As most of you well know, RC Sport Flyer magazine has not been published since the December 2015 issue. This has been for a number of reasons, but please know RC Sport Flyer will be back soon, and in multiple formats…
What happened? The honest answer is the publishing business has changed drastically since the introduction of the iPad on April 3, 2010. Since that fateful day — which followed closely the 2008 recession — the advertising revenue for hardcopy magazine publishers has plummeted drastically. Remember that some time ago I explained in my Leading Edge column that there are three ways magazines make money: 1. The publisher sells so many subscriptions that the costs of production is very low, which means they can be profitable on subscription revenue alone. 2. The magazine publisher sells so many advertisements that the ad revenue offsets the subscription price and makes them profitable. 3. They sell enough ads in combination with subscriptions that they remain solvent. Well, those business models for magazine publishers have pretty much been shattered by the internet and digital publishing. The reality is that magazine publishers — big and small — are struggling to remain profitable because content is FREE ON THE INTERNET. After all, how many of you are reading content that was published for free on social media and groups. The answer is, many of you! That has not been, and is not the case, in the hardcopy publishing world. Writers still want to be paid for their content that often requires significant work before gracing the hardcopy pages. Also, and significantly, advertising revenues have totally crashed for publishers as companies have moved to market their products via Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, Amazon, and their own sites. Without the ad revenue, publishers simply cannot afford to invest in newsstand distribution, direct mail subscription solicitations, marketing campaigns, and the likes to increase their readerships. It is now truly a lose-lose situation.
These changes in the publishing business have definitely negatively impacted RC Sport Flyer over the last five plus years. Let me underscore that fact by detailing that I (Wil Byers) have invested at least $200,000, if not much more, of my money into the company trying to keep it solvent over the last five years. I did so because I love publishing RC aviation content for you! Truly, and I say this without reservation, I doubt there are many modelers who have invested as heavily as I have to continue to promote the hobby/sport. I’ve done so because you are my friends and my modeling family. Furthermore, some of you have been RC Sport Flyer subscribers for the 23+ years we’ve been in business. So, continuing to publish magazines was what I wanted to do. Frankly, it made me happy!
However, as of January 2016’s Kiona Publishing, Inc.’s Profit and Loss (PnL) statement I had to make a hard, hard decision. I had to finally submit to the ongoing analysis that too much money was being lost in the company and Kiona was drowning in red ink. As it has been now for some time now, the subscription fulfillment costs, along with the costs of publishing hardcopy, was dragging the company down. It was simply that it is now very expensive to publish hardcopy magazines because paper, ink, setup, binding, postage, distribution, and labor costs have soared while both subscriptions and ad revenues have plummeted. It was just out of control, with the red ink causing the PnLs’ statements to shout out, STOP!
As a result of the continued negative analysis and the realization that we did not want to go out of business we opted to stop production of the hardcopy magazine for a few months to completely reinvent the processes of how we will publish going forward. While we will continue to publish a limited number of hardcopy magazines, we will emphasize digital content delivery over hardcopy. We’ll do so because digital provides us with options we cannot possibly get with hardcopy: online subscriptions, digital delivery, interactive content, analytics, more frequent publishing schedules, interaction with our readers, content tied to our blogging and social media, etc. The list of reasons to move ahead with our new business model/plan is overwhelming, not to mention I will stop bleeding money to keep the business afloat.
Further, RC Sport Flyer will be selling some other digital products to offset the cost of production and distribution. As such, we encourage you to buy them from us when possible. You’ll want to check out our line of digital products to see what might advantage you in the hobby. Then too we encourage you to buy from those companies that continue to advertise with RC-SF. They are the ones that make it possible for RC Sport Flyer to keep publishing content! Without our dedicated advertisers we would possibly be forced to close the doors on Kiona Publishing, Inc. That would mean I’d have to move to a deserted island with an RC airport, trash my cell phone, sleep late every day, fly airplanes, gliders, helicopters, and drones, and then drink cool drinks in the evening. It would be what many of you call retirement. However, that just doesn’t suit me, or us for that matter! So, RC-SF will be here for a long, long time to come. It is just that we won’t be playing the same old record over and over till the vinyl wears out — or an iTune until the millennial goes deaf.