As print circulations fall, editors come under pressure to make cuts and lately, more often than not, it’s cartoonists who are first to kneel before the chopping block.
The Mirror, having recently axed the popular Horace strip cartoon – it had been running for twenty six years – has now cut Kerber and Black’s input from around twelve to fourteen cartoons a week down to just three. Playboy is dropping gag cartoons altogether. There are many other similar tales of woe throughout the industry, not least the sad demise of Indy and Sindy as going concerns, print-wise.
Two print publications, however, are recording sales increases – and both are notoriously cartoon friendly!
Step forward Private Eye and The Oldie.
The Oldie’s sales have risen 14.6% year on year whilst Private Eye recorded its best figures since 1992 in the second half of last year.
We’re not suggesting that carrying lots of lovely cartoons is the sole reason for their success – both being canny enough not to put all their content online for free hasn’t done them any harm – but we thoroughly agree with Ian Hislop’s view that some editors are missing a trick by losing the cartoons.
And the contrast in direction of sales figures of both cartoon-content-rich magazines compared to most of their peers suggest he has a point.
Cartoonists can help raise sales as well as smiles.