Aah, the internet…you’ve gotta love it! Or not. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old human, what do you like better? Facebook or video stores? eBay or second-hand record shops? Amazon or Angus & Robertson? Taxis or Uber? Pornhub or Playboy? Okay, there are plenty of arguments for either side, but there’s one thing that we all miss, right? Come on! Magazines! FilmInk used to be one, and to be honest, we still get a little teary-eyed thinking about the days when we could actually honestly refer to things as being “hot off the presses.”
We fondly recall the era of monthly deadlines, complicated design work, and ads not supplied to the correct specs. You know, things that you just don’t have to do on the internet. It’s hard to deny that the days of the print magazine are numbered, with even long-standing, genuinely iconic titles sucking in their final papery breaths. The recent print passing of Dolly made the teenage girl inside us shed a solitary tear and consider self-harm, while also prompting us to consider the future of other magazines, particularly in the world of film.
With FilmInk’s move into the digital realm, there are only really three players left in the local movie mag market: the bi-monthly industry focused title, Inside Film; the deep-thinking educational quarterly, Metro; and the glossy blockbuster-friendly consumer monthly, Empire, which is a local imprint of the popular long-running British-based magazine. While Inside Film and Metro appear to be buzzing humbly along, cannily servicing their respective readerships, we’ve heard whispers on the wind that Empire has been doing some considerable downsizing.
While much of the local magazine’s content is shipped in directly from the UK edition, the Australian Empire (that sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it?) has always featured locally penned reviews, as well as minimal coverage of the local film scene. This, however, looks set to change, with a recent slashing of the magazine’s Australian staff. Two of Empire’s long-serving staff writers are no longer with the title, and neither is their designer. The only remaining staffer is the magazine’s recently appointed editor, which would lead one to reasonably think that there won’t be a hell of a lot of locally generated stories happening…which in turn makes one question the validity of a local imprint of a British magazine that just features content from its parent publication. And how many magazines can chug along with a staff of one? This news comes at a time when Empire is about to launch a US mirror website.
Will the local version of the magazine shut down, with a mere mirror of the snazzy UK website in its place? Has this Empire fallen, or will it strike back? Time will tell, but in cyberspace, nobody appears to hear paper scream…