Venue magazine to close

22Feb11

Staff and freelance contributors were told today that Venue, Bristol and Bath’s what’s on magazine, is likely to close with the publication of issue 962 on March 16.

The twin causes of this are declining sales and – much more important – a catastrophic falling-off in advertising revenue in recent months.

Since the word got out about the planned closure this morning, the local Twittersphere has been full of messages of support and dismay. Thanks for all the Twitterlove, people.

As of this point, the situation is not completely hopeless. There is still time for a rescue plan, and it does no harm, should you be so inclined, to show your appreciation for this great local institution, by buying the odd Venue or two.

FWIW I don’t blame the parent company, Bristol News and Media (who also own the Evening Post), for any of this. Since buying Venue ten years ago they have been very supportive and have never interfered editorially. Obviously they and their parent firm, Northcliffe Newspaper Group, are a big, clueless company who think they can only do business by assuming their staff and customers are not very bright. They never really had the brains or the imagination to make the most of the asset they had in Venue, but they have been fair.

For my own part, I’m saddened, but not altogether surprised, given the state of the economy. If any of this is anyone’s fault, it’s the Coalition government, whose cuts have had both direct and indirect effects on revenues and on the fortunes and the confidence of the small local businesses who are the mainstay of Venue’s advertisers.

I’ve been involved with Venue since shortly after it started (1982), though never full-time.

It has been the most enormous fun, and a huge privilege to work with so many clever, funny, brilliant people. It’s been an even bigger privilege to think that we made a small difference to Bristol in millions of little ways, whether in promoting local artists, helping new arrivals find social lives and just generally, y’know, being part of that unique Bristol vibe.

This, I hope, is not yet the end of the story. Every city needs a Venue mag, or something like it, and something might – I only said might – yet rise from the ashes. Watch this space.

And buy the next few editions. Collectors’ items.

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6 Responses to “Venue magazine to close”

  1. Sad news indeed ,although not entirely unexpected considering the current economic climate. If there is any liklihood of something else rising from the ashes let me know if I can help in any way.

  2. 2 John Mitchell

    Hi Euge,

    Very sorry to hear the news about Venue – it’s a really sad time for everyone who has been involved in such a fine publication in any capacity.

    I look back on my nine and a half years with the mag with enormous fondness and will never forget the help and suport you gave me during my assorted roles.

    Cheers

    Johnnie

  3. tragic – let’s save the magazine – how am i gonna know what’s cool and what’s not?

  4. 4 Sara Meadows

    So sorry to hear this. Infamous that Bristol won’t have a decent listings magazine/website. Even when Venue was doing the same topic yet again year after year, there was always some good stuff in it.

  5. Very shocked, like many friends and fellow journalists, to hear.

    Your analysis is interesting about whom to blame, or not. And the current government is no friend to small businesses, for sure.

    However, what we are seeing now is the downside of a corporate takeover. Everything is sweetness and light while Venue makes a profit. But why would the Northcliffe Newspaper Group care about a tiny entry in its ledger books such as Venue UNLESS it is making a profit for its shareholders? Big business has no remit to worry about local reporting or local communities.

    Really hope that a local management buy-out is possible and Venue can rise from the ashes and become independent again.

  6. 6 Charlie McF

    Euge,

    Sad news indeed – can’t even save it with a double spread (should have been a sub-editor) on wife swapping in Yate? It worked every other year.

    All the best to everyone still there, fond memories of my time there. Haven’t bought one for ages so I guess I’m part of the problem.

    Charlie


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