When I first began to research the arcade industry around 2005, there were two trade magazines that I had access to for putting together my business plan. One of those was Play Meter Magazine, a publication that has been around since 1974. One of the most useful collections of data that they published were the State of the Industry reports; these involved a survey of their subscribers to gather information on the status and health of the industry on an annual basis. They have not published a new report since Feb. 2016, which is unfortunate. Their presence on social media since then has also been infrequent as of late, apart from the occasional e-mail newsletter.
Today, I received a press release stating that the publisher for Play Meter Magazine, Carol P. Lally, is announcing her retirement and “the subsequent close of the periodical that has faithfully served the coin machine industry for 44 and a half years.” Jumping to the end of the PR, it should be noted that “At present negotiations are ongoing for a possible new future for Play Meter,” but we’ll have to wait and see what that entails.
In the interests of disclosure, I have been a writer for the competition, Replay Magazine, since 2011 or so. In all that time, I’ve never gotten the impression that there was any sort of deep rivalry between the two magazines; it has always seemed like there was plenty of room for both to operate. Then again, maybe there was and I just wasn’t aware of it 😛
Either way, it’s sad to hear and I hope that they will be able to figure something out. While I have never met Carol, I want to thank her and the PM staff for the efforts over so many years. Continuing to do print in the face of the digital onslaught has been an uphill battle, one they fought well.
Here’s the full PR:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Carol P. Lally, publisher of Play Meter magazine, has announced her retirement and the subsequent close of the periodical that has faithfully served the coin machine industry for 44 and a half years.
Play Meter has chronicled all major industry events, including conferences, trade shows, educational programs, activities of the national associations, and much more. In total, Play Meter has published close to 600 issues over its long history.
Play Meter covered industry issues in depth and became known for its signature features, such as the coinman interviews, buyer’s guides, game reviews, company and product profiles, merchandise market, technical and other columns by industry experts, and the early and continued focus on the family entertainment center segment of the industry, especially with an annual Family Fun Edition for the past 25 years.
Play Meter was the first industry publication dedicated to the operating community, first to conduct a State of the Industry Survey starting in 1976, first to publish a regular equipment poll beginning in July 1979 (and first to add a redemption category), and first to produce a wall calendar starting in 1996. The magazine was also first to publish two issues per month from 1981 through 1986.
In addition, Play Meter was first to institute awards for excellence in manufacturing starting in 1980 and first to establish an Operator of the Year Award in 1989. In 1980, Play Meter was first to start an industry trade show in the spring geared to operators: the Amusement Operators Expo (AOE).
When Hurricane Katrina devastated its home city of New Orleans in 2005, Play Meter never missed publishing an issue, despite staff members working remotely from five states to stay on schedule.
Lally said, “I wish to thank my dedicated staff, long-time readers, and industry members I have worked with over the years. This industry is one in which long-lasting relationships are formed and stepping away was a difficult decision. I am looking forward to having the freedom to spend more time with my family and doing things I have been wanting to do for a long time.”
Lally has been at the helm of the magazine since December 1984. Her late husband, Ralph C. Lally II, began the magazine to serve the operating community; the first issue appeared in December 1974. The last issue is the June 2018 issue.
Play Meter has continued on its mission to serve the industry through the loss of its founder, technological changes affecting the amusement business, the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and a challenging business climate post-recession.
At present negotiations are ongoing for a possible new future for Play Meter.