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Long-run publications might bring to mind a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication that has been in print for a long time. While this may be a good assumption about what long-run publications are, long-run is actually a business economics term that can apply to any industry, not just printing. Long-run publications differ from short-run publications not just in the specific time period they have been in print and circulation, but rather in the conditions under which they publisher operates the publication. There are many stages of publishing, from design conception to printing and all the content and art work in between. Advertising is also a factor in most short-run and long-run publications, be they daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.
When applying the principals of business to a publication, long-run publications are those with no fixed variables. In other words, the pains of start-up cost, staffing, and so forth have subsided enough that the publisher has the flexibility to run the publication more freely, potentially maximizing profit. Long-run publications have become well-established in the market, have developed long-term contracts with advertisers, and can be flexible in the number of pages they print, stories they buy, or in-house and freelance writers they use.
Many publishers enter the market hoping to start long-run publications, but at the same time many short-run publications are intentional. In the case of short-run publications, the publisher knows that there is a fixed amount of time the publication will be printed; whether six months or two years. This becomes a fixed figure in the operation of the publication, and thus other factors like advertising contracts and staffing become fixed as well. The struggle many start-up publications face when hoping to become long-run publications is striking the proper balance between the fixed variables and the flexible ones. When cost exceeds profit, and advertising and subscription sales do not hold for the long haul, the publication can no longer exist.
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