Sign of the times

What Does The Demise Of Iconic Local Pubs Frontiers & Next Say About Our Media?

 

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If video killed the radio star, what’s gunning down LGBTQ media? This week, Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, the parent company of such storied local publications as Next, Frontiers, and Florida Agenda, petitioned for bankruptcy after getting spanked by a default lawsuit, leading to the seizure of CEO Bobby Blair’s assets.

While a recent article published by The Advocate claims this is merely  “particular to that company, not symptomatic of LGBT media in general,” that explanation fails to account for the closures of several other queer news outlet in recent months and years. It’s possible the MPW pubs will emerge from bankruptcy (suiters have lined up), but we also can’t ignore challenges facing our media–from the high cost of print distribution the demise of local classified ads to the dispersing of local gay communities and the mainstreaming of our culture. Sometimes these days it seems we are only held together by hookup apps.

Here’s a list of several LGBT sites and publications, both local and national, that have nosed dived this year alone: Trend or aberration? Sound off on your reasons in comments below…

1. AfterEllen.com

Last month, this prominent queer women’s website announced it will be forced to layoff its staff, effectively shutting down the 14 year old news outlet. Editor in Chief Trish Bendix lamented via twitter that Evolve Media, who bought the site from Viacom in 2014, “found we are not as profitable as moms and fashion.”

2. Florida Agenda

Touted as “Florida’s LGBTQ newspaper of record,” the Agenda was the first queer publication owned by  Multimedia Platforms Worldwide, and one of the many casualties of MMPW’s law suit. Its staff was completely gutted last week, leaving the Sunshine State a little dimmer for queer readers.

3. Frontiers Magazine

Southern California’s longest running LGBTQ magazine has suffered its share of financial turmoil over its 35 years of publication. In 2013, the queer news outlet filed for bankruptcy, and was rescued by businessman Michael Turner, who hoped to to expand  its reader base and increase its digital presence. In spite of these aspirations, the Los Angeles-based queer zine continued to struggle, and was sold again in 2015, this time to Blair. Although Frontiers most recent issue has posted online,  printed copies have ceased hitting news stands.

4. Gay.com

Back in August, the quintessential chat room hub of the 90’s was sold by LA-based Here Media to porn purveyor VS Media, who quickly endeavored to usher the site into the 21st century of sexuality. At one time, Gay.com posted great original content, which has been supplanted by links to Here Media publications such as The Advocate and Out. But let’s be honest, no one is logging on into this hook-up site to read articles. And even then, Grindr pretty much renders it obsolete.

5. Next

Founded in 1993 as a much needed mouthpiece for Guiliani-era queer New Yorkers, Next quickly evolved into Gotham’s gay nightlife Bible edited by a series of remarkable journalists, from Queerty’s Miss LaCroix van Dur Stumpfleclief, Esq. and John Russell to NewNowNext’s Dan Avery (also former managing editor of Queerty). The magazine was yet another entity gobbled up by MMPW last year and suffered the same fate as its siblings, losing its entire staff in recent weeks. Michael Musto was quick to express his love for the dismissed editorial team and pubs. “My deepest regrets over the suspension of publication of Next magazine and Frontiers magazine,” he said. “These have been worthy gay pubs that have connected, entertained, and informed us.”

6. SheWired

Like AfterEllen, this Here Media femme-centric site suffered from the ongoing trend of indifference towards lesbian and bisexual female content. It was folded into the women’s section of Pride.com, once again reducing this section of the LGBT community into a niche demographic, leaving it largely alone in the trusty hands of the fabulous site, Autostraddle.

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9 Comments

  • MarionPaige

    In general, it is claimed that Google and Facebook gobble up 80% of online advertising. Maybe the amount of ad dollars leftover after Google and Facebook is a little different for niche markets like GAY.

    With respect to Multimedia Platforms Worldwide,

    The operating strategy seemed to be that there was less competition for ad dollars from the likes of Google and Facebook with print publications. In fact,

    Multimedia Platforms Worldwide’s strategy of rolling up different properties into one brand banner for advertisers has been copied by many. It was most recently copied by Thrillist’s Ben Lerer and his Group Nine roll up.

    Many times with companies, their strategy may be sound / brilliant in the long run but, they can run out of money in the short term executing their strategies. Let’s hope Multimedia Platforms Worldwide and its properties emerge successfully. Maybe Q Digital will buy it.

    Rumor has it that Vice is about to launch a GAY TV Channel, which should shake up the Gay Space further.

  • MarionPaige

    Oh, it should be mentioned that the iconic FUNMAPS was rolled up into Multimedia Platforms Worldwide

  • PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID

    They are failing because they’re not good enough. Period. You’re all doing the same thing, regurgitating the same (lowbrow) stories or clickbait, no longer bringing anything to the table to differentiate yourselves from the likes of a one-stop Huffpo Queervoices. Or perhaps (outside chance here) they were too ethical and fastidious in the present business climate: i.e. not relying on the exploitative labour of illiterate unpaid 12-year interns (ahem Pinknews). Queerty used to be fearlessly iconoclastic apropos LGBT sacred cows and Gay inc — it no longer has a USP. We

  • PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID

    Also everyone is shit scared to fall out of line or have a unique voice in the current witch-hunty groupthink PC climate.

  • robho3

    Or maybe it’s just that everyone is getting their information online in 2016.

  • ChrisK

    I remember picking up In magazine and Frontiers every trip to LA. Usually at the bars. Then anxiously going home to go through them. Anyone remember the one with Joey Stefano in a sailor hat? Really treasured that one:) End of an era for sure.

  • Kangol

    Part of the problem is that increasingly fewer people seem to read, let alone are aware of anything past a prior 10-year horizon, unless it’s received information that may not even be correct. Gay media are in trouble, and most are not really addressing the challenges LGBTQ people face right now, in the US or elsewhere. Next absorbed its chief rival HX (why no mention?), which was one of NYC’s late 1990s major party magazines, but once upon a time NYC had quite a few publications, including the New York Native, Christopher Street, New York Blade, Gay City News, and my favorite, the radical OUTWEEK. How many of these exist today? Clearly, like the erasure of gay bars, gay bookstores, and gay neighborhoods, our publications have also disappeared. It’s part of a larger trend. There you go, Queerty, there’s something to write about other than straight guys, IG posts of straight guys, and Whisper and Reddit posts by and about straight or possibly bi/DL “straight” guys.

  • PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID

    )))))IRONY KLAXON((((((

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