the third is ad sales. Take any one of the three away and the stool tips over. Again sales of ads is the biggest problem as the internet makes it easier to get information to the buyer. 

Most people will admit they would rather read an article on paper than on a computer and certainly more than on a phone. But you need all three legs of the stool to be stable in the market place. 

Dave S 

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been a contributor to OCW since 1983. In speaking with Angelo, he said that for the time being Old Cars Weekly will continue to publish as the parent company attempts to reorganize. Old Cars Weekly is a very viable publication and while the immediate future isn't defined, he and I both feel that it will be around for many years. In 2021, OCW will celebrate its 50th anniversary. If you have ever wanted to subscribe and have something on real paper to read that covers your hobby, I ask you to consider doing it now. Some great writers from people who really love vintage tin!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this