Magazine publishers

(Reader's Digest to Ziff-Davis)

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

Other pages on trade and business magazine publishers and contract publishers.


Reader's Digest Association Ltd

Britain's best-read magazine. Published since 1938 on the US model. Has Food Digest offshoot 

Redwood Publishing Back to top

Redwood Publishing evolutionised the contract publishing sector in mid-1980s, with high standards of editing, writing, design and production (though blurb on its website ignores the first five years of its existence saying "our roots are in newsstand titles" - even though it then had only one consumer magazine, the computer magazine Acorn User). Set up in 1983 by former Daily Express editor Christopher Ward; Michael Potter, ex-publishing director of Campaign; and Christopher Curry, co-founder of Acorn computer group who had become a multimillionaire with launch of the BBC Micro. Potter was the driving force behind the establishment of the Association of Publishing Agencies and encouraged contract publishers to act like advertising agencies and form the customer publishing industry.

Redwood's First title was Acorn User, brought in from Addison-Wesley under the editorship of  Tony Quinn and used as cash cow for contract launches. These included Expression! for American Express with Peter Crookston as editor (who had edited Nova and Observer Magazine), InterCity for British Rail, M&S Magazine for Marks and Spencer, edited by Felicity Green, and Good Idea for Woolworths, with former Woman's Own and TV Times editor Richard Barber, who later took OK! weekly. Venture, a magazine for the venture capital industry, was launched by Tony Hilton. He soon left to become City Editor of London's Evening Standard, but contact with venture capitalists enabled Redwood to attract funding (Venture was sold to Northern & Shell). Management writer Robert Heller has described how Redwood nearly collapsed when it had overstretched itself, losing £500,000 on launched Airport, a 'pre-flight' magazine for the BBA. Innovative design strategy under Mike Lackersteen (who had joined from Good Housekeeping) was important in establishing company.

Came under control of BBC Worldwide as BBC Redwood in 1988, when it launched mould-breaking titles Good Food and Gardener's World. Business Solutions, a contract for computer group Unisys, won two gongs in 1990 publishing awards, which, with two other awards for BBC's titles, led to company being named publisher of the year. Split from BBC in 1993, retaining contract titles such as Sky, then UK's biggest-circulation magazine. However, demands of cash flow again forced it to seek a backer and it became part of advertising agency Abbot Mead Vickers for £12.5 million in 1994 (itself part of the Omnicom group). Has new media and catalogue arms and is active internationally.

Maintained position as largest contract publisher until merger of John Brown and Citrus in 2002. Lost several titles to John Brown, including the Sky contract. Co-founder Potter left in 2003 to set up Seven Publishing with Seamus Geoghegan, a former publisher at the company who joined in the mid-1980s on Acorn User.


Reed Business Publishing Ltd Back to top

Part of the Reed Elsevier plc group, one of the world's top 10 media groups with a leading online presence. Publishes more than 50 major magazines - but Reed Elsevier announced its intention to sell these off in February 2008 and concentrate further on digital publishing. Reed Elsevier also has newsletters, directories and reference books, electronic products, online services and industry conferences in the UK, USA, and Asia. Sold off substantial book publishing interests in late 1990s as well as the UK's largest magazine publisher IPC Magazines (December 1997) to focus on digital strategy for academic, medical and technical journals.

Remnant Media Ltd / Trojan

Established in March 2004 by Simon Robinson, the co-founder and chief executive, to buy 45 adult titles for a reported £20m from Richard Desmond's Northern & Shell, including Asian Babes and Big Ones International. Set up SMD Publishing, in January 2006 to run three titles bought from Highbury as well as two existing titles, Attitude and What's On In London. However, Remnant went into receivership in 2007 and was bought by Trojan Publishing.

  • Attitude monthly magazine for gay men. started life in 1994 as part of the Northern and Shell Group owned by Richard Desmond. In 2004 it was sold to Remnant Media, run by Simon Robinson. At the beginning of 2007 Remnant Media and its sister company SMD went into liquidation and the magazine disappeared temporarily. Since then the magazine has been managed by Giant Clipper and as of October 2007 is now owned by Attitude Publications Ltd.
  • DVD World monthly
  • Front men's monthly launched by Cabal in 1998
  • Hotdog film monthly founded by James Brown's I Feel Good in 2000
  • What's on in London weekly listings title. In 2006, this was sold to Strand Magazines, which abruptly shut the title in May 2007

Rodale Publishing Ltd / NatMags Rodale Back to top

In 2004, the UK arm of Rodale formed a 50:50 joint venture with NatMags, NatMags Rodale. Titles include:

  • Men's Health: 1995 launch for men's fitness monthly. Has maintained sales as men's lifestyle titles such as FHM and Loaded plummetted;
  • Runner's World : Rodale bought Running from Stonehart Leisure Magazines in May 1993 and renamed and relaunched it in September as part of a global magazine network;
  • Fetch Everyone website.

Rodale is a US health fitness group founded in 1930 by JI Rodale. He was inspired by natural farming techniques. Book arm published The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening in 1959. In US, bought Runner's World in 1985 and launched Men's Health in 1986. Various international activities: after 1995 Men's Health launch in UK, followed by Germany in 1996 and France in May 1999 (10 issues a year, doubling up in Jan/Feb and Jul/Aug). 


Seven Publishing Ltd

Fast-growing company that has seen many changes since being incorporated in 2003.

  • July 2003. Seven set up with Seamus Geoghegan, former BBC Worldwide director, as managing director; Mike Potter, joint-founder and former chairman of contract publisher Redwood Publishing, as chairman; and Jo Sandilands, a former editor of Woman as editorial director.
  • November 2003. Food monthly Delicious is first launch with Mitzie Wilson, formerly of BBC's Good Food in the editor's chair. In the late 1980s, Redwood was controlled by the BBC and launched both Good Food and Gardeners' World (with Geoghegan as publisher).
  • March 2004. Guardian Media Group pays £2m for a 27% stake in the company (though a submission to Ofcom in September said the stake was 32%). It was reported as 41% in 2010.
  • September 2004. Caledonia investment trust put in £1.7m and Seven buys Cottage Publishing, which produces puzzle magazines.
  • October 2004. Seven became a member of the FIPP.
  • January 2005. Seven doubles in size when it buys New Crane, the company set up to publish Sainsbury's Magazine in 1993 by Michael Wynn-Jones and his wife, television chef Delia Smith.
  • 2007. Seven Squared set up after Square One taken over by Seven.
  • 2008. Seven identified as one of the 30 fastest-growing companies by the Sunday Times - its sales almost doubled every year from £4m in 2004 to £30.8m in 2007.
  • October 2009. Geoghegan leads management buy-out of consumeer magazines. Two companies formed:

Show Media Back to top

Contract publisher founded by former Esquire editor Peter Howarth. Titles include:
  • Dad  April 2003 pilot on newsstands but also given away to fathers-to-be attending scans in selected hospitals. From September, NHS distribution to go nationwide twice a year, reaching a potential 670,000 fathers a year. Edited by Jack O'Sullivan, a founder of Fathers Direct, the national information centre on fatherhood
  • Newspaper Magazine (bi-annual; Nov 2003). Used footballers as models for features on sport and fashion. Contract title for Absolute Publications. Broadsheet size in style of newspaper sports pages

Contract publishers


Square Up Media

Publisher of Square Mile, a magazine distributed to 33,000 people in the City of London. Published 10 times a year. The publishers are Stephen Murphy and Tim Slee. Magazines aimed at City workers were profiled in Media Week. Contact: Square Up Media, 4 Tun Yard, Peardon Street, Clapham SW8 3HT. Tel: 020 7819 9999

Stirred Up Publishing Ltd Back to top

Publisher of Stirred Up, a monthly launched in November 2006 and dedicated to European politics, culture, travel and lifestyle. The founders, Nicolas Buteau and Peter Robinett, feel that a 'sense of collective identity has emerged in Europe, yet no pan-European publication exists as the voice of our generation' and the title aims 'to fill this gap, to create a transcontinental dialogue and to raise the bar of debates'. Stirred Up is free at several venues in London and copies can be found around Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Paris and Rome. Readers in other cities can subscribe or buy it on newsstands. The publisher will also accept bulk orders. More info at myspace.com/stirredupmag

Swinstead Publishing (closed)

Small company founded by Jon Swinstead and Adam Dewhurst in 1996 that closed down when an investor pulled out in June 2004. Its best-known titles, which died with the company, were:

  • Sleaze, formerly Sleazenation. Monthly fashion and lifestyle title that was relaunched in April 2004 as Sleaze - the same month that Emap closed The Face. The editor was Neil Boorman who ran the titles as 'a vaguely anti-corporate style magazine' - despite its level of advertising.
  • Jockey Slut: music magazine founded as a fanzine in 1993 that was bought by Swinstead in 1993 and became a monthly. Wikipedia entry
  • X-Ray: contract title for Xfm radio station from 2001. The first issue of the handbag-sized monthly came with a free CD with a card backing. In January 2004, Press Gazette reported attempts to merge X-Ray with Future's Bang, which closed that month. Xfm took the title away from Swinstead, but it never reappeared.

Swinstead and Dewhurst continued to run youth marketing agency Espionage, which they founded in 1993.


DC Thomson Back to top 

Aberdeen-based group with newspaper, magazines and comics 

Time Life Entertainment Group Ltd (now IPC)

Magazines came under control of IPC following takeover by parent Time Warner of IPC in 2001. 
  • In Style (M) Spring 2000 launch for UK version of US magazine under aegis of high-profile editor Dee Nolan. Fared less well than cheaper, handbag format Glamour. Criticised for taking too much content from US 
  • Line (Q) short-lived upmarket sports fashion launched spring 2000 
  • Wallpaper (Q) Innovative lifestyle title bought up by Time for £1m within a year of its launch in the UK by Canadian Tyler Brule. Sold in 50 countries 

Time Out Group Back to top

Company built around Time Out, London's weekly listings magazine launched in August 1968 - and still run - by Tony Elliott. He was then studying French at Keele University, and the magazine was nearly called Where It's At. It started as a folded sheet and the first issue sold 3,500-5,000 copies (estimates have varied). A second issue followed three weeks later. It became an A5 fortnightly before going weekly as an A4 magazine in 1970. In 1981, publication was suspended for four months because of a strike over Elliott's decision to end the magazine's policy of the same pay for all staff (a period he has described as 'guerrilla warfare'). Many left to start a protst news sheet called Not Time Out before going to work on a new competitor City Limits, which received funding from the Greater London Council but folded after about a decade. Since then, the title has expanded internationally while facing competition in the UK from bigger listings sections in newspapers such as the Guardian and websites such as the Evening Standard's This is London.

Former editor Dominic Wells gave a good feel for the title in ‘Inside Elliott’s empire’ for the British Journalism Review (2006).

The Time Out masthead and many iconic covers (1970-1983) were designed by Pearce Marchbank, who was appointed a Royal Designer for Industry in 2004.

Richard Branson tried to launch another competitor, Event, in 1983 but this failed.

Elliott led the fight in the late 1980s to force the BBC and ITV to allow all magazines access to weekly TV listings, eventually breaking the duopoly of TV Times and Radio Times. He had a legal run-in with ITV in the early 1980s over publishing details of programmes. Elliott has supported launches by start-up publishers, including Second Generation and Untold.

An article by Jeremy Grant in the Financial Times (15 March 2005) summed up Time Out's philosophy in a quote from Elliott. The article discussed the Chicago launch of Time Out and its prospects against the Chicago Reader, a free publication with a circulation of 140,000:

'Yet Tony Elliott ... believes success will come because he holds that weeklies, such as the Reader, "will never cut editorial for listings".
"We work very much the other way around", he says, "so we always thought there was a gap (in the market)."

Time Out now has a turnover of about £20m a year and has expanded in many ways:

  • 20/20 review magazine in 1987 under editor Don Atyeo, but this failed;
  • Sell Out guide to bargains with editor Janet Street-Porter (then Elliott's wife) in 1975; again failed;
  • Time Out Beirut and Time Out Almaty bought the network to a total of 17 cities in May 2006.
  • editions published in Chicago (2005 launch), New York (1995), Paris, St Petersburg, Shanghai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Athens, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Moscow. Some of these are jointly published (eg TONY 45% owned by Time Out Group) or licensed to other publishers (eg Time Out Mumbai; fortnightly, 2004, Paprika Media). In 2007, licensed versions were launched in Singapore, Delhi, Lisbon, Sydney with Barcelona planned for December (in Catalan).Weekly in some cities, fortnightly or monthly in others;
  • six-yearly offshoot Time Out New York Kids since March 2004;
  • film reviews distributed to mobile phones through Vindigo service;
  • Elliott wants to launch in Los Angeles and San Francisco;
  • In April 2007, Elliott put back the spring launch of a Manchester Time Out and October Liverpool edition to secure more funding.

Another FT profile, by Stephanie Kirchgaessner (24 September 2004 ), focusing on the magazine's launch in Beijing and Shanghai, listed the following ways the publisher protected the brand:

  • uses Cue Ball Media, a consultancy, to help find licensing partners;
  • sends a London staffer to visit the licensee during the design and production of its dummy;
  • orders licensees to send editorial staff to London for training;
  • provides licensees with design templates. While some design elements may change according to the city - such as Dubai including a "charity" section - the group expects licensees to "respect" its format;
  • hosts a meeting for international staff once a year to find out what is working in different markets.

In March 2002, the masthead on the London edition, which had spanned the width of the cover, was reduced in width to match the international editions. Other activities:

  • various food, drink, restaurant and nightlife guides;
  • London guides for students, shopping and health;
  • brand licensed to Penguin for city guide books;
  • annual film guide.

Trojan Publishing - see Vitality

Website focuses on handful of specialist consumer titles, but main activity is porn magazines. In February 2008, Interactive Publishing, a shell group, announced it was to seek a listing on the junior Plus stock market. At the same time, it agreed a reverse takeover with Trojan, which controlled Asian Babes, Forty Plus and New Talent - titles founded by Northern & Shell and Express owner Richard Desmond. In 2007, Trojan had bought Remnant
  • Fresh (M) food magazine launched in June 2005 by Naked Media, London. A website, Fresh Escapes, run by Trojan, took over the name after the magazine ceased publicattion in 2009
  • What Diesel (M)  
  • Women's Fitness (M) Launched by Christina Neal in 2002 as Personal Trainer for Women. In 2006, sold to Trojan and relaunched as Women's Fitness.
  • Flush (M): gambling title launched by Dennis in 2005.

In 2007, Trojan took over Remnant Publishing, which had publishing lads' mag Front.

By 2010, Woman's Fitness was in the hands of Vitality Publishing and both compnaies were owned by Interactive Publishing. See Vitality


United Business Media Back to top 

UBM is an international business information publisher, active in magazines, websites and exhibitions in areas such as technology, healthcare, media, automotive and financial services. Biggest brand is CMP, into which several others, such as Miller Freeman and Morgan Grampian, have been absorbed. Also owns PR Newswire, which distributes press releases, and has a stake in Channel 5 television.
The group has gone through dramatic changes, having sold Express Newspapers in the UK to Northern & Shell under wheeler-dealing leadership of veteran Lord (Clive) Hollick, who had became managing director of MAI, one of its antecedents, in 1974 . Exemplified by agreement to sell NOP World, its market research division, to GfK for £383m in April 2005. Badly hit by the dotcom boom and bust. The company, which earns about two-thirds of its revenues in the US, said in 2004 it was de-listing from Nasdaq in 2004 because of the high cost of registration and reporting obligations to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Has series of portal sites named Dot..., each based on trade magazines.


Vitality Publishing (see Trojan also)

In June 2010, the Guardian announced that Vitality had been sold to Financial One Securities after its owner, Interactive Publishing (which also owned Trojan) lost £1m in revenue because a magazine distributor went into administration. In August, it was announced that Vitality had approached IPC to buy Loaded.

Interactive described itself on its website as 'Interactive Publishing plc floated on the PLUS market on 20 February 2008 for the purpose of making investments in the publishing and marketing services sectors and with the objective of producing long-term capital growth.'

  • Attitude (M) gay lifestyle
  • Women's Fitness (M) Launched by Christina Neal in 2002 as Personal Trainer for Women. In 2006, sold to Trojan and relaunched as Women's Fitness.

VNU Business Publications Ltd

Dutch-owned magazine group specialising in business and computing. Personal Computer World was the first UK computer title and the company launched a cover-mounted disc with PC Disc back in 1984 (at £25.95 an issue!). Dutch parent bought US media research group Nielson for $2.5bn (Guardian, 17/8/99, page 18). This deal resulted in revenue balance of: business and marketing information 44%; newspapers 11%; directories 27%; consumer magazines 17%; educational publishing 1%. VNU is one of the big three Dutch publishers, the others being Wolters-Kluwer and Elsevier (part of Reed-Elsevier which sold off IPC Magazines) 
  • Computer Active Fortnightly beginners' title for 99p 
  • Accountancy Age Site re-launched in November 1999 as a .com (had been .co.uk) 
  • VNU Net Covers all VNU's titles, such as Accountancy Age, and Personal Computer World.
  • Computer Active Weekly launched in 1998 claims to be the biggest-selling home computer magazine 
  • Computing General weekly title for professionals 
  • Job World IT recruitment based on magazines' classified sections 
  • Network News Site for the weekly networking title 
  • PC Dealer 
  • Personal Computer World The original UK computing monthly 

Wagadon (see Emap) Back to top

Founded by Nick Logan when he launched the innovative Face. (He also launched Smash Hits at EMAP.) Despite investment from Condé Nast, the company lost its touch in the late 1990s with the Face losing out to competition, Arena losing ground to GQ and investment in Frank and Deluxe failing to pay off. Condé Nast pulled out in the spring of 1999 and Logan sold the company to Emap 
  • Arena The first of the modern men's magazines
  • Deluxe (M) launched in May 1998 but closed six months later
  • The Face Led youth fashion for a decade; closed by Emap in 2004  
  • Frank (M) Women's magazine that was too different in 1997. Closed

Warners Group Publications plc

Publisher and provider of services such as distribution, production, advertising and contract work. Has portfoilio of about 25 magazines and websites in specialist, trade and hobby sectors. These include:

  • ACR Today for the air conditioning and refrigeration industry
  • British Railway Modelling
  • Camping for tests and campsite reviews
  • Climber
  • Collect it! monthly covers affordable antiques and memorabilia
  • Taxi Globe free newspaper for London’s black cab trade
  • TV and Film Memorabilia: monthly launch in April 2007
  • Which Caravan
  • Writing Magazine, a how-to monthly

Your Media London

Your Media London specialises in monthly lifestyle magazines for the ABC1 residents of London with three free circulation titles. The magazines are distributed in shops, offices and through street dispensers. Print runs are stated as 20,000.


Ziff-Davis UK Ltd

UK offshoot of US computer publisher. Site based on content of several titles. 
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