Powder Magazine owners file for Chapter 11, but don’t worry…

You know the media biz ain’t what it used to be when you hear about three major restructurings in one day! First, an email from former SKIING magazine contributor Rob Lovitt at 8:30 this AM informed me that Conde Nast had officially shuttered Portfolio magazine, it’s uber-slick business porn mag launched at the height of the tech bubble, er, private equity fund bubble a couple of years ago. I’m sad to see it go – the last issue featured an outstanding story by Michael Lewis on the Day Wall Street Died. Alas, I read it online and printed all fifteen pages out on my printer, so no dollars were exchanged in that media transaction! Literally minutes later, snowdogskier (his handle on epicski.com) emailed with word (from Transworld Business’s website) that Source Interlink, the parent company of Powder, Bike, Surfer, Surfing and other action sports titles, had filed for Chapter 11. And the just after dinner, I went to the Globe & Mail website only to find that the number one story of the day was an announcement that the National Post would not be publishing on Mondays for nine weeks starting later this year. The media dominoes are starting to fall as the blowback from the financial meltdown of 08 percolates through the economy. The rich aren’t taking vacations, buying or leasing expensive cars, purchasing vacation properties or even, so it seems, buying vanity magazines about their peers. The rest of us are either unemployed or underemployed, and ‘waiting for things to turn around.’ Some of the best comments re: Source Interlink and Powder can be found on the TGR chatroom, where a spokesperson (I have not checked the masthead but it sounds like either a managing editor or someone on the business side) has weighed in to assure contributors and readers alike that Chapter 11 is, in fact, a good thing… especially if they get some kind of government bailout (kidding!). Usually, media conglomerates buy and sell blocks of publications like we trade baseball cards; but these are different times. Big Media thrives on access to capital (read: debt financing instruments) and while publishers often attempt to hive off non performing assets for a song, in this case it’s unsure who will actually buy anything. I think the financials for Powder should be pretty sound, still, we are living a very tight times and marketing folks on all sides are being told that ‘print is dead’ and to ‘invest in social media.’ Time will tell, but here’s hoping that the greatest ski magazine ever published continues to find solid investment footing and thrives well into the future. After all, I have 95 percent of ’em going all the way back to issue number 3!

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