Most magazines - in just about any industry - have become nothing but a mouthpiece for the companies in the industry they cover. They churn out little more than re-worked press releases and soundbites from the promotional material provided to them by advertisers and other interested parties. The magazine industry has become "flame-broiled."
Flame-broiled? A flame-broiled industry is one that relies on a formula that emphasizes speed and consistency (sameness) as its primary value-drivers instead of authenticity or originality. Take a look at the pizza industry where the largest pizza businesses have eliminated pizza ovens and literally flame-broil their pizza just like a Whopper at BK. Dominoes, Pizza Hut, Papa Johns; does anybody love this pizza? Or, do you buy it simply because its fast, cheap, and always the same? It's easy, but not that good!
The same is true for movies and TV shows. CSI, Numbers, Cold Case, Medium, etc. are the exact same shows. Just a different flavor. Sub and sandwich shops are the same way and again are literally flame-broiling their products like Quiznos, Potbelly, and Coggins.
Now don't think I'm some holier-than-thou type that never eats/buys/watches a flame-broiled product, I do, but I also crave something authentic or original from time to time.
This is especially true for news and information and its why I get so frustrated with magazines. There is very little original content that appears in a magazine these days. In the cycling magazine niche, there is no bigger flame-broiler then Bicycling Magazine. The magazine seems to try to cover all things cycling, but in their quest to do so they actually serve up a lot of watered down content that smacks of public relations and press releases. I'm not sure what aspect of the cycling world they really cover comprehensively.
I don't mean to bash the magazine, but I do think they need to take a step back and look at the business model to determine if it is helping them advance the magazine and add new loyal readers or are the niche magazines eating away at their core. If you are a roadie following the pro circuit, you'll turn to VeloNews, ProCycling, or CyclingNews. Mountain bikers look to Dirt Rag or Bike Magazine.
Sure I eat Pizza Hut, but usually because I'm traveling for business and have no idea what I'm going to get from the local mom and pop. It's just easier and what I value for the moment, but I look forward to Joe's in Vauxhall, NJ when I visit the extended family. If I'm traveling across the country and have several hours to burn on airplanes, Dirt Rag, Wired, and Business 2.0 come with me. These are magazines with substance, originality, and rich content. Bicycling remains behind in the bathroom along with Men's Journal and Outside. Why? Because its easy, but not that good.