Popular and Modern Photography Magazines

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by troll, May 23, 2007.

  1. Does anyone know the real story of why they were merged, as they both had good circulations. IMO the result was poorer than either had been.
     
  2. Popular Photography and Outdoor Photography suferred financial losses by conducting multiple unnecessary mailings that request renewals and payment, even if the subscription was paid for a year ahead of request time. Also they maintained multiple accounts for the same person, while sending only one copy for the given address, and sending notifications to subscribers for not paying for the duplicate account, and even directing the matter to a collection agency. They had such an accounting mess, that turned off many people. Were unable to correct the accounting errors by multiple phone calls, emails, or multiple writings. There were other problems as well, e.g placing inexperience people in "director" position to manage relatively complex operations, that are manageable relatively simple to other publishers. Looks like recently they improved a bit.
     
  3. In the last '80, Popular Photography purchased Modern Photography to close a fairful competing. I think that Modern Photography was one of the better photography magazin over the world and the classic Popular Photography too, although not properly at the same quality level. Now, i find that Popular Photograhy is very poor as the contents and the lens and camera tests are very shortage. I prefer clearly the Shutterbug Magazine. Ciao.
     
  4. "Does anyone know the real story of why they were merged, as they both had good circulations." Money, honey.
     
  5. I'm sure the photo magazines are facing the same problem as most other magazines and daily newspaper. It's all tied to ****right here*****. People are getting their info on line and don't have to wait a month or week or day for it to arrive.
     
  6. Funny the first statement should be about the premailing issue. They still do it. Maybe now they have a better system in place to track it, but they do it nonetheless. I purchased a 1year subscription, and before I had received the second issue, there was an advert to get another year. i believe I had my third enticement before the fourth month, but i didn't send that because who knows the world might end and i wouldn't get my full value. I'd be willing to bet that if I kept it up, i could have amassed 12 or 15 years of subscription before the first year was up. Same thing they did in the 70s. As the commedian says, "You can't fix stupid"
     
  7. i was a Popular photgraphy subscriber in the 1965's and it tended to be more "arty" than equipment and hardware oriented. I was a teen and should not have been getting a magazine full of nudes. By the way someone paid me to cut out all the nude phots so he could have them. I was much more a photo tech. Later, around 1960 i found pop to be a "silly airhead" as they glossed over serious terchnical problems. Modern was accused of both payola and dwelling on technical issues more than picture taking. One thing was poorly handle\d: the specials , the alminacs and test report special isuses required a real effort to get. they appeared on the newstands in limited numbers and , apparently were not always offered by mail from Modern. Pop said if a camera revioew apperared thet meant the product was OK. their reeviews at that time were pretty superficial. Modern did in-depth reviews, even dis-assembling cameras and writing a virtual instructionb manual. ( this is why some said they were too hardwaere oriented) both ot all magazines got too GIDDY with their headlines. and puffed up what they would say. example "when will color negative film fail you" I think some of their re-writers came from supermarket checkout couter tabloids. depite all the claims and couter claims, I really miss modern photography magazine, I will read POP PHOTO if i get a free copy but will not subscribe.
     
  8. Correction i was a Popular photgraphy subscriber in the 1950's and i in 1965 i subscribed or bought all 4 camera magazines.
     
  9. As a hardware oriented person, unquestionably MP was superior. But PP had a larger circulation, and they figured they could make more money if they had ALL the circulation and no competition. PP was quite good in the 50s and 60s but seemed to just repeat the same "how to push the button" articles over and over and over again later on.....
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Popular Photography and Outdoor Photography suferred financial losses by conducting multiple unnecessary mailings that request renewals and payment, even if the subscription was paid for a year ahead of request time...
    Magazines outsource subscription fulfillment. It's been that way for many, many years. The fulfillment house gets paid on retention and new subscriptions. The magazine does not bear the cost of all those mailings, so this has nothing to do with financial issues. Also, Popular Photography has been part of large publishing firms for years.
     
  11. MP was the superior magazine, with in-depth, comprehensive product reviews not seen since. I remember MP publishing extremely detailed reviews of the Nikon F3 and Canon F1 that put to shame anything that dares call itself a camera review in this century.
     
  12. Aside from distribution and other marketing screw ups as mentioned above, what i have noticed is that pop photo seems to have become another victim of the web and the digital wave. I can come to a forum on photo dot net and learn more in one, no , one half hour of reading than in the purchase of ten of those popular photography mags. A magazine is hopelessly behind in to-the- hour info even as it is being printed. Some things, maybe one article or two might be what i'm interested in, but why pay $5.99 ( o.k, whatever the heck the price is), for just one or two things of interest?. Also, i have noticed that advertising has been drastically cut back in recent pop photo mags. B&H et al used to have a big thick green section at the back, now it is pitifully thin and skimpy. Magazines cannot and do not exist without a great big ad base!! Period! Can anyone say they are actually buying pop photo mag for the information? A lot of people, me included, may buy a magazine just to browse it as a relaxing diversion, but more and more i find myself just going to the library and glancing through their copy first. ( cheap bastard that i am, thank you) Herbert keppler wrote a few interesting articles that i did enjoy reading, and i also liked the "camera collector" spot. In agreement, i would rather put money to shutterbug or american photo or whatever. The photos are better in those mags than on popular photography . In short, i just found pop photo mag too heavy on front cover hype and too light on substance. People want value for their money.
     
  13. Interesting that people should mention the Shutterbug. I think it has been ruined since it left the dog pee yellow era, and all those ads for used equipment (drool and dote on everyword in every issue). I know most of that has transferred to the auction site on the web, but I'd rather never buy another camera in my life than deal with the scum that inhabit that place.
     
  14. Both magazines had seriously dropping advertising revenue. They had to merge to survive. Just look at the number of pages of advertising reducing over the years. Look at the number of large photo suppliers that went out of business in the 1980's. I used to get the New York Times and it seems every few weeks a major photo retail chain was being auctioned off.
     
  15. Well, thats what i said i had noticed. Those big green BH et. al. sections of advets for new and used stuff at the back of the pop photo mags seem a lot sparser now than a couple of years ago. I may not be a business exec or advert wizz but it seems to me that a magazine must reach a specific audience with a UNIQUE offering geared to that market. Pop photography tried to be to many things to too many people , in my humble opinion. Silly articles that did not give value. " Give your DSLR a makeover with new firmware " for example. (September 2005) " Why a Nikon F6?" was another article. Really? On and on but who cares. I did like their " your best shot " section.
     
  16. Pop and Modern were the two sides of the coin. Popular Photography did have a more arty profile, while Modern was more aimed at what later were called techno-nerds. They didn't really merge, but it seemed like that because Keppler moved over to Pop and the magazine became more technically oriented. Keppler should use one of his columns to talk about this whole change. However, I think it's probably provincial to put this all down to specific policies or problems at either magazine. There is a continuing crisis in magazine publishing that has run from the 50s (the death of the pulps) to the 60s (shakeout caused by a major distributor going belly up) to the general decline in magazine subscriptions that continues from the 90s to today for causes that range from illiteracy to television. Ironically, there appears to be a demand for magazines, and the local B&N has 4 or 5 American magazines, some of very high quality art character, but there must be a dozen imports from England and even a couple of French photo magazines. The photo magazine appears to have been out-sourced.
     
  17. I wrote to Popular Photography on the web and cited this thread and asked if Keppler could do a column on the merger. Guy said he thought it was a good idea and would pass the word along to 'Burt'. Maybe something will come of it, let's hope.
     
  18. I didn't get a column, but here is the story straight from the man, Herbert Keppler himself: "By 1986, Modern Photography had slowly but surely crept up on Popular Photography, nearly equaling it in circulation and bypassing it in advertising pages and revenue. From 1963 to 1987 I was Editor and Publisher and later Editorial Director of Modern Photography. During that time Leonard Goldenson, Chairman of the Board of The American Broadcasting Company, Modern?s owners, gave me a very free hand in the running of the editorial, advertising, production and circulation of the magazine. Leonard, over 80 years old, retired in 1986, turning ABC and its magazines over to Cap Cities. Just prior to that event, Seth Baker, President of all ABC Leisure Magazines. leaving for another job, offered me his position. I turned it down preferring my beloved Modern Photography. As you know, the danger of refusing a top position is very dangerous since the persons who do get the senior positions will inevitably try to get rid of you and did. At the same time, providentially. Peter Diamandis, president of CBS magazines asked me to take over Popular Photography as editorial director while John Miller, Publisher of American Photo handled the publishing position. The idea was that John and I would work together to reverse the financial problems that Popular Photography was having. We were given three years to do it. John and I worked well together and finished the assignment in a year and a half. During that 18 months I brought from Modern many editorial and advertising personnel and quite a bit of the advertising as well. I am not certain who made the first approach, CBS or CapCities, but CBS offered to buy out Modern Photography, and it was done. Hope that does it for you, Herbert Keppler"
     
  19. By the way, I forgot to mention that Mr. Keppler graciously gave his permission for this e-mail to be posted.
     
  20. To All, Let me toss in something as well. In my (original) Calumet days, Modern Photo was a very important advertising magazine for us as a maker of professional photography view cameras, large format lenses, and processing equipment. In my younger days as a USN medical photographer in the early to mid 50's, one of my mentors was great photographer, Victor Keppler. His son, Herbert E. "Burt" Keppler became a friend of mine in the mid 50's. We had a number of similar interests such as fine cameras, great optics, and telescopes. After my Navy days, I worked for several photo and optics manufacturers and as did many manufactuers, we shared much information to Burt because he was absolutely trustworthy, you could tell him things in confidence and he would hold the secret as long as necessary until released. I wrote more than 450 pieces for other magazines and publications for over 28 years but that never affected our friendship. I regard Burt Keppler as the most important photographic writer/publisher in my career of over 60 years at age 76 and he is overall just a great guy. Lynn
     
  21. This was deleted in the system problem, so I am reposting it. I had written to the Pop Photo magazine asking for a column on the topic and the person I contacted passed that on to Mr. Keppler, who responded with the following message to me. It is posted here with the kind permission of Mr. Keppler: "By 1986, Modern Photography had slowly but surely crept up on Popular Photography, nearly equaling it in circulation and bypassing it in advertising pages and revenue. From 1963 to 1987 I was Editor and Publisher and later Editorial Director of Modern Photography. During that time Leonard Goldenson, Chairman of the Board of The American Broadcasting Company, Modern?s owners, gave me a very free hand in the running of the editorial, advertising, production and circulation of the magazine. Leonard, over 80 years old, retired in 1986, turning ABC and its magazines over to Cap Cities. Just prior to that event, Seth Baker, President of all ABC Leisure Magazines. leaving for another job, offered me his position. I turned it down preferring my beloved Modern Photography. As you know, the danger of refusing a top position is very dangerous since the persons who do get the senior positions will inevitably try to get rid of you and did. At the same time, providentially. Peter Diamandis, president of CBS magazines asked me to take over Popular Photography as editorial director while John Miller, Publisher of American Photo handled the publishing position. The idea was that John and I would work together to reverse the financial problems that Popular Photography was having. We were given three years to do it. John and I worked well together and finished the assignment in a year and a half. During that 18 months I brought from Modern many editorial and advertising personnel and quite a bit of the advertising as well. I am not certain who made the first approach, CBS or CapCities, but CBS offered to buy out Modern Photography, and it was done. Hope that does it for you, Herbert Keppler
     
  22. I have hundreds of old Pop Photo and Modern Photo from the '60s and '70s that I no longer have room for. Can anyone think of a good home for them? They are in Hackney, London, UK.
     
  23. I sorely miss Modern Photography, and wish there could be SOME KIND of ONLINE ACCESS to back issues. I would assume they are now the property of Popular Photography/HFM. No, there's probably little value (read MONEY!) in that proposition, but it would sure help resolve some of my yearning for the "Good Ole' Days" of my adolescent preoccupation with SLRs and art photography...
     
  24. With the PRE WW2 Popular Photography magazine; it was RICH with info on making your own photographic tools. A typical contest for sports images would have mostly TLR images; the TLR was considered like the Canon EOS.
     
  25. As the assistant editor of Modern in the late 60's, I can assure you we were the technological magazine. I ran very detailed tests on lenses. And we worked hard on explaining the emerging auto-exposure slrs. Bert Keppler was editor and publisher (we were under Billboard then)and It's interesting to note he still writes a column in today's Popular Photography.
     
  26. I have the Photo Buying Guide '70 from Modern Photography. It is by far the best compilation of photographic equipment test results I have ever seen.
     
  27. First let me thank the person who contacted Keppler and posted his response. It certainly matches my sense of some sort of corporate infighting.
    I lived through this and my memory differs from some other posts. I would not have been reading either before 1955 and not subscribing until some years later. It is true that Pop was generally about pictures and Modern about equipment. However, it was Pop that published the VERY thorough camera tests in which they often tested multiple lenses from the manufacturer and stripped the camera down and commented on what they found inside. The price was that not much stuff got tested. I also seem to recall a lot more darkroom stuff in Pop than Modern in the early days.
    I remember receiving my last issue of Modern with a page announcing they were folding and would fill out unfinished subscriptions with Pop. No explanation of why. Then Pop went on as usual for a number of issues after which it seemed Keppler and half the staff of Modern took over. Very odd if Modern was perceived as the weaker publication, or those guys were not bringing in revenues.
    Another difference between the two was that Modern had very strict standards for advertisers who had to agree to certain business practices to run an ad. There was even an appeal process through Modern. This led to far fewer ads in Modern. However, I thought twice about ordering from anyone who advertised ONLY in Pop. That factor may have allowed Modern to charge higher ad rates. These policies were initially continued in Pop after Keppler arrived there but have since fallen by the wayside and some questionable fellows are back in the ads section. Maybe B&H is not willing to spend much money to be in that company;-)
    For lens tests Modern had minimum standards that had to be met to even get a review. I do not know if that was true at Pop but Pop rarely tested anything but primes from the major manufacturers. Modern tested a variety of Vivitar, Soligor, Tamron, Tokina, Sigma, Cambron, etc. lenses.
    This was before my time but I also believe that the objective tests published in Modern had a big role in making the fortune of the Japanese photography industry. I am old enough to remember when Made in Japan was held in lower esteem than Made in China is today. Keppler certainly had all kinds of contacts in Japan and was given very high honors by the industry there.
    The theory that the demise of Modern was caused by the subscription practices of Pop seems strange.
     
  28. Anyone that has back issues of Modern Photograpphy? Looking for old issues, the december issues to be specific, Those that had the Top camera of the year section. Looking for the early 1970's editions and would love to find them, I did subscribe, and was stoopid enough to toss them out!

    Also I have ascertained that the Top Camera of the year section did not appear in 1963. Anyone know when it was first started and have the issue (to sell)?
     

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