START Goes Bimonthly
START wins the "Best Laid Plans" award for 1990. Despite earlier optimism that START would actually get bigger, the complete opposite has happened. Effective immediately, START will appear every other month rather than the monthly schedule we've been accustomed to since October 1988.
The decision to go bimonthly wasn't an easy one. START has a very strong subscriber base and its renewal rate is among the best in the magazine business. But other factors came into play: Atari has all but abandoned the domestic market and third-party developers have been scared away by a lack of a viable user base for Atari products. START constantly receives letters from people who have moved onto other computer platforms, so there is some evidence that the user base continues to decline.
For START it's a simple equation: no developers means no advertisers. Advertising is what pays the production costs of a magazine. The advertising pool for START has been shrinking and there is every indication that that decline will continue as well.
But cutting circulation doesn't mean cutting quality. START, and our parent company Antic Publishing, have supported the Atari community for almost 10 years. Our commitment to that community is as strong as ever.
You can expect some changes as we move to a bimonthly schedule. The cut in the number of magazines you receive in a year means that START has to put out a better magazine than ever. START will probably become more technical, more applications specific. The lack of new product (and not just upgrades) will mean less reviews and more tutorials.
With all that's going on in the world right now we realize we're not giving you the best news. But to use the tired old sports line: it was a business decision and nothing more; it should not he seen as an indication that START's circulation will he cut even more. Remember, START began as a quarterly. When the ST market picked up, START went monthly. Now that the market is slowing down, START is bimonthly. Perhaps things will change with the new hardware recently released by Atari. We'll have to wait and see.
Because the new schedule came into place so quickly, editorially START is still in a monthly mode. What was to be the February issue became February/March; March became April/May. As a result, some of the more time-sensitive material such as Z*Net and Products Update may appear dated. The first all-new bimonthly issue will be June/July. on sale June 1.
Finally, if you subscribe to START, the number of issues you are to receive will he adjusted to the new schedule according to what you originally signed up for (one-year subscribers arc now two-year subscribers and so on).