JPG Magazine Folds

January 2nd, 2009 at 12:00 am

jpgmag early issues

What a way to start the year, JPG Magazine will be closing down.

JPG Magazine was a  startup that had a radical idea.  First they would crowdsource their content, then sell the magazine on news stands.  The tragic magic there was the core of their revenue model, print ads, a really bad idea in this time and age.  JPG magazine’s main revenue stream was to come from selling print ads which was to cover the cost of publishing the magazine.  However, given that the content was also available online, it was hard to sell any magazines and advertisers were not that much interested.

So anyway, as with any other doomed startup, the company behind JPG Magazine, 8020 Media burned through all their funding.  However there are valuable lessons to be learned from JPG.  Erick Schonfield of TechCrunch explains:  "8020 Media was founded upon the belief that a print magazine publisher could be viable if it stripped out most of the costs and created a community of readers to help in its production. Perhaps the flaw was in sticking to a print magazine as its final product. In reality, the print magazine was nothing but an artifact of the Website and the community that created it. The value of JPG was in the online portion—the process by which the best photographs were commissioned, curated, and selected with the help of other reader-photographers. It is a model that I believe we will see more of in the future because talent is everywhere. We just need a better way of finding and highlighting the very best of it."

Still, the fact is it did not work.  Here’s 8020 Media’s  announcement: "We’ve spent the last few months trying to make the business behind JPG sustain itself, and we’ve reached the end of the line. We all deeply believe in everything JPG represents, but just weren’t able to raise the money needed to keep JPG alive in these extraordinary economic times. We sought out buyers, spoke with numerous potential investors, and pitched several last-ditch creative efforts, all without success.  As a result, will be closing down starting Monday January 5, 2009."

Back issues are available in PDF form here.