Glossary of magazine terms and jargon

This is a glossary of terms and jargon used in magazines and magazine publishing. It has been quoted in Mag Scene, the careers guide from PPA Careers. NB: terminology varies between industries, titles and internationally
Use Ctrl-F to find specific words on this page.
3DAP Digital Data Delivery for Australian Publications, an industry committee ( that developed a digital production workflow standard for computer-to-plate based on Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF)
4/2 or 4 back 2 printing 4 colours on one side of a sheet or web of paper and 2 on the other
A series or A sizes metric paper sizes based on A0 being 1 sq metre. For magazines, most common sizes are A4 (210 x 297mm) for consumer magazines and A3 (297 x 420mm) for tabloid weekly magazines
A4 metric paper size (210mm by 297mm). Most consumer magazines are slightly smaller or larger than this
ABC Audit Bureau of Circulation. Organisation founded in 1931. Funded by publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies to verify publishers' circulation claims
ABC1 readership of a magazine that falls within A, B and C1 socioeconomic groupings. A (upper middle-class, 3% of population), B (middle class, 14%) and C1 (lower middle class, 26%) judged by employment of head of household. ABC1 men form the main target group for much of the advertising industry. Other groups: C2 (skilled working class, 25%), D (working class, 19%), and E (those at lowest levels of subsistence, 13%). There are about 45 million aged over 16 in the UK and 22 million households
ABM see American Business Media
ACORN A Classification of Residential Neighbourhoods. Marketing segmentation technique that groups all 1.9 million UK postcodes according to five categories. These are: wealthy achievers (25.1% of the population); urban prosperity (10.7%); comfortably off (26.6%); moderate means (14.5%); and hard-pressed (22.4%). In turn, these are split into 17 groups (the wealthy category, for example, becomes wealthy executives; affluent greys; flourishing families); and 56 types. The segmentation is done using census data analysed by 125 demographic statistics and 287 lifestyle variables. Developed by CACI
ACPM Alliance pour les chiffres de la presse et des medias. Organisation that measures readership figures in France. List of top 300 magazines in France (2015-16)
ABM American Business Media represents publishers of trade titles in US
Acrobat Document reader from Adobe. Originating company makes portable document format (PDF) file from wordprocessor or DTP file using distiller. PDF can then be distributed electronically and read by user, independent of other software and the need for compatible hardware
Adobe US software developer. Merged with Aldus. Products include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, PageMaker, Acrobat and Capture
advertorial advertising material that is designed to look like editorial. In the UK, this is covered by a BSME code of practice and must be labelled as 'advertising promotion'.The term was in widespread use by the mid-1980s
affinity sales magazines sold in specialised shops, where the title's content is relevant to the shop's products or services. For example, a museum might sell History magazine
where one website will refer its users to another that sells related products. For example, might refer people to Amazon to buy books about magazines. The e-commerce site shares profits with the referring website
agency discount discount offered by publishers to advertising agencies
AOP Association of Online Publishers.
APA Association of Publishing Agencies. Trade body representing contract publishers affiliated to the PPA that has since been superseded by the Content Marketing Association
artistic photographs phrase used to describes the nude images published in mainstream British men's magazines, such as London Opinion, Lilliput and Men Only, from the late 1930s (eg L. Opinion, Sept 1941, p63)
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Accepted method for describing text in computer systems
Association of Publishing Agencies (APA) trade body representing contract publishers affiliated to the PPA that has since been superseded by the Content Marketing Association
arrears 1. debts, usually unpaid advertising revenue
2. issues of a magazine sent after the subscription has expired. ABC rules allow these to count as sales for up to three months
art paper woodfree, coated paper used for quality colour printing
audience duplication two magazines that reach the identical audience
audit check by an independent organisation, such as the ABC or BPA, of copy sales or website traffic
average net paid circulation the average number of copies of a title sold per issue. Term often used by audit bureaux, such as ABC or BPA

B2B business-to-business
backbone US term for the bound edge of a magazine or book (spine in UK)
back-up copy of data kept in case the working version is damaged
bad debt money owed that is long overdue and unlikely to be paid
BAIE British Association of Industrial Editors
BPIF British Printing Industries Federation
banner advertisement, usually at the top of a web page, which leads to the advertiser's website
bar code strip of bars printed on covers. Used to track sales by retailers
base line imaginary line on which a line of letters sits
BC (OBC) back cover
Beachcomber Long-standing column in the Daily Express written by various people over the years
Beaverbrook, Lord Canadian Max Aitken (1879-1964) who built up the Daily Express empire. Credited with playing a part in installing three British prime ministers - Bonar Law, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. Was a minister in Churchill's wartime cabinet. Beaverbrook was the inspiration for Evelyn Waugh's Lord Copper in Scoop
bimonthly published every other month
bingo card postcard insert that allows readers to request information about advertisers. Requests are sent on by the magazine to advertisers as sales leads. A way of gauging reader response to adverts
bit map image described as a set of coloured dots/pixels
BIPAD unique, five-digit number assigned to news-stand magazines in the US. Part of the Universal Product Code given to supermarket products. Used for billing and credits for unsold copies. System is administered by BIPAD Inc, part of Harrington Associates
biweekly published every two weeks or twice a month.
(The ) Black Glasshouse 1950s nickname for the former Daily Express building in Fleet Street. See Black Lubyanka
(The) Black Lubyanka (Lubianka) Private Eye nickname for the modernist/art deco former Daily Express building at 121-128 Fleet Street in London. Commissioned by Lord Beaverbrook and designed by architects Sir Owen Williams (glass exterior) and Robert Atkinson (interior). Built in 1932. Used for filming of The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961). Now occupied by the bank, Goldman Sachs. The Express moved to offices on the south-east side of Blackfriars bridge (the Grey Lubianka) and after more cost-cutting under Northern & Shell, 10 Lower Thames Street
bleed printed matter that extends beyond the trimmed edge of a page. The bleed area is usually 3mm beyond the trimmed size of a page
blow-in card US term for a loose insert – a printed card ‘blown’ into a magazine rather than bound in
Blue Fin Name of the purpose-built building occupied by IPC when it movd out of King's Reach Tower in 2007. Time Warner businesses occupied 10 of the 12 floors. The Blue Fin Building is at 110 Southwark Street, London SE1. The name was chosen from 300 entries in a staff competition. It was suggested by Jann Fabia, art editor of Web User, and Claire Dorey, assistant editor in design of Country Homes & Interiors. Some 2,000 blue aluminium fins cover the front of the building to control sunlight. In 2015, the company announced it was selling the building
blueline proof made from (black) printing film that is folded to form a magazine section. Once this is approved printing plates will be made
body copy main text on a page
book short for a magazine
bound-in a sheet of paper or card that is attached to a magazine during the binding process. For example, it may be a sheet of subscriptions cards or an advert on special paper
BPA audits magazines circulations
BPIF British Printing Industries Federation represents 2,500 members accounting for UK's £14bn industry
Brad British Rates and Data. Monthly subscription guide to advertising media (
brand marketing term for a company or product name or logo that evokes certain 'values' or reactions in customers that encourage them to buy other products bearing the name. So, Loaded could sell beer, Cosmopolitan yoghurt
branded content entertainment or editorial material in the form of articles, films or digital being funded and distributed by a company and featuring its products. Soap operas in the 1950s can be seen as examples, as can the Meerkats websites by VCCP for The term has been around since the mid-1990s in relation to websites.
breakdown analysis of data by certain criteria, for example, sales by geographic area, website traffic by top-level domain
bromide light-sensitive paper used for holding text or images
'Brogue' nickname for the British edition of Vogue
BSME British Society of Magazine Editors
bubble gum reading easy reading; escapist. Tends to apply to reading for teens and pre-teens in their books and magazines
bulk circulation distribution of bundled magazines to an individual addressee
bulk sales selling discounted copies of a periodical to a company, which will often give them away to customers, for example, free newspapers on airlines
Bulk Verification
a division of the ABC that verifies number of copies distributed in bulk
business press publications relevant to a business, industry, occupation, profession or classification rather than a consumer audience
Audit (BPA)
organisation that verifies publisher's circulation claims. BPA was founded in 1931 and is funded by publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies
business-to-business magazine see trade magazine
buyer's guide special section in a title that gives details on products to assist buyers in making comparisons
BVS see Bulk Verification Service

callout text from an article that is displayed on a page to entice readers and break up a page visually (US)
copy (CRC)
artwork ready for the film and plate-making process
card deck a pack of postcard-sized advertisements sold to advertisers and mailed to magazine readers. Mainly used by trade press
Caroline fictional woman envisaged by editor Beatrix Miller as the typical reader for her editorial style guide on Queen magazine from about 1960. Queen's owner, Jocelyn Stevens, used the name again for the pirate radio station Radion Caroline, which he backed financially
Cassandra column in the Daily Mirror newspaper made famous from 1935 to 1967 by William Connor
CD-R Compact Disc Recordable: CD that can be written to until it is full. Once full, data cannot be erased or written over
CD-Ram Compact Disc Random Access Memory. Technology from Philips that enables users to save information to CDs in the same way as floppy discs
CD-Rom Compact Disc Read-Only Memory. CD from which information can be read by the user, but not recorded
CD-Rom magazine content on a CD-Rom presented in a magazine-like way. Format used from about 1993-2000 in US and UK, but failed to establish itself as a business model. See 'Into the digital world'
CD-RW see CD-Ram
centre spread middle two pages of a stapled magazine. Often sold to premium advertisers or used as an editorial feature
Ceros software for digital magazines developed by Applecart Solutions. Used for digital-only launch Monkey (2006) from Dennis and The Lancet (2007), among others
charter subscription subscription offer in launch issue that promises no price rises for subsequent renewals
charticle a short article based on a chart. Used in US magazine Forbes in the mid-1990s
checkerboard (US) thankfully rare layout where quarter-page advertising is alternated with editorial text and placed diagonally on a page or spread
church and state a metaphor for the division between the editorial (church) and advertising (state) sides of publishing to prevent commercial pressures from influencing editorial decisions
churn rate of turnover a year of subscribers
circulation the number of copies of a periodical sold (or distributed in the case of a free title, or delivered by controlled circulation). Circulations of larger titles are vetted by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Beware of people using the term when they mean the print run, or the number of copies sent out to retailers (many of these will be returned unsold)
circulation value see retail sales value
classified advertising advertising sold by the line or column centimetre (as opposed to display advertising). Adverts grouped according to content
cluster publishing build other titles around a successful magazine to protect it from competitors by controlling market share in readers and advertisers. A strategy used by IPC that failed to protect Woman and Woman's Own from German groups in 1980s
CMYK four colours (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) used in the standard printing process. In theory, CMY should produce black, but in practice the black ink is needed for depth and contrast
coated paper paper coated with a mixture of china clay, latex or other materials to give a smooth finish for printing. Usually used for magazines
'College of Cardinals' nickname for the panel of leader writers at the Financial Times (used by editor Lionel Barber on BBC Radio 4's The Media Show, 12 November 2008). The paper's afternoon news conference is sometimes referred to as 'prayers'
colour depth number of colours used in a picture file. The more bits available for each pixel, the more colours available: 4 bits for 16 colours; 8 bits for 256; 16 bits can generate 65,536; 24 bits can describe almost 17 million, more than can be distinguished by the human eye
colour proof representation of how a colour page will be printed. Proofs may be made using the printing film or from the digital page files
column centimetre
area which is one standard column wide and one cm (inch) deep. Basic unit of classified ad sales
commission pay to a magazine's advertising staff or agent for bringing in business. Often a percentage of salary for staff once targets met
complimentary copy free copy of a magazine sent to potential advertisers, the press or editorial contributors
consumer magazines titles aimed at the general public covering a broad range of topics
consumer specialist magazines titles aimed at a targeted audience about a specific topic, for example, hobby magazines
content editorial matter
contra deal when a publisher trades advertising space for goods
contract publishing publishing magazines under contract to a non-publishing company, for example, the AA Magazine is published by John Brown Citrus on behalf of the Automobile Association for its customers. Contract publishers profiled
contributing editor editor or writer who is not on magazine's office staff. Will often be a former senior staff member or a recognised person in a specific field
controlled circulation free copies of a publication sent to individuals who meet stated criteria
conversion a subscriber's first renewal. Conversion rates are usually much lower than later renewal rates
'Convict 99' 'the most famous serial in the world' published from February 1892 in Alfred Harmsworth's Answers to Correspondents. It was written by Marie Connor Leighton and her husband Robert Connor Leighton, who worked on Answers. It was published as a book with illustrations by Stanley L. Wood in 1898 and later serialised in Harmsworth's Daily Mail, along with many other Connor Leighton stories
cookie computer file that stores personal information about a person's use of the web
copy editorial matter: text and pictures
copy editor see sub-editor
copyright the legal ownership of a creative work
copy supervisor see chief sub
corporate advertising advertising that promotes a company, rather than a product
cost per thousand
cost of reaching 1,000 readers, buyers or viewers with an advert in a publication or website. Used as a measure of effectiveness by advertising buyers
cost ranking comparison based on cost of reaching a certain audience through advertising in a various magazines
cover mount gift stuck to a magazine's front cover
cover-wrap extra cover wrapped around a magazine, usually for advertising purposes. Rare until 2006 in magazines, but common on local newspapers
CPT cost per thousand. The cost of reaching 1,000 readers through taking a standard page of advertising. Used as a comparison between magazines
coverage the percentage of a demographic group reached by a magazine
CRC see camera-ready copy
CRHFM colour, right-hand page (advert) facing (editorial) matter
critical path timeline made up of longest consecutive production processes
Cromalin colour proofing system made by DuPont
crop to trim to a specific size
CTN confectioner, tobacconist and newsagent
CTP computer to plate. Production technique where page files are burned directly on to printing plates without any film
CU coupon. Abbreviation used on a flatplan
custom publishing see contract publishing. Customer publishers profiled
customer publishing see contract publishing. Customer publishers profiled
cyan sky-blue ink used in the CMYK colour printing process