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The Business of Magazines #4

Discussion in 'Magazines' started by Thread Manager, Sep 14, 2017.

  1. Hafyiez wafa

    Hafyiez wafa Active Member

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  2. PowerDroid

    PowerDroid Member

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    I heard a bunch of rumors but I don't think there is any 'official' announcement. Maybe it's the physical magazine that is ending while they will keep the website up and running.
    Can a digital fashion magazine thrive in this day and age though?
     
  3. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure McCarthy is turning in his grave. The unfortunate death of such a strong brand. Of course most of the blame lies on Tonchi, but Anna and her cohorts are also at fault. It's really baffling that nobody rallied to buy it, not even the other two names who wanted to buy it initially off CN. That is of course if this 'rumour' is in fact true.....
     
  4. amby

    amby Well-Known Member

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  5. aracic

    aracic Moderator

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    Such sad news! According to Gemma Ward's Instagram, Australian InStyle and Elle are closing down as well...
    I had no idea that Australian glossies were doing this bad so the news were quite shocking at first. I know we're all aware of the death of print but seeing it unfold so quickly these past few days, first W (finally) and now all these titles in Australia... it's a massive loss. I hope that fashion publications can somehow recover from all this, cause I refuse to believe that print will die off completely!
     
  6. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    That's the thing - if digital magazines were in demand, there'd be people setting up their own small-scale titles all over the place.
     
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  7. SLFC

    SLFC Well-Known Member

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    Some very sad news for Australian models and photographers. I'm quite shocked, I didn't see this coming at all. There weren't very many other publications that promoted local talent quite like those two publications did.
     
  8. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    Edwina has shown pure class when it came to involving Kirstie Clements with Vogue Australia's anniversary, so I'm sure she will invite typically 'off-limit' photographers to shoot for Vogue and GQ. The Australian pool of hairstylists and MUAs are thankfully small-ish, so I think they'll be fine to a degree. Sadly I predict that some model agencies will shut down, especially when you consider that Elle and Harper's used to do a lot of multi-girl editorials - at least one in each issue.

    Oddly enough, and I speak from insider knowledge here, a digital magazine can be quite impressive if it's an extension of a strong brand that was launched as website-only. I suppose it's because readers see it as a value-add.
    But for some reason, a digital magazine stemming from a print magazine just doesn't seem to have the same effect and I think much of it has to do with the fact that they replicate the content. E.G. US Vogue publishing their cover feature and most prime content of the issue online (for free) yet somehow expect someone to pay for a print or digital magazine. The reasoning is skewed.
     
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  9. 8eight

    8eight Well-Known Member

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    @Benn98 What digital magazines would you class as a success?
     
  10. 8eight

    8eight Well-Known Member

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    Farrah has done an interview with WWD if anyone can post?
     
  11. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    That was borne by a website? Hypebeast magazine. Yes, I know, not on our radar. LOL. And we'd need analytics, which in this case can only be supplied by Issuu or Hypebeast themselves.

    More on the (not so sudden) shutdown of those Australian magazines. I'm confused with this writer's assessment of laying all the blame on Bauer and nothing on the new owner. Last month before the sale, Bauer said they're pausing print on these titles, but hoped to return them to the newsstand in Sept/Oct. If sale negotiations started back in April, then surely the new owners must've known of this agreement, or better yet, probably even laid out the terms of pausing print themselves as part of the deal. And now, because they've seen that advertising probably won't return until 2021, they've decided to finally pull the plug and get rid of the staff they've kept hanging for months. Both companies are at fault imo, Bauer for leaving the staff in the lurch, and Mercury for buying staff and instantly sacking them.

    Good riddance to the Bauers, the family that wrecked Australia’s magazine industry

    Yesterday, Bauer Media closed eight of the most famous magazines in Australia. Mumbrella’s Tim Burrowes assesses where this leaves the industry.

    July 22, 2020 9:12
    by TIM BURROWES

    It says a lot about how far – and how fast – the Australian magazine industry has fallen that when Bauer’s press release arrived on Tuesday morning, it didn’t come as a surprise.

    From the top end of the market, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and InStyle.

    From the health sector, Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Good Health.

    And from the trashier end, NW and OK.

    I’ll remember InStyle for putting on one of the glitziest magazine gala nights I’ve been to.

    I’ll think of Men’s Health as a motivational, and occasionally inspirational, source of reasons to get back on a health kick.

    And NW will be remembered as the waste of space typified by its final cover – made up stories about Brad Pitt (not) having a lovechild, Tom Cruise (not) getting married, and Hamish Blake (not) expecting a third baby.

    [​IMG]
    NW – A work of fiction until the end

    With the titles already suspended, there will be no final goodbye edition to readers.

    But it will hopefully be the last piece of bad news we hear before the name Bauer disappears from the Australian media industry as the company rebrands in Australia and starts again under its new ownership.

    And it seems fitting that the end should have come in as classless a way as possible, as that sums up the last eight years of Bauer family proprietorship.

    When the COVID emergency led Bauer to suspend the magazine titles back in April, around 70 staff were made redundant and a similar number stood down.

    At the time, few believed that the titles would come back, and others suspected the reason for suspending rather than closing was a cynical one.

    Bauer told those stood down staff that it was unable to get them the government’s JobKeeper payments – the German parent company was either unwilling or unable to prove its revenues had fallen sufficiently for them to qualify.

    It left those staff in a horrible limbo – without income but still technically employed.

    The staff faced a dilemma – resign to try to access JobSeeker payments, or hang on in the hopes of a redundancy payout.

    Now though, the Bauer family has left the building. The company is now in the hands of private equity firm Mercury Capital.

    The sale was completed on Friday. And the first priority for the new owners was to do the humane thing and put the stood down staff out of their misery. I wonder how much the Bauers saved on the redundancy payments.

    Next on the list – take down the Bauer sign from the offices in Park Street, Sydney. The name is tainted.

    Soon the company once known as Australian Consolidated Press, then ACP Magazines, before it absorbed Emap Australia and Pacific Magazines along the way, will change its name once more.

    It’s the end of a disastrous eight years which saw the Bauer family’s half a billion dollar purchase price incinerated – they got back less than a tenth of that when they sold to Mercury, and would have had several loss-making years along the way.

    But this can’t be explained by bad timing.

    Bauer completed the purchase in September 2012, from close-to-bankruptcy Nine Entertainment Co.

    By then the worst of the GFC was over. Bauer should have known what it was getting into – all the trends for the magazine industry were already in place.

    The Hamburg-based company, led by Yvonne Bauer, seemed to assume it could replicate the business models that worked so well in making it a powerhouse in Europe. This included strong reader revenues and cheap, repurposable content.

    But they failed to take into account the Australian magazine market’s heavier reliance on advertising dollars rather than reader revenue.

    They struggled with poor local management, including the notorious stint of CEO David Goodchild who continued to run H Bauer Publishing in the UK from the side of his desk too.

    And they settled upon a baffling digital strategy which took the company into an online cul-de-sac from which it is yet to emerge.

    Rather than building websites to make the most of its many famous mastheads, it launched the weaker, aggregated “Now to Love” network, consolidating content from the magazines.

    Even today, a reader of Australian Women’s Weekly might go online to search for the title, but after one click would fall out of the AWW section, into Now To Love, and with a second click be stranded within Elle content. I just tried it, and that’s what happened to me.

    That’s no way of building habits beyond print.

    And that’s the biggest wound that Bauer will leave behind. The decade just gone was crucial for the traditional media to respond to the changing world. Radio dived into podcasting and streaming. Newspapers developed digital subscription strategies. The TV networks got into the video-on-demand game. The Australian magazine sector never got to grips with its present, let alone the future.

    As the biggest player in the market even before the debacle of buying, then trying to renege on buying, Pac Mags, Bauer made the weather for the magazine sector locally.

    Yet it did little of the heavy lifting required to market the medium, while rival sectors increased their investments.

    Even as the television industry was getting its act together with the launch of Think TV, Magazine Publishers Australia – the alliance of Bauer, Pac Mags and News Corp – went backwards.

    Eventually it became Magazine Networks and faded further from view until it became a trade marketing body with no permanent staff. The savings on this were costly for the whole sector.

    It doesn’t matter how effective a medium is, or how passionate readers are – the message, heard and understood, from media agencies was that this was a medium in retreat. They invested their clients’ ad dollars elsewhere.

    The signals of weakness from magazines were everywhere.

    Bauer was a key player in the coordinated withdrawal by publishers from the Audited Media Association of Australia in 2016. Hating the quarterly trade press headlines about declining circulations, the magazine players seemed to figure that no coverage would be better than negative coverage.

    It was a nuclear strike against transparency. So the medium disappeared even further from advertisers’ sights. The lack of bad news didn’t stop the agencies turning away from magazines – they simply forgot they were there.

    And along the way, Bauer kept on closing titles. The list of mastheads they closed over the last eight years is longer than the list of those still open.

    Eight in a day is still some kind of record though.

    It ends the relationship with US company Hearst, which licensed many of those brands including Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Men’s Health and Women’s Health.

    I suspect that’s a reason why those mastheads – along with InStyle, licensed from Meredith Corporation – were particularly vulnerable.

    In good times, that sort of franchise deal makes sense – the local publisher gets syndicated international content and just as importantly, familiarity for the international fashion brands as an appropriate place to advertise.

    With franchised titles, a publisher is usually committed not only to sharing a certain percentage of revenue (perhaps 8%) with the masthead owner, but also they may be expected to deliver a minimum guarantee. In this market, who’d give that?

    However, the closures also signal a punctuation mark.

    CEO Brendon Hill has, until now, been a middle manager, forced to apologise (or more often remain silent) for the decisions of his bosses in Germany. The embarrassment of trying to avoid completing the Pac Mags purchase must have been excruciating.

    [​IMG]
    Hill: No longer a middle manager

    Now though, he works for Mercury, not the Bauer family. We’ll get to see what he can achieve with a supportive owner.

    Often, being owned by private equity can spell bad news for staff. The model can be to strip out costs, artificially drive up profits and exit on a higher multiple in four or five years.

    That won’t work for Mercury. There’s little fat left to cut. They’ll need to nurture the company instead.

    And it helps that they paid so little for the asset. That means that once the company returns to profitability, there will be more dollars to invest in growth rather than repaying the original investment.

    Soon, the company will have a new name. And it will still be Australia’s biggest magazine publisher.

    And it owns some of the greatest media properties of all time. Australian Women’s Weekly, the jewel in the crown, still carries immense kudos. Luckily, brands are hard to kill.

    Nonetheless, it’s a horrible time to be setting out on the journey. Advertising revenues were down for the sector by nearly 40% in April and 33% in June. Like the joke about the lost tourist looking for directions, if I were them, I wouldn’t start from here.

    Nonetheless, it is a new start.

    Mumbrella
     
  12. MissMagAddict

    MissMagAddict The future is stupid

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    Media People: Farrah Storr Leads a
    Quiet Revolution at Elle U.K.

    For years, Storr has been working with the U.K.'s Social Mobility Commission to attract more diverse talent to the media. Now, she's ready to make a louder statement and bring that work to the pages of Elle U.K.


    LONDON — One year into her editorship at Elle U.K., Farrah Storr is ready to pour more of herself into the magazine.

    The monthly title’s big September issue, which makes its debut today, is the culmination of one of her biggest missions: Getting the most diverse pool of talent possible through the doors of media companies.

    That’s why she worked alongside Britain’s Social Mobility Commission to get 12 students from underprivileged socio-economic areas in the country to join the Elle team in putting together — via Zoom — what has been considered the most important issue of the year.

    The students — who were paid a junior freelancer’s fee for the hours spent on the project — were mentored by members of the Elle team, and virtually attended the magazine’s cover shoot with Adwoa Aboah. They also got to ask questions, and submitted artwork inspired by Aboah, one of which will feature in the issue.

    The ultimate aim? To get young women to understand that this is a media career path available to them, should they wish to take it on.

    The project comes in the wake of the anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, and a reckoning in the media and fashion industries, which are both looking at diversity in a new light.

    This is no p.r. stunt, however, nor is it a knee-jerk move to the current climate.

    Storr has been working behind the scenes with the Social Mobility Commission for several years to identify ways to attract talent from more varied backgrounds into magazine offices — and to ensure these newcomers feel welcome and eager to stick around once they make it through the glass doors of the Hearst building in London.

    One of the first initiatives she introduced was a scholarship program, which now runs across Hearst, offering paid internships to students.

    “It’s constantly thinking, ‘I don’t want somebody on my watch coming into the office, being worried that they can’t afford a cup of coffee,'” said Storr in an interview, explaining that part of the program offers paid-for accommodation, as part of a partnership with Spare Room, as well as paid travel and living expenses.

    It’s a cause that’s close to her heart, as someone who grew up in the suburban city of Salford, near Manchester, England, where a career in media didn’t seem like an option for a young woman of Pakistani-English heritage like her. She didn’t have connections, easy access to London or any role models who looked like her.

    She still managed to build a career — by way of hard work and many an unpaid internship — quickly scaling her way up the ladder with roles at a number of titles, ranging from Woman & Home, to Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan, where she served as editor in chief and received multiple awards for her work including Editor of the Year in the 2018 Professional Publishers Association Awards and the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards.

    The Elle role marks her major foray into fashion, which she said felt too intimidating a space to crack during the earlier years of her career. Now that she’s in, Storr has spent her first year leading a more quiet kind of revolution.

    She is not the kind of editor to swoop in and impose her vision. Instead, Storr listened, observed and has gradually been developing a strategy that involves plenty of feel-good fashion and “a beating features heart,” with intimate stories centered around every aspect of women’s lives.

    As she comes into her second year, she’s ready to shout a little louder, starting with this September issue, which features a smiling, bright-eyed Aboah wearing an optimistic explosion of color and pattern, perhaps a visual signifier of Storr’s intention to shine a brighter light on the friendlier, more inclusive side of fashion.

    Here, Storr talks WWD through the September issue, and her vision for a new media world.

    WWD: What were your first impressions coming into the fashion landscape?

    Farrah Storr: To me, fashion was always this scary place where people were cruel and aloof, so the cheering thing was to find that it’s full of some of the smartest people in journalism, there’s a real sense of sisterhood in it, but that’s not the narrative that’s always been communicated to the wider world. That, of course, could be because I’ve come at it at a very senior level, but I don’t think that’s communicated to younger generations. Certainly, when I was growing up, fashion was very good at assuming this very aloof pose, which deters people, and certainly people like me, from wanting to enter into that world. You feel you don’t look the right way, you’re not the right size, you haven’t got the right accent.

    WWD: What are some of the biggest barriers of entry into the U.K. media industry?

    F.S.: The fact that magazines are largely based in London creates its own divide. You’ve got to have the means in order to get down here. Fortunately, that whole era of these unpaid internships has largely gone, but there’s still a huge amount of work to be done on attracting diverse talent. People think there’s a certain CV you have to have, a certain path you have to tread to get into this industry.

    But do you need a degree? Of course university is brilliant and college can inspire you and support you, but for some people raw talent is enough when it comes to writing, and styling, too.

    What happened as a consequence of COVID-19 is that we know we can all work remotely. I think now employers will look at people and go, “Well, maybe they don’t have to live in London.” They can join the conversation, they can join the team now and it doesn’t really make a difference where they are. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s going to be really hard, but in terms of those opportunities, and breaking down barriers to entry in the media I do think this is going to be a positive consequence if editors and businesses lean into it. If they realize there’s opportunity to put our arms around people in this country.

    WWD: What is the current state of the media because of this lack of social mobility in the industry?

    F.S.: The Social Mobility Commission did a report called “Elitist Britain,” which showed that more than 30 percent of leaders in the media come from private education or have an Oxbridge [Oxford and/or Cambridge] degree. That’s not to demonize people who come from that background — not at all — but it is to say that it makes it quite difficult if you are someone, like me, from Salford to see where your place might be. It also worries me a little bit, because the media is supposed to represent the nation, and I don’t think we’ll be able to do that if everyone who’s in the media is the same [in terms of both] race and class. There are important conversations going on about race at the moment that are long overdue, but there’s also that really interesting intersection of considering race, gender, disability and socio-economic background together. Where they all intersect, they all compound one another.

    We see it in the U.S. and we see it here, too. It’s a pretty divided country, our politics are divided, we are divided by class and the media is supposed to represent as wide a range of people and opinions and voices and backgrounds and races as possible. I’m not sure we do a good enough job of it, and of course it can be dangerous if the media is only speaking to one sector of society. That’s where alienation and anger happen. The media has a duty here, I think. We’ve got to engage as many communities as possible. It’s important and it’s why I joined the Social Mobility Commission and why we did this project for our big September issue.

    WWD: What are some practical steps senior editors can take to spearhead change in their offices?

    F.S.: First off, language can be quite off-putting and dangerous. You have to be very careful with your words — even the fact that we call those magazines “glossy” magazines. When I worked in this company years ago, everybody looked a certain way, everybody was that word “polished,” so the messaging is quite clear that to get ahead, you need to be a certain way. Even if nobody said that to you, those are the messages you absorb as a young journalist coming through. So we have to make sure we create environments where people feel they can belong and have a voice, whether you agree with them or not. There isn’t a certain way to be or a certain way to look, there isn’t a certain accent that is going to ensure you’re going to get to the top.

    It’s constantly looking at situations and asking, “How can we do better?” “How can we make someone feel more comfortable?” Sometimes, it’s identifying those people in your team, or students coming through and saying, “I think this person needs help, so I’m going to go out of my way and I’m going to specifically help them.”

    It’s being active. One of the things I did at Cosmo, and what we do at Elle, is put on our Instagram that we are looking for writers because putting jobs on corporate web sites is not enough. Some students don’t even know to look at corporate web sites.

    WWD: Why did you decide to incorporate your work with the Social Mobility Commission into this September issue?

    F.S.: I had been wanting to take Elle on the road, and go to different areas that are overshadowed.

    Across the U.K. there are areas that are designated as “cold” spots: Nobody goes there and there’s a very thin seam of opportunities, particularly for students coming out of education. So we put a call out to schools in those areas, and we said that we would love to mentor 12 students through the process of putting together our big September issue.

    We are also committed to extending that mentoring program for a year, because what’s important is not to give students access to this world, [then] suddenly take it away. What we’ll do is open up our networks to them. That’s the whole point of the media. They have to open up their little black books.

    WWD: What kind of students did you want to attract for the project?

    F.S.: We were very keen, when we were speaking to teachers, that they didn’t just [take into account] the academic capabilities of students. Also, not all of them know what they want to do, and this was deliberate. We could have someone who’s majoring in maths, but if they could be interested in this project to broaden their horizons as to what could be out there for them, they could be part of this project.

    WWD: What did you learn from working with, and mentoring, this group of students?

    F.S.: The students have a deep focus on body diversity, one of their biggest focuses is wanting to see models who look like them, not just in terms of skin color, but also in terms of shapes and body sizes as well. A lot of them — and this is an incredible sign — are interested in the business side of magazines.

    They have a good grasp on what it takes to get ahead, so my job is to make sure that nothing stands in their way. They’re sharper than I ever was at their age, and that comes from all sorts of reasons. They’ve come of age after the financial crash, and now COVID-19, so they have a really keen eye on the bottom line and that’s brilliant.

    WWD: Why did you pick Adwoa Aboah to be on the cover of the issue?

    F.S.: Adwoa was always one of my dream cover stars and she was brilliant [for this project] because she really cares for young women at every level. The students were part of the cover shoot, they saw her being photographed, she spoke to them constantly, they kind of felt like they know her. She also wrote us quite a breathtaking letter — she called it an anti-graduation speech — where she talks very much about her own experience as a young woman, what she went through at school, both as a woman of color and as someone who was unsure of herself a lot of the time. There was a connection there, she just speaks the language of the people and particularly the language of young women.

    WWD: What did you learn from editing this issue, and from leading your team during lockdown?

    F.S.: We’ve been bolder, we’ve taken more risks and because we’re going through this incredibly human experience together, for me as an editor of a fashion magazine, I’ve realized that fashion is about human beings, and about their stories. So we pivoted that way a bit more, and it was the right thing to do, particularly for Elle. It’s always been a fashion magazine, but it’s about women as well, women’s secret hopes, secret desires, their strengths and frailties.

    These are changes that are going to stick. That’s why it was really important that when we did the mentoring of the September issue, it didn’t end with that issue. These things have got to have longevity, otherwise they don’t work. They become meaningless and they’re all for p.r. and it’s not what I’m about. The changes will continue, you’ll see more of them and it’s just the beginning. I’ve only been at Elle for a year now, and I always say it takes about a year until you start to see what an editor is really thinking, for them to sit back and listen to everybody and read the temperature. I’m not the editor that kind of goes in and says, “Right, we’re doing it my way” because actually we don’t always know the right way.
    source | wwd
     
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  13. Benn98

    Benn98 Well-Known Member

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    Farrah can talk your head off, but I'm glad she got this interview. Much needed exposure.
     
  14. Srdjan

    Srdjan Well-Known Member

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  15. caioherrero

    caioherrero Well-Known Member

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  16. mikel

    mikel Well-Known Member

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    So the cover will be Iselin and Freja by Mikael Jansson right?
     
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  17. MON

    MON Well-Known Member

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    Any news/update on Vogue Singapore?

    I hope their debut would reflect the times. It's rare to debut in such tumultuous times.
     
  18. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    I was thinking back to when Hearst announced they were going to (re)launch French Harper's Bazaar - around the same time that Conde Nast created the French edition of Vanity Fair - but nothing ever seemed to come of it.
     
  19. MON

    MON Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't there also a Harper's Bazaar Italia to launch?
     
  20. mikel

    mikel Well-Known Member

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    I remember reading about that too!
     

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