Monday, November 21, 2011

Model Railroad Hobbyist Honcho on Model Railroad Magazines and Future

Joe Fugate, big
honcho of online
magazine Model
Railroad Hobbyist
Over at the publisher's blog at Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine, Joe Fugate, pioneer of internet-based model railroading media, is using fact-based reality--presented via statistics and graphs--to prognosticate about our hobby's future.  The upshot is that old-media paper model railroad magazines are declining in circulation while online venues, like Joe's own MRH, are growing in readership.  Based on this, he sees a much brighter--but different--future than what you might hear about in model railroading communities, both real and virtual:
The decline in the paper magazines begs the question - is the hobby shrinking? We don't think so. We've seen some hobby vendor surveys that suggest the hobby is actually growing slowly ... and Reuters has been reporting that the sales of train sets at Christmas time have been on the rise since 2005.
Spend any time amongst model railroaders--either in 'meat space' (hobby shops, swap meets, clubs, etc.) or in 'cyber space' (yahoo lists, various bulletin boards, podcasts, etc.) and the lamentations about the decline of model railroading will quickly rise to the surface. Lower circulation of Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman, along with the demise of various second-tier magazines like Mainline Modeler and Railmodel Journal, are cited as signs that the hobby is fading.

Go read my comment on Joe's blog.