Magazine publishers

(Essential to Highbury)

This is one of six pages about consumer magazine publishers, listed alphabetically, and their magazines. List of publishers on this page to the right.

Consumer magazines are mainly sold in newsagents and supermarkets in the UK. Other pages cover trade and business magazine publishers and contract magazine publishers.

Essential Publishing (Burda)

'A specialist publisher of both consumer magazines and publishing materials for business,' established in 1995. Essential was taken over by Burda in April 2006 since when Burda has dropped the namee but kept offices in Colchester. Essential had raised its profile by buying poorly performing titles from large publishers, including Bauer's Real, HFUK's TV Hits! and Your Home from NatMags. Has some contract titles, mainly related to the homes sector.
  • Collect It (M): founded in May 1997. Sold to Warners Group in Bourne, Lincolnshire
  • Essential Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom (M): focus on upmarket homes
  • Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business (M): trade title for kitchen and bathroom retailers
  • Home Style (M): makeover title that trades on competitions and giveaways
  • The Party Magazine: closed
  • Period Home (M): trades on competitions, expert advice and readers' homes
  • Real (fortnightly): women's title bought from Bauer in 2004. Combined weekly style content with monthly production values
  • Rooms Rooms Rooms: closed
  • Your Home (M): solutions to DIY problems, step-by-step projects and helpful hints 'by women for women'. Bought from NatMags in August 2003
  • TV Hits! (M): teen TV magazine bought from Hachette in 2005

Eye-to-Eye Media

Formed in November 2009 when managing director and joint founder Seamus Geoghegan led a management buy-out of consumer magazines from Seven Publishing. Jo Sandilands stayed on as founding shareholder and editorial consultant. Titles include:
  • Delicious (M) Food magazine launched in November 2003. Licensed from Australian Broadcasting Corporation and FPC Magazines, where it had a circulation close to 100,000. At about the same time, BBC launched Olive
  • Eye to Eye Puzzles: third-largest publisher of puzzle titles with 21 magazines. Also supplies tailored puzzles to magazines, newspapers and other companies.
  • Gardenlife – closed in 2009. Monthly launched in May 2004 at Chelsea Flower Show.

Factory Media

Formed by the merger of 4130, Action Sports Media and Permanent Publishing at the end of 2006. Controlled 24 extreme sports magazines, including:
  • Onboard Snowboarding
  • Kingpin Skateboarding
  • Surf Europe
  • Dig BMX and
  • White Lines.
In March 2007, it launched a website,, with sections based around the magazine content: snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, BMX, motocross, free skiing and mountain biking. This was followed by a TV channel in 2008 and an extreme sports section on sports portal Yahoo Eurosport.

For details, see: Extreme sports publishers

Freestyle Group Ltd

Freestyle Group set up in Poole, Dorset, in 1999. Developed magazines and associated websites in adventure sports, fish-keeping and men's lifestyle sectors and Freestyle entered new terrority by buying Surrey Monocle in 2005. However, by 2011, the websites for several of these magazines were no longer running. Also, the company's website,, was no longer available after 2008.
  • BMX Rider monthly founded in 2002
  • Boys Toys gadgets-focused monthly founded in 1999
  • Koi Carp monthly founded in 1995, 1998 or 2002 depending on which Freestyle statement you believe!
  • Paddles monthly founded in 2002 for adventurous kayakers and canoeists
  • Scuba World monthly founded in 1972
  • Snowboard UK eight issues a year (September-March). Founded in1991
  • Surrey Monocle monthly lifestyle and general interest for residents of Surrey
  • Tropical Fish monthly founded in 2001

Future plc

London-listed, hobby-centred publisher with particular strengths in gaming and technology. Future's 'core global brands' are, GamesRadar and In 2016, it acquired Imagine Publishing for £14m and then paid £800,000 for Team Rock at the start of 2017. There was a certain irony in the second deal, because Future had sold several of its music titles to Team Rock in 2013 for £10m.

Future was launched by computer journalist Chris Anderson (who now owns the media organisation behind the TED talks) in 1985 with Amstrad Action. It expanded from computer magazines into other hobby subjects: the ultimate in 'anorak publishing'. At one time owned by Pearson, which thought it could complement the Financial Times. Over-expansion led to Future's comedown in 2001, with the demise of the 'dotcom' bubble: 25 titles closed and Chris Anderson was ousted. In 2004, Future earned just over half its sales in the UK, about 27% in the US and 21% on the Continent. However, in October 2007, the company sold its French arm for £13m to a management buy-out. The division published 18 monthly magazines, eight of them under licence from Future. Future Plus is the customer publishing agency of the company.

A policy of rapid expansion implemented in 2004 was seen as too ambitious and the company culled 38 titles in the second half of 2006. Bought many titles from failing group Highbury. The FThad reported the company as promising to double in size by 2009 (8 December 2004). This followed a series of acquisitions as part of a diversification strategy that included buying: Beach Magazines and Publishing Ltd (Junior, Junior Pregnancy & Baby and Wedding Day), for £3m (half subject to meeting targets) on 7 December; What Laptop from Crimson Publishing (1 Dec); Spanish Homes Magazine for £1.5m (August); PC Zone and; and launching Hair Style (September). In January 2005, Future announced a change of name to Future plc (the name The Future Network plc had been used since the dotcom boom in 2000). The stock exchange ticker symbol changed from FNET to FUTR.

Had early policy of appointing two editors to a title: one an experienced journalist, the other young and keen on the subject matter. One of the first publishers on the web with Futurenet in September 1994; had 37 sub-sites by February 2000. Innovative marketing and use of technology: first publisher to have regular disc cover-mounts; Edge launched in a plastic bag; used metallic inks, five-colour printing and embossing on covers. Titles cover: computing; sports and entertainment; music; and living. Continues to 'niche' the computer and games market, eg November 1999 of Mobile Computer User and Planet PC (aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds). Magazines have included:

  • Bang: April 2003 launch that marked a departure from Future's usual formula and markets (though does have 2 mags for guitarists). A monthly music title in small-A4 format that went straight up against established titles from Emap and IPC, as well as Development Hell's recent launch Word. Closed in January 2004
  • Business 2.0 US launch came to UK in 2000. Closed in 2001 as dotcom bubble burst. US version sold to Time Inc's Fortune Group in May 2001
  • Computer & Video Games bought from Dennis in August 2004. Closed mag – originally launched by Emap and regarded as the UK's oldest games title – but kept website open
  • Cross Stitcher Early digression from computers a great success
  • Cult TV failed within a year
  • Edge Computer games. First issue came in a black plastic bag!
  • Hair Style (M) launched in October 2004
  • MacFormat
  • .Net (M) Licensed to Edicorp in France
  • PC Format
  • Official Playstation 2 dominates the market of nine titles for Sony's console, with 188,000 circulation tripling nearest competitor (Highbury-Paragon's Play)
  • PC Zone (launched in 1993) bought from Dennis in August 2004
  • SFX Science fiction
  • Spanish Homes Magazine bought for £1.5m in autumn 2004
  • T3 'Tomorrow's Technology Today' monthly. In 2010, Future launched its 'first fully bespoke digital magazine' for Apple’s iPad. Costing £3.99, the brand extension included Audi and Intel among its 'commercial partners'. T3 already had 23 international print editions, the website attracting nearly 700,000 unique users a month and live events, including the annual T3 Gadget Awards
  • Total Film (M)
  • Total Football (closed in 2001)
  • X-Box Official offering for Microsoft's games machine (2001)

Gruner & Jahr UK (part of Hearst/National Magazines)

German publisher burst on to the UK scene with Best to upset the weekly women's market dominated by IPC. It was bought up by National Magazines, which won takeover battle with IPC in July 2000 – a move seen as taking NatMags downmarket into weeklies. Gruner and Jahr is sometimes branded as either G&J or G+J.
  • Best (W) Every Tuesday, with real-life and celebrity stories, plus advice on fashion, food and family. Website has puzzles, bingo and a diet club.
  • Focus (M) science title: odd-one out in list. Sold in 2001 by Nat Mags to Origin Publishing in Bristol
  • Here! Merged into IPC's Now in April 97, a year after launch
  • Prima (M) One of the best-selling women's monthlies
  • Your Car (Q) Teamed up with with Haymarket's What Car? on August 1999 launch. Aimed at women buyers and drivers. Traded on credentials of G&J's Prima ('the best-selling monthly women's mag') and expertise of What Car? ('the acknowledged experts of motoring journalism'). Never made second issue
Gruner and Jahr was formed in July 1965 as Germany's second-biggest publishing group (after newspaper-based Axel Springer) when two magazine publishers, Henri Nannen and Constanz Verlag, merged with Gruner & Son, a printer. The publishers owned magazines, including Stern and Die Ziet, which between them had a circulation of about 5 million. The new group's annual turnover was estimated at DM300 million (£27m) at the time.

Hachette Filipacchi UK (now Hearst UK)

HFUK was merged with the National Magazine Company by US group Hearst (see below) after it bought the magazine interests of French group Lagadere. HFUK was the British offshoot of Hachette Filipacchi, the largest French magazine publisher. Formed when Hachette Filipacchi took over Attic Futura (see above) in August 2002 for £40m, according to Press Gazette. Attic takeover triggered end of decade-long partnership with Emap to publish Elle, its offshoots, and Red. Kevin Hand, former chief executive of Emap who lost his job after disastrous takeover of US group Petersen in 2000, advised Hachette on Attic Futura takeover and became head of new company. From Attic Futura came four monthlies aimed at young women and two TV weeklies:
  • All About Soap (F) increased its frequency from monthly to fortnightly in April 2004
  • B (M): 1997 launch. Young women's lifestyle title closed March 2006
  • Inside Soap (W) increased frequency from monthly to fortnightly in 1996 and to weekly in 2004
  • Real Health & Beauty December 1998 launch; closed 2001
  • Shine (M): 'You're gorgeous' was the masthead strap for this health and beauty title, which closed in 2001
  • Sugar (M): 1994. UK's biggest-selling teenage lifestyle title
  • TV Hits (M): teen entertainment title sold to Essential Publishing in June 2005
From Emap joint venture came:
  • Elle (M)
  • Elle Decoration (M)
  • Elle Girl (M) – 2001 launch closed April 2006
  • Red (M): won in auction with Emap for £34 million. Successful launch aimed at women in 'middle youth' (ie 30s) in 1998, though at a substantial marketing cost because of extensive use of cover mounts.

HFUK launched French title Psychologies in UK in 2005. It bought Real Homesfrom Highbury in August 2005, but sold the title to Centaur in 2009, which merged it into Move Or Improve?, but keeping the former title. Also set up digital publishing division in November 2006.

Parent Hachette is subsidiary of Lagardère Media, the world's top magazine publisher. The French group has 245 titles in 36 countries with total circulation of over one billion copies. More than half of its annual sales of €2.2 billion come from outside France. Stable includes 35 versions of Elle, 19 of Elle Decoration and eight of Elle Girl – though UK and US versions closed as the teen sector imploded – by 2004. US Elle published by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Inc; Spanish offshoot.

Hamerville Magazines

A specialist trade publisher with 13 titles, including several for the building trade and motor mechanics, along with Professional Hairdresserfor salon owners and managers. In 1993, launched women's title Chic and sold it to Northern & Shell two years later. At the time Hamerville published a consumer title, Home Flair, which claimed monthly sales of more than 80,000. Runs linked exhibitions, merchandising and websites.

Haymarket Publications

Founded in late 1950s as Cornmarket Press by Conservative politician Michael Heseltine, publishing career reference books. Mix of 75 consumer, weekly trade, medical and contract titles. Runs shows for BBC. One of the first magazine publishers to experiment with multimedia, launching a motoring CD-Rom for Mac users developed by the trade title XYZ (later renamed Creative Technology and sold to St John Patrick Publishers). Active internationally and in contract publishing through Haymarket Network. Management Today can be regarded as an early contract magazine
  • Autocar (W): Most successful weekly car title (established 1895), but lost best-selling status to Dennis's Auto Express. Licensed in India and Greece
  • Campaign (W): Campaign Live site for advertising paper ('The newspaper of the communications business' since 12 September 1968)
  • Eve (M) Bought from BBC in 2005. Closed in October 2008 but website spin-off retained (run with What Car?). First overseas version in Indonesia in September 2005, licensed to Quadra Media Publika. Circulation of 40,000. The local editorial team led by Amy Dianti Wirabudi, formally managing editor of Dewi.
  • Four Four Two (M) Absorbed Future's Total Footballin 2001 as the sector contracted in the face of competition from increase in newspaper coverage, websites and sponsorsed magazines devoted to specific clubs (including Liverpool FC from Haymarket). Was first launch for Haymarket Media, Australia, in October 2005
  • Goal!
  • Internet Business (M)
  • Marketing (W)
  • Management Today (M): Free to members of the Institute of Management
  • The Net (closed 2001): July 1999 consumer monthly launch. Features included What Website? and step-by-step sections. £1.99 'special price' for first two issues. Second issue included a CD-Rom guide to football on the web. Despite high sales for sector, closed and rights swap deal made with Future in 2001 involving Total Football
  • Planning: For town and country planners
  • Revolution(W): New media marketing. Controlled circulation since 1997. Went weekly in 1999. US launch in March 2000 as stapled monthly (104pp) at $4 an issue, $12 a year
  • >Rip & Burn (M): October 2004 launch for magazine aimed at the 'music download, iPod-toting generation'. Closed early 2005. Website left up
  • Stuff (M): Bought from Dennis
  • Topic (W): British weekly news magazine launched in 1961 by Dome press. Taken over by Cornmarket but shut down at Christmas 1962 – the losses nearly closed the company. The name was incorporated into Town.
  • Town (M): men's magazine that was a quintessential part of swinging Britain in the 1960s. See Man About Town case study
  • What Car? (M)

Hearst UK (National Magazine)

Hearst Magazines UK is the trading name of National Magazine Company Ltd (known as NatMags). The name was adopted in 2011 when Hearst in the US brought Hachette Filipacchi, the magazine division of French group Lagardère, and merged the UK arm into NatMags. William Randolph Hearst had set up NatMags in 1910.

So, under one roof came the NatMags titles (Best, Company, Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, House Beautiful, Prima, Real People, Reveal and Zest) and HFUK’s About Soap, Elle, Elle Decoration, Inside Soap and Red. Hearst UK also has two joint ventures: NatMag Rodale, an equal joint venture with Rodale of the US (Men's Health, Runner’s World and Women's Health) and Comag, the magazine distributor, a 65:35 joint venture with Conde Nast.

Websites run by the group include:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

Hedrush Media Ltd

Had two titles in disparate areas:
  • IDJ – International DJ (monthly):
  • Real Travel (monthly): for travel enthusiasts. Launched in 2006.

Hello! Publishing Ltd

UK version of original Spanish Hola! (launched 1944) sells half a million copies a month (launched 1988). Running battle with OK! from Northern & Shell. Though Hello! has a more upmarket readership. In late 2007, launched two fashion offshoots. Launch of French version, Oh La! (10F), less successful with about 130,000 sales; competitor Prisma Presse closed its Allo! in July 1999 with sales of 120,000 within a year of launch. By 2003 had lost leadership of UK celebrity sector to OK!. Press coverage of legal action taken by Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones and US actor Michael Douglas over photos of their wedding published in Hello!, portrayed a magazine in internal disarray and unable to revitalise its editorial formula against OK!, Now and later newcomer Heat, in the celebrity sector it pioneered.

Sally Cartwright, UK publishing director, explained some of the strategy behind the magazine in a Campaign report that named Hello! as one of the seven strongest brands in Europe (25 November 1994). She described preservation of the brand name and what it stands for as being imperative: 'We have had to take legal action in the Netherlands and Turkey, and more recently in Singapore. The brand name is critical, not least because of the international nature of the editorial content. We are known as the magazine that publishes articles only with a subject's consent. If someone published National Enquirer-style material under our name, it could seriously damage our reputation.'

The Spanish company is family-owned, with the magazine controlled by Hola! editor and chief executive, Eduardo Sanchez Junco, son of the magazine's founder, Antonio Sanchez Gomez. Antonio's wife, Dona Mercedes Sanchez Calderon, is president and art director of the company. Cartwright added: 'The shares are all owned by Eduardo and his mother, and their decisions are absolute. He sees most pages before they are printed and talks to the editor about what goes on the cover of Hello! The Hello!/Hola! phenomenon is one man's vision and that's what keeps the brand so tightly controlled. Both are very visually led. The pictures are the most important thing.'

Highbury House Communications plc

Consumer, trade and contract publisher. Forced by financial problems at end of 2004 and start of 2005 to sell trade titles and 38 consumer magazines to Future. Then sold all titles, many to Remnant/SMD Publishing, and ceased trading at end of 2005 (website was The problem was that most of its titles were also-rans in their sectors.Highbury had expanded, buying Paragon and Cabal in 2003/04. Biggest-selling titles were Fast Car and Front (came with Cabal see above – bought for about £10 million in March 2003 as well as Real Homes). July 2003 issue of Fast Car had free strap-on of June's Front, with a £1 off voucher for the next issue of the latter. In August, took over  Highbury House with 30-odd magazines and websites, in a deal said to be worth £32m. Between them, Highbury-Paragon and another Highbury division, WVIP, owned all five titles in ABC's home entertainment sector (sales 10,000 to 36,000). Also, H-P had three of the nine titles in the Playstation sector, although this was dominated by Future with five titles and the runaway bestseller, Official Playstation 2 – which triples the sales of its nearest rival, H-P's Play.

In December 2003, the company issued another profits warning and said the sale of its trade division has been halted because poor trading meant the company could not get the price it wanted. Highbury wanted to focus on consumer rather than trade titles. Executive chairman Ian Fletcher said: 'We were aware that we were selling it at the bottom of the business publishing cycle.' Trade titles include many bought from Reed, including long-established Electrical Review and Motor Ship.

Hubert Burda – see Burda