Magazine publishers

(4130 to BBC)

This is one of six pages about UK consumer magazine publishers (with links to their international owners), listed alphabetically, and their magazines. List of publishers on this page to the right. Consumer magazines and consumer specialist magazines are sold to members of the public through newsagents and subscriptions.

Other pages cover trade and business magazine publishers and customer and custom magazine publishers.

4130 Publishing (Factory Media)

Extreme sports publisher that merged in 2006 to form Factory Media. Based in Dorchester, Dorset, 4130 titles:

  • Ride BMX (9 times a year);
  • Moto (6 times a year);
  • Dig BMX: taken over by 4130 in October 2005;
  • Dirt Mountain Bike (6 times a year);
  • Document Skateboard (9 times a year).

Extreme sports publishers

328 Media Ltd

328 Media was based in Lewes, Sussex. It launched Kiteworld in May 2001 as a worldwide kiteboarding magazine. This now claims to be distributed in more than 60 countries, six times a year and is based in Horsham. It was also carried on Mpora extreme sports magazine portal.

Extreme sports publishers

ACP-NatMags (now National Magazines)

ACP-NatMags was a joint venture set up in December 2004 between the Hearst-owned National Magazine Company and Australia's ACP (now controlled by Bauer) (controlled by Packer family) to publish women's weeklies in the UK. However, in 2008, NatMags bought out ACP's half stake. The joint operation controlled women's weeklies Best and Reveal. Its first launch was Real People (Project Star) in January 2006 into the crowded real lives sector with a £6m marketing budget and extensive research. ACP is the largest publisher in Australia with 65 titles, including local editions of Hearst's women's glossies Cosmopolitan and Harper's Bazaar. It publishes the top-selling women's monthly, Australian Women's Weekly, the country's longest-running magazine, The Bulletin, founded in 1880, and the most popular weekly magazine, Woman's Day.

Action Sports Media / Factory Media

Extreme sports publisher that was part of a three-way merger forming Factory Media in December 2006. ASM head office is in London with editorial offices in Munich, Germany and Anglet, France. Four titles are distributed in 74 countries.

  • Onboard: launched in 1994. Claims to be Europe's best-selling snowboard magazine.
  • Surf Europe: launched in 1999.
  • Kingpin: launched in November 2002. Skateboarding, lifestyle and culture.
  • Cooler (quarterly): surfing for women. Launched summer 2005
Extreme sports publishers

Anthem Publishing Ltd

Anthem Publishing was formed in late 2002 by Jon Bickley, Paul Pettengale and Simon Lewis, who had all worked at Future in Bath. Its first launch was Music Tech in March 2003. It has 10 titles on music technology, homes and holidays, food and drink, and sport. Anthem also does some contract publishing. In October 2010 it bought IPC's Guitar & Bass.

  • Italia (M): for home buyers and people with a passion for the country, its people, culture, food and drink. Published on the first Thursday of every month; launched in November 2004
  • Music Tech (M): practical title for recording musicians, engineers and producers. Launched in 2003 and sold in UK and overseas
  • Sporting Legends : irregular title celebrates sportsmen and sporting achievements, such as George Best, Bobby Moore, superstars of the World Cup and football in the nineties
  • Taste Italia (M): recipes and features on Italian produce and producers; also reviews of wine and restaurants. Published on the first Thursday of the month; launched November 2006
Anthem Publishing's travel titles.

Attic Brand Media

With operations in UK, Germany and Australia, Attic Futura launched Sugar, That’s Life! and Inside Soap before selling them on and being absorbed as part of HFUK. In 2011, a spin-off company was publishing three children’s titles in the UK: National Geographic Kids, football weekly Kick! and Kraze Club. The company went into administration in 2011.

Attic Futura (later Hachette Filipacchi UK, Hearst)

Taken over by Hachette-Filipacchi in 2002. Attic Futura was the European arm of Australian publisher PMP, which had four monthlies aimed at young women, a TV listings weekly and two soap-based titles.

Bauer (H.) Publishing

H. Bauer is a German company that took over Emap's consumer arm in February 2008. It leapt from being the third-largest consumer magazine publisher in the UK to overtake IPC with more than 80 titles and about 25% of the consumer market. For a while, had HBP Media Sales arm selling the advertising in Bauer's UK magazines. H. Bauer claims to be the largest privately-owned magazine publisher in Europe. Bauer's magazines have tended to focus on readers rather than advertisers. Women's weeklies Bella, Take a Break and That's Life! take about 40% market share; its trio of TV titles take near a third of the listings sector. Bauer shook up UK women's weeklies in 1987 with Bella's mix of real-life articles and 'service' features. Similar splash with Take a Break in 1990. However, it had a string of failures between 2002 and 2007: Cut, Real, Lounge, Three-Sixty and In the Know.

Bauer acted swiftly to axe two Emap titles, weekly First and New Woman. In April, it ended a long-standing relationship whereby The Publishing Consultancy sold advertising for Bauer titles, bringing UK ad sales and the TPC staff in-house. Bauer continued Emap's strategy of launching radio stations based on magazines. It revamped Q Radio and launched Closer radio on Freeview. The company also said it was researching the possibility of a radio station for men, based on brands such as FHM and Empire.

  • Bella (W): content based on practical features and real-life stories. Targets B, C1 and C2 women aged 25-44 with children, median age is 44. Launched in October 1987
  • Blush! (F): August 2002 launch for 10 to 14-year-old girls
  • Cut (W): poor start in August for men's weekly; closed in December 2004
  • In the Know (W): 2006 launch - closed in May 2007. Apart from puzzle titles, Bauer's first new title since the short-lived men's weekly Cut men's weekly in 2004 and its first women's magazine since That's Life in 1995. Investment of £10m in a ‘topical and relevant’ weekly.
  • Lounge (M): March 2004 launch with print run of 350,000 for puzzle monthly in women's weekly format. Closed after six issues
  • Puzzle portfolio of about 20 brands, ranging in frequency from 4 to 13 a year. Some use Take a ... title. Total sales can exceed 900,000 in the summer months
  • Real (F): women's fortnightly in glossy format appeared in April 2001 at £1.50. Redesigned in 2003 with lower production values and £1 price tag. Median female age of readers 33, with more upmarket, younger target than weeklies: ABC1 women aged 25-40. Sold to Essex-based Essential Publishing in summer 2004 but closed in early 2007
  • Spirit & Destiny (M) October 2002 launch with eight-page booklet: Beginner's Guide to Crystals. Fashion, beauty and health articles alongside astrology and psychic matters, holistic therapies and alternative lifestyles 
  • Take a Break (W): UK's biggest-selling women's weekly at 1.2 million copies (claims to be the fourth largest-selling women's weekly in the world). March 1990 launch. Real-life stories, prize puzzles and competitions and classic weekly elements. Eschews celebrities. Has brand extensions selling 20 million copies a year. Launched CD of music from TV commercials in summer 1999
  • Take a Break spin-offs include Fate & Fortune and Fiction Feast
  • That's Life (W): Young, mass market women with children buy more than 600,000 copies a week. June 1995 debut
  • Three Sixty (Q): February 2003 home lifestyle offering in a square format. Upmarket move for the company, but closed by summer
  • Total TV Guide (W) September 2003 launch aiming at upmarket households. Ten pages a day cover 90 channels. 85p at end of 2004
  • TV Choice (W): August 1999 launch at cheap end of the market (40p in 2003-04). Expanded listings market to become third-biggest seller
  • TV Quick (W): Attempts to be a women's magazine, celebrity TV magazine and a listings magazine combined. Launched March 1991 (65p in 2003-04)

BBC Magazines / Immediate Media

In January 2017, German publishing group Burda bought Immediate Media from Exponent, a private equity group, for an estimated £270m.

In August 2011, BBC Worldwide agreed to sell or license its magazines to Exponent, a private equity firm that owned Magicalia, for £121m and offload its joint venture in India. The BBC titles and Magicalia were then folded into Immediate Media. Essentials of the deals included:

  • Exponent buys all non-BBC-branded magazines – including Radio Times;
  • Exponent to publish BBC titles under licence or as contract magazines;
  • Exponent to take subscriptions and distribution businesses, Dovetail and Frontline;
  • BBC stake in Bath-based Origin also to go to Exponent;
  • Bennett, Coleman & Co, owner of Times of India, buys BBC’s half stake in Worldwide Media, a joint venture in India.

Magazines had been part of the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, which generates revenue to put back into programme-making. BBC Magazines bought Origin in 2004 but a review in December saw it decide to sell non-core titles, such as Eve and many of the Origin portfolio, and end on-screen advertising of its magazines. In April 2006, sold off most of the original Origin titles to a management buy-out team, but kept the contract titles and Origin's Focus. Put retained titles into new arm, Bristol Magazines. Trades on the Britishness of its ouput in the US and launched US only magazine, Knowledge, in 2008; two years later, this was made available in the UK. In 2010, the company had 51 international editions of its titles being sold in 60 countries with licensing or syndication partners.

Launched the Radio Times and the Listener in the 1920s. In 1955, Radio Times claimed 'the largest sale of any weekly magazine in the world' with 8,832,579 copies a week (Life in the US was selling 5.6m). Despite the success of this and its book publishing, did little else until the 1980s when it licensed the Clothes Show title to a small London publisher. Also, the wildlife films unit in Bristol set up a magazine with another publisher. By then, Radio Times was selling 3 million copies a week. However, revenue was threatened when government decided to force both IPC (owned the TV Times) and the BBC to sell listings to other publishers. (The resultant spate of launches cut RT sales to a million copies.) To offset the revenue loss, the BBC bought Redwood Publishing, which published Acorn User magazine for the BBC Micro (runner-up to Just Seventeen in 1984 as best launch), Educational Computing  and contract titles for customers of Intercity, American Express and M&S.

BBC/Redwood developed proposals for the best-watched subjects on the BBC. The first result was Good Food, then Gardeners' World and Home & Antiques. The BBC later sold Redwood, retained the BBC titles and carried on launching. There were some failures: Holidays, Good Health, Tomorrow's World, Match of the Day (closed when BBC lost rights to screen premiership football in 2001) and Star; Clothes Show closed in 1998. The best titles, Gardeners' World and Good Food, revolutionised their sectors. Has adult; teen; pre-teen (age 7-12); educational; and pre-school titles.

Has digital asset management system, allowing it to syndicate words and pictures, and several joint businesses: Frontline distributors with Emap and Haymarket; BBC Haymarket Exhibitions; and Galleon, for subscriptions.

  • Clothes Show: First of the modern BBC-related launches. Licensed by BBC. Later taken over and revamped by BBC/Redwood. Never really accepted as BBC brand. Closed 1998
  • Eve (M): Bought by Haymarket in 2005. August 2000 launch aiming for mature women: the Cosmopolitan generation who wouldn't want to buy the magazines their mothers had. £2m marketing budget; very experienced launch team. Known as 'project Urma'. Marketing Week quoted target circulation of 150,000 (July 6, p12). Competes with Hachette's Red and Nat Mags' She in a difficult 30-something mid-market where the target readership is diverse. IPC's Women's Journal and Nova, Dennis's PS and Parkhill's Aura have all become a cropper here. To be sold as part of review by BBC of commercial activities
  • Focus (M) : launched by Gruner + Jahr in 1982; sold to NatMags from when G+J retreated from the UK; bought by Origin in 2001; branded as a BBC title and retained when Origin sold off. The BBC tried to launch a competitor – Tomorrow's World - but this was an abject failure and closed within a year in 1998. Because of the strength of the German Focus brand internationally, the BBC used the title Science in Focus for licensed editions.
  • Gardens Illustrated (M): run by Bristol Magazines division
  • Gardeners' World revolutionised gardening sector in February 1991
  • Good Food (M) First of the BBC/Redwood launches and an instant success, despite negative industry reaction. IPC was incensed by the free TV trailers. Title distributed in US. In 2008, 22,616 copies a month were being sold overseas
  • Good Homes (M)
  • Good Living (M): Used as a strap-on to Good Food in September 1997
  • History (M): run by Bristol Magazines division
  • Holidays (closed)
  • Homes & Antiques
  • Knowledge (6 a year; US and Canada): first North American-specific launch in August 2008. The editor was Sally Palmer with US science journalist John Horgan (Stevens Institute of Technology) consultant editor. BBC Worldwide distributed 60,000 copies at launch and 80,000 for the second issue. This followed a 1.3m direct mailing. CMG was the newsagent distributor and the title was sold at Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson News airport shops in the US. Andy Benham, publishing director said: 'The magazine has been positioned to capitalize on the strength of the BBC brand in the US and while the content will feed American interests, the Britishness and BBC-ness of the magazine are seen as being key assets.' The magazine was licensed to The Institute of Science Culture & Education in Korea, which planned to publish 12 editions a year. Editions were then launched in Brazil, Singapore, Bulgaria and Malaysia; and in the UK (focusing on subscriptions) in October 2010. The title will also be published in India from November 2010 by Worldwide Media, a joint venture with the Times of India. BBC Knowledge is a television channel in Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
  • The Listener (W): Founded in 1929; closed in 1991. Weekly review of radio programmes with transcripts of the best broadcasts. The Listener Crossword, first published on 2 April 1930, lives on in The Times, where it has been published every Saturday since no. 3090 on 23 March 1991. In 1941, Benjamin Britten read an article, ‘George Crabbe: the Poet and the Man’ by E.M. Forster in the May issue of The Listener. This inspired an interest for him in the work of George Crabbe, a fellow East Anglian born in the Suffolk seaside town of Aldeburgh in 1754, and led to the writing of the opera Peter Grimes, which had its first production in June 1945 at London’s Sadler's Wells theatre
  • Lonely Planet (M) 2008 launch of magazine followed controversial takeover of the travel guide publisher in 2007. By 2010, there were 9 international editions
  • Match of the Day Launched 1995. Closed when BBC lost rights to screen premiership football in 2001
  • Music (M): launched September 1992. Claims to be world's best-selling classical music magazine. March 1993 debut in US; autumn 94 for German language and overseas English versions. run by Bristol Magazines division. In 2008, 22,030 copies a month were being sold overseas
  • Olive (quarterly; Christmas 2003). 'Eating + Living + Going Places.' Did not use BBC branding. Launched at same time as version of Australian title Delicious from Seven in the UK, led by ex-BBC/Redwood staff
  • Radio Times (W): Claims to be UK's most profitable magazine. Launched in September 1923, it was the UK's biggest-selling magazine until overtaken by Reader's Digest in 1993
  • Sky at Night (M): launched by BBC Origin and retained as part of Bristol Magazines division
  • Star (closed 2001) Codename Project G, a celebrity-led fortnightly glossy for teens, based on the US titles Entertainment Weekly, Teen People and US Weekly (each sell 1.5m copies a week). £2m backing for Oct 2000 launch; print run 400,000. Target sales 200,000. Closed after a year
  • Tomorrow's World failed within a year, despite the programme's success and cover-mounts
  • Top Gear  (M) Spin-off from TV programme, which was attracting 5m viewers a week, became top-selling motoring monthly. Launched September 1993
  • Top of the Pops (Fortnightly). March 1995 launch
  • What to Wear : quarterly spin-off from Trinny and Suzanna programmes. Closed
  • Wildlife (M): run by Bristol Magazines division

Contract titles run by Bristol Magazines division.