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#PPAconf: Why cover design matters for the Big Issue

May 10th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Magazines

In the past year, the Big Issue has changed dramatically, regaining its reputation as a “magazine with teeth”, according to editor Paul McNamee.

Speaking at yesterday’s PPA conference in London, he said: “We are a very different magazine than we were a year ago and a radically different magazine from 24 months ago.”

The Big Issue has seen big changes since it teamed up with Dennis Publishing. With editorial now run from Glasgow and one national edition of the magazine, McNamee concentrated on  “the four Cs”, cover, content, columnists and community, to give the magazine some bite.

He told delegates: “The cover was the most important. [A bold cover] could attract a lot of attention and make a lot of noise.

“We had to find a way to find our own space again.”

Simplifying the cover’s design to one element, McNamee showed the delegates how the front page was markedly different to what it was before the magazine’s relaunch. He said: “[The cover has] one, single element to it every week that has power and impact and something to say.”

Along with enlisting footballer Joey Barton as a columnist and strengthening the magazine’s relationship with its vendors, McNamee said he believed the end product is something which will stand the test of time.

“We’ve been going for 21 years now – hopefully, we’ll be around for another few yet.”

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#PPAconf: How the Stylist got to know its readers

May 10th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events, Magazines

For its 100th issue, women’s magazine Stylist wanted to try something completely different.

In a risky move that eventually paid off, the magazine put out a call to its readers to supply the content. What followed was an issue which got to grips with exactly what the readers wanted in a way quite unlike anything which had done before.

Lisa Smosarski, Stylist’s editor-in-chief, told delegates at yesterday’s PPA conference: “Through this process, we got to know [the readers] better than we could have in any other way. We were absolutely delighted with the product in the end.”

Handing editorial decisions over to the readers was a daunting prospect, but one which inevitably paid off for the women’s magazine. Equally daunting was handing over the reins to celebrity chef Nigella Lawson for an edition which took eight months to put together, a time-scale almost unheard of in the world of publishing, Smosarski said.

“We hadn’t expected that she’d spend eight months working on this issue – at times we thought we’d absolutely lost the plot. But spending time means you get something that bit more special,” she said. The issue was a commercial success and the caramel-covered Nigella on the cover made national news.

Just as the 100th issue changed Stylist’s dynamic with their readers, the Nigella issue changed their dynamic with celebrities. Smosarski said: “We learnt that there would be a few projects throughout our year that we should spent that much time on.”

Branding themselves “Britain’s thinking women’s weekly”, Smorsarski explained how Stylist’s risk-taking will take them to the next level in the coming year. She said: “We’re pretty confident this is going to be our most important year yet.”

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Flipboard goes French with latest update

March 5th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick

Flipboard, the iPad and iPhone app which creates a magazine out of friends’ social network updates, now supports the French language following its latest upgrade to version 1.8.

Although a French content guide was released in December, this is the first time that the app’s core text has been translated into another language.

Also included in this update is the popular Cover Stories personalised feed feature, which highlights content curated from friends’ reading links. Cover Stories was first introduced on the iPhone edition of Flipboard.

Readers of Flipboard in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Ireland, France, Hong Kong and Taiwan can also access country-specific international content guides.

According to Flipboard’s latest press release, other new features include:

  • A third page of tiles provides a home for all your favorite content. This is one of the most-requested features from Flipboard fans.
  • New typography and photo layouts will make your Flipboard even more beautiful.
  • Easy set-up lets you pick topics of interest and instantly build your Flipboard with great stuff to read.
  • International Content Guides offer hundreds of recommendations for readers in the UK and Ireland, Canada, Australia, France, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Tap on the red ribbon to choose your Content Guide edition.
  • All-new French-language edition. We launched a French Content Guide back in December, but now the app itself is in French, too. You’ll get it if your device language is set to French.
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Essex hyperlocal website teams up with Archant to launch magazine

A hyperlocal website in Essex has teamed up with regional newspaper publisher Archant to launch a print edition.

EverythingEppingForest.co.uk, which was founded in 2008 by local journalist David Jackman, will bring out the glossy monthly magazine from next month.

Printed by Archant, it will be delivered to 10,000 homes in the area and will include local community news and information, events and advertising.

In a statement published on the Everything Epping Forest website (not directly linkable – scroll down), Archant London commercial director Tony Little said: “We are delighted to have set up this partnership with David who is a much-respected local journalist, with important contacts in the local area.

“His success with Everything Epping Forest should be applauded and we are delighted to get involved with such a successful community-focused initiative.”

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Future PLC ‘considering options’ for US division

September 29th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Editors' pick, Magazines

Magazine publisher Future has said it is “considering a wider range of strategic options” for its US division in light of “challenging” conditions for the business.

In pre-close trading update the publisher said its position in the US “is significantly more challenging” than the UK. In July Future announced plans to “accelerate the transition of Future US into a primarily digital business”.

But this week, in a report preceding full-year earnings in November, the group said trading conditions in the US “reflecting ongoing weakness and decreasing visibility at newsstand” means the board is now considering a wider range of strategic options. PaidContent reports that the language used suggests the company “now may look to sell its business there”.

The publisher also confirmed that 10 per cent of its workforce has been cut in the UK and worldwide, which equals around 100 jobs, as part of its restructure to focus on digital and print efficiencies.

The company also claims in the latest report that the trends identified in its Interim Management Statement, published in July, have continued.

Revenues for the twelve months ending 30 September 2011 are expected to be down 6 per cent on last year, in constant currency.  The Board remains comfortable with market expectations of results for 2011, subject only to any period-end adjustment required in relation to US newsstand returns, beyond those already announced and incorporated into fourth quarter estimates.

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Voluntary redundancies as Future Publishing focuses on digital

July 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Journalism, Magazines

Magazine publisher Future PLC is to cut around 100 jobs based in the UK and worldwide – in a move favouring digital over print.

The job losses are expected due to “restructuring” in the company, following a 5 per cent circulation revenue fall in the past nine months.

In a statement, it said the websites were performing well and the main problems were in America.

In an email to staff, Future Publishing UK CEO, Mark Wood, said restructure would be likely to result in about 10 per cent of the firm’s workforce being made redundant. This however, would mostly be through voluntary redundancies.

The company – which publishes around 80 magazines and has 1,000 staff in Bath – said advertising revenue from its websites has offset a decline in print-related income.

The business is executing its operational review of geography and function, to accelerate the move of the US business to one that is a primarily digital business model, simultaneously reducing volatility associated with print data flows, and to reorganise the UK business, re-calibrating it to ensure faster adaptation to digital and more efficient execution of print.

The benefit of these steps will be to improve efficiency, reduce headcount, reduce property requirements, and help accelerate the most promising areas of digital product development.

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NME to produce a free online version of its magazine

February 10th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Magazines, Media releases

NME has teamed up with John Menzies Digital to launch an online version of the popular music magazine, it was announced in a release today.

Online subscribers will receive a free, digital copy of the full magazine by email ‘every week in the run up to festival season’. The campaign aims to target 15-24 year olds who visit the website but do not buy the print version. After the initial offer, readers will pay to receive the email version.

The move builds on the success of NME.com and will deliver the product to an audience that is ‘currently missing out’, NME publishing director, Paul Cheal, said in the release.

“By working with John Menzies Digital, we can get NME – and all it has to offer in print – to a core group of music fans, as well as offer significant added value to advertisers at no additional cost,” Cheal added.

John Menzies Digital launched last summer and offers a range of paid-for magazines for download.

“NME is a huge brand in the music market and one that we are very excited to be working with, Sarah Clegg, John Menzies Digital managing director, said in the release.

“Through this unique initiative with NME we will be able to demonstrate the value of digital content and delivery to consumers who decide to access NME’s print edition via our digital platform. We look forward to seeing the positive impact created through offering the magazine via this new channel,” she said.

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