- consumer magazines (general and specialist) ;
- business / trade / B2B magazines ;
- customer publishing / contract publishing / custom publishing ;
- newspaper supplements.
Other types of periodicals include part works and academic journals. Part works have a fixed number of issues and are designed to be collected as a set on a particular topic. Examples include series on Inspector Morse or military topics. Each part will come with a cover mount, such as a DVD or figurine. They are sold in newsagents and are heavily advertised on television in January (when rates are very cheap). Journals are for academics. Their distinguishing feature is an academic board that reviews articles. The main sales channel is through subscriptions to college libraries, though some, such as Nature, may be seen in some shops. Part works and academic journals are not covered further on this page.
Staff move between sectors and several companies are active in both consumer and customer magazine sectors. For example, Peter Crookston was editor of IPC's innovative women's monthly Nova in the early 1970s. He went on to edit the Observer newspaper's magazine supplement and then to edit customer magazines such as Expression (for American Express), InterCity (British Rail) and Heritage Today (English Heritage) at Redwood Publishing. Redwood was at one stage controlled by BBC Magazines and launched most of the BBC titles, including Gardeners' World, Homes & Antiques and Top Gear. The quality of writing, design and production in supplements and contract magazines will rival that of consumer magazines. However, contract magazines rarely appear on Ebay, suggesting they do not create long-term emotional attachments to their readers.
Consumer magazines Back to top
Profiles of consumer magazine publishers
Men's magazines A-Z
Business magazines Back to top
|Weekly trade tabloid|
Profiles of B2B magazine publishers
Customer magazines Back to top
|Business Solutions: award-winning customer magazine for Unisys|
Profiles of customer magazine publishers
Newspaper supplements Back to top
|Style: with Sunday Times|
Profiles of newspaper publishers
Factors in the UK market Back to topAs well as competition from newspapers and contract magazines, other factors that make the UK highly competitive include:
- broadcast, cable and satellite TV are well-established. The reputation and quality of the BBC in particular is second to none. There have been many magazine spin-offs by TV companies, from best-sellers such as BBC Good Food to niche titles such as Channel 4's Grand Designs.
- penetration of computer systems and web access is very high. Extra competition from this area for football coverage, along with expanded newspaper sections, is seen as having led to the demise of several general weekly and monthly football magazines.
- advertising marketplace. Two of the three largest advertising agencies in the world are British. Market research and marketing techniques are highly evolved. About 36% of consumer magazines' revenues come from advertising, although this proportion will be much higher for the top-selling 'glossy' magazines.
- integration between different media. The BBC is one of the biggest magazine publishers and leading titles in areas such as gardening and motoring that feed off TV series.
- European and US publishers are active in the UK. US-based Time-Warner took control of the largest UK magazine publisher, IPC Media, in mid-2001. Bauer
- innovative editors are often lured to the US to launch or revamp titles, from Anna Wintour (US Vogue), to Tina Brown (New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Talk) to Glenda Bailey (Marie Claire) and Ed Needham from FHM to Rolling Stone and US Maxim. Reverse traffic has included the late Michael VerMeulen at GQ and Greg Gutfield from US Stuff to Maxim.
- ideas 'cross the pond' between the UK and US very quickly. Examples include UK 'lads' mags' such as Maxim (now a top 25 title in the US from Dennis); Glamour (a top 25 UK title since its launch in an A5 format adopted from Italy in 2001); Elle Girl launch in both US and UK in 2001. Recent years have seen Australia become a new source of ideas and, since the late 1980s, launches from German groups. Most of the big UK titles are acually owned by foreign groups.
- budgetary control. While there is a similar number of titles in the UK and US, sales are far higher in the US because of the larger market and lack of competition from national papers. So the US has four titles with sales of 10m copies; the UK has none. The US has 300 titles selling more than 250,000 copies; the UK just 50.
- distribution. Even before the national rail network was established in 1842, the UK had excellent transport links. This, combined with the county's small area (half that of France for the same population), has led to very efficient distribution.
- history. The first recognised magazine, a review of books called Journal des Scavans, was published in Paris in 1665. In the same year, the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society was published. A more general magazine, The Athenian Gazette, appeared in 1691 and the same century saw the appearance of The Tatler. In the 19th century, The Spectator appeared and the Illustrated London News (both still published). The latter was one of the first titles to carry extensive illustrations and used colour from 1855.
|Number of magazines and country sizes|
|Country||Consumer titles||Trade titles||Total titles||People
|Sources: PPA Handbook; Pears Cyclopaedia|