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FIPP 09: Downturn is the conference buzzword – but is the mag industry facing up to it?

May 6th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Magazines

Yesterday at the FIPP World Magazine Conference, William Kerr, board chairman at Meredith Group suggested that ‘being 12 per cent down is the new up’.

The wider economic downturn and the gap between online and traditional offline advertising revenues in the magazine industry have been referred to in every panel I’ve attended so far (though more often than not it’s referred to as ‘challenging times’). But has the mag industry faced facts?

Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, doesn’t seem to think so:

“When we come out of this recession many industries will be the same, but the mass market motor industry and the newspaper industry will be changed forever,” Jones told delegates.

“There are many people in the magazine industry who think it won’t effect them, but we could equally be having these conversations in two or three years time about the magazine industry.”

There will be more cost-cutting, in particular staff reductions, as the industry realises the impact, he added. (GQ’s publisher Conde Nast reportedly axed five per cent of its US magazine staff last October)

For other’s the downturn is a huge opportunity for innovation and restructuring. Google’s UK MD, Matt Brittin, predicted that the current climate would accelerate certain types of user behaviour online. For example, the use of search and free technologies to create their own content.

The challenge for publishers is to monitor these changes and respond to the consumers’ changing needs online – often by embracing new, free technologies themselves, but also by finding new ways to serve up their content that will be found through specific search queries, for instance, or relating to niche topics.

According to Brittin, opportunities exist – with Google’s help of course – within the ‘first downturn in a truly digital age’.

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FIPP 09: How magazines learned to love the web – Grazia and GQ discuss

May 6th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Magazines

Journalists at Grazia are experimenting with a host of real-time reporting tools and techniques, the magazine’s editor-in-chief explained at today’s FIPP World Magazine Congress.

Jane Bruton told delegates of her excitement that reporters were twittering live updates from fashion shows and filing web copy from events.

“We can talk to our readers on a minute-by-minute basis. We get instant feedback if we want to test out a story for our magazine – we can go online, we can go on Twitter,” said Bruton.

“Our fashion teams now – rather than sitting and taking notes – they’re Twittering from the front row, they’re running to the car, typing up instant web reports.

“The readers love it because they’re seeing everything through our eyes.”

Certain elements of the magazine are now web-first, for example, the pictures from the Style Hunter section, which attract hundreds of comments a week from readers.

“They [readers] feel involved, feel closer to the brand and feel closer to us as personalities. We’ve never been afraid of exposing the inner workings of the magazine,” said Bruton, who said the same exposure had been created offline when the magazine spent a week operating in a shopping centre.

“In the current climate the fact that people relate to our personalities and trust our brand is really crucial.”

For fellow panelist and GQ editor Dylan Jones, the key to online success is capturing the same luxury of the print magazine online, he said.

Being online has not changed the editorial stance of the magazine, which has remained central to the design of the website: “I think we’ve cracked it,” he added.

Read: BBC Good Food editorial director Gillian Carter on why the web hasn’t affected print sales.

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British Society of Magazine Editors award winners

November 5th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Magazines

Last night the British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) named its 12 editors of the year along with a host of other awards, including an honorary award for publisher Felix Dennis.

Courtesy of the relaunched BSME website, here’s the full list of winners:

Editors of the year
Customer magazines (consumer readership) – Alec Marsh, Private Banking

Women’s magazines (monthly or less frequent) – Alexandra Shulman, Vogue

Women’s magazines (weekly or fortnightly) – Ali Hall, Look

Youth magazines – Beccy Bland, Sparkle World

Business & professional magazines – Danny Rogers, PR Week

Business & professional magazines (non-weekly) – Dickon Ross, Engineering & Technology

Men’s magazines – Dylan Jones, GQ

Entertainment & celebrity magazines – Mark Dinning, Empire

Lifestyle magazines – Maureen Rice, Psychologies

Special interest & current affairs magazines – Michael Harris, Golf Monthly

Newspaper magazines – Michelle Lavery, Telegraph Magazine

Customer magazines (business readership) – Paul Simpson, DCM

Others
Business magazine website of the year – Andre Rickerby, Drapersonline.com

Consumer magazine website of the year – David Moynihan, NME.com

The Mark Boxer Award – Felix Dennis

Editors’ editor of the year – Jane Bruton, editor-in-chief, Grazia

Art director of the year – Marissa Bourke, Elle

Launch of the year – Phil Hilton, ShortList

Campaign of the year – Rachel Downey, Time Out for Training campaign, Nursing Times

Innovation/Brand-building initiative of the year – Stuart Knott, Contact Sensory issue, Contact

The Fiona Macpherson new editor of the year – Tony Chambers, Wallpaper*

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