Timeline: a history of magazines

1586-1949 ; 1950-1969 ; 1970-1989 (this page) ; 1990-

Events influencing the development of the modern magazine. These four pages also list developments in technology, distribution and corporate strategy as well as the influence of periodicals on culture.

Harper's Bazaar and Queen merge as Harper's & Queen
    IPC sells Sun to Rupert Murdoch.

IPC acquired by Reed Group Ltd, a newsprint, paints and wallpaper combine, making Reed the 30th biggest UK company

After a series of launches and acquisitions, Emap has evolved into a group with nine magazines and 19 newspapers
    Rolling Stone, 8 December. John Lennon tells Jann Wenner what effect the Beatles had on the history of Britain: 'We’ve grown up a little, all of us, and there has been a change and we are a bit freer and all that, but it’s the same game, nothing’s really changed. They’re doing exactly the same things, selling arms to South Africa, killing blacks on the street, people are living in fucking poverty with rats crawling over them, it’s the same. It just makes you puke. And I woke up to that, too. The dream is over. It’s just the same only I’m thirty and a lot of people have got long hair, that’s all.'
    TV Times claims to be 'the most used weekly colour magazine in Britain' on the strength of selling 3,125,000 copies a week with a readership of 10,224,000.
1971   Infamous Oz trial. Publishers of underground magazine Oz - Richard Neville (who launched the original Oz in Australia), Felix Dennis (now owner of Maxim publishing empire) and Jim Anderson - were prosecuted for conspiracy under UK's Obscene Publications Act 1959 over 'sexually perverted cartoons and articles' in the School Kids Issue (issue 28, May 1970). Sentences of up to 15 months sparked protests from John Lennon and many others. The convictions were quashed on appeal. Oz sales rose to 80,000 but the magazine closed in 1973 (issue 48). Official papers released in 1999 showed that the authorities held an inquiry into the accusation that police were prosecuting hippie publications such as Oz and the Little Red Schoolbook while Soho pornographers paid bribes to avoid jail. The resulting anti-corruption drive saw the jailing of the senior officer responsible for the magazine's prosecution; 400 other officers were imprisoned or left the force.
Gerry Carlin articles on Oz: http://pers-www.wlv.ac.uk/~fa1871/
Oz links and covers http://www.wussu.com/zines/oz01_04.htm

US title Saturday Evening Post comes back to life as a journal with a health focus. First as a quarterly, then twice a month. Now published by the Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society
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Cosmopolitan UK is first international edition. Under Joyce Hopkirk; had been reformulated by Helen Gurley Brown (author of Sex and the Single Girl) in US. Goes on to become world's best-selling woman's magazine - and best seller in UK until arrival of Glamour in 2002
    Feminist monthly Spare Rib launched by Marsh Rowe and Rosie Boycott. WH Smith refused to stock it. Grew out of underground press
    Gloria Steinem's Ms - a women's lib magazine - launched (US)
    US magazine Life closes with a bumper issue on December 29, despite having had a circulation of 8.5m copies just two years earlier. The loss of advertising to TV and the high cost of postage were blamed for four years of losses
People launches with Mia Farrow cover (US)
UK edition of Rolling Stone (until 1982)
1976   Filipacchi expands by buying Paris-Match from Prouvost group
First Apple computer
    IPC launches home video division
Comag distribution company formed by Condé Nast and National Magazines
    IPC launches 2000 AD, introducing Judge Dredd in the second issue

Private Eye loses criminal libel case brought by James Goldsmith, which costs it more than £100,000. Magazine launches fund to raise money to prevent closure - the Goldenballs fund 
Angelo Zgorelec launches Personal Computer World
Company launched

Cosmo Man launched but fails
    L'Echo des Savanes launches in France
Smash Hits launched by Emap. Concept of weekly pop magazine by Nick Logan

Reed International Ltd at its height as a conglomerate, owning: IPC Ltd; Mirror Group Newspapers; Odhams (Watford) printers; IPC Printers; Hamlyn and Butterworths book publishers; Reed Paper; and wallpaper and building products manufacturers. IPC Magazines published 69 weekly and monthly titles, 22 of them for women. These included Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Realm and Woman's Weekly - the top four weeklies, selling 5 million copies a week. IPC nicknamed  'Ministry of Magazines' because of its market clout

Now!, a weekly news magazine, launched by Cavenham Communications, controlled by Sir James Goldsmith. Hit 410,000 sales before closing in 1981 with losses of £6m
Nick Logan launches The Face at Wagadon, using his own money after Emap turns the idea down. Designed by Neville Brody. Strong music base; develops into fashion bible for the 1980s
    Margaret Thatcher portrayed on the cover of the Sunday Times Magazine supplement as Joan of Arc at the end of her first year as prime minister; seen as the start of a cosy relationship with Rupert Murdoch (owner of the Times, Sunday Times , News of the World and the Sun, the UK's biggest-selling daily). HarperCollins, another Murdoch company, later published her memoirs 

High Life in-flight magazine by Highgate Publications for British Airways. Regarded as first contract title
BBC/Acorn Microcomputer and IBM PC launched

Lagardere buys Hachette in France

Computer & Video Games launched by Emap: claims to be world’s first games magazine. Finally closed by Future in 2004, though website lived on and became part of Games Radar. www.computerandvideogames.com

Magazine supplements launched by Sunday Express and News of the World
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Computer magazines, such as Acorn User at Addison-Wesley in London, start to use e-mail systems and online bulletin boards, in this case Dialcom

December: Your Computer editor Toby Wolpe invents cover disc - a 33.3 rpm vinyl single holding Sinclair ZX81 games
Redwood Publishing founded by Michael Potter (former publisher of advertising trade weekly Campaign), Christopher Ward (former editor of Daily Express newspaper) and Christopher Curry (joint founder of Acorn Computer, makers of the BBC Micro). Takes over Acorn User from Addison-Wesley as first published title. Establishes contract publishing industry with titles such as Expression! for American Express, InterCity for British Rail, M&S for Marks and Spencer, and Business Solutions for Unisys

Time magazine names computer as "Man of the Year"

Emap launches Micronet online bulletin board, which reaches 1m subscribers. Magazines and individuals set up own pages on the Prestel-based system. Thousands of computer users run own boards from home using BBC Micros and modems. 
    Derek Birdsall, who art-directed Town, Nova and Twen and later The Independent Magazine and the Sunday Telegraph Magazine appointed Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA
    Advance resurrects Vanity Fair and buys Gentleman's Quarterly
    Vanity Fair launches a second time in US

Advance adds Tatler and World of Interiors to Condé Nast stable in UK

Hackers break into Prince Philip's electronic mail on Emap's Micronet

Apple Macintosh launched and IBM PC AT

Reed International sells Mirror group newspapers to Robert Maxwell for £90m to concentrate on academic journals, magazines and books (even though in 1973 government inspectors had said Maxwell could not be trusted to exercise 'proper stewardship' of a publicly quoted company )

Redwood Publishing sells off all typewriters to run company on network of Acorn's BBC Microcomputers

The Times launches educational bulletin board and e-mail system for schools, TTNS (The Times Network for Schools) based on British Telecom's Dialcom technology

Private Eye's 'Spot the worthless Czech' cover of Robert Maxwell 
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Postscript-based software, such as Aldus Pagemaker and Adobe Illustrator running on the Apple Macintosh, allied to laser printers, herald the advent of desktop publishing. This revolutionises production of magazines and newspapers

The Hackers Handbook by Hugo Cornwall is a bestseller

Advance buys New Yorker

For Him distributed through men's fashion outlets by Chris Astridge. Distribution expanded to newsagents as a quarterly in spring 1987
At £399, Amstrad 1512 puts PC within reach of home buyers in the UK. Creates huge market for PC magazines, led by Dennis's PC Shopper. Computer standardisation sounds death knell for 'user' magazines
Nick Logan's Wagadon launches men's quarterly Arena. Designed by Neville Brody

Today, first colour newspaper, launched by Eddy Shah

Gruner & Jahr enters UK market with monthly Prima

Robert Maxwell launches one-off spoof newsprint tabloid Not Private Eye to celebrate and publicise winning £55,000 in libel trial against Private Eye, which had suggested Maxwell had tried to bribe his way to a peerage. Maxwell gave his account of the trial in a book, Malice in Wonderland. Christmas cover of Private Eye showed Maxwell holding a writ and a sack, saying 'Happy Christmas to you all'. Maxwell became notorious for his many libel actions but his crooked ways were revealed after his death in 1991
Quark Xpress DTP package launched. Overshadows Pagemaker, forming 'holy trinity' of publishing software on Macintosh: Quark; Photoshop; and Illustrator
    Voluntary ban on tobacco advertising covers 27 magazines - including Horse & Pony and Vogue because of the size of their readership among females aged 15-24

German publishers challenge the dominance of IPC's weeklies with Best (Gruner & Jahr) and Bella (Bauer)

Zeebrugge ferry disaster. Operator Townsend Thoresen withdraws all advertising
    Furore over Margaret Thatcher's 'no such thing as society' remark in Woman's Own ('Aids, education and the year 2000!' by Douglas Keay, 31 October 1987, pp8-10)
Diane Abbott is the first black woman elected to the UK parliament
    Spanish Hola! launches as Hello! Marks start of fawning approach to celebrities, who are paid for their pictures and given veto over them before publication
    Reed subsidiary Carlton launches upmarket fashion weekly Riva but closes it within 6 months and the company is put under the control of another Reed arm, IPC

IPC responds to German incursions with Essentials. Also forms European Magazines Ltd, a joint venture with Groupe Marie Claire to launch the UK edition. Essentials launched in France by Groupe Marie Claire as Avantages
    Nick Logan sells 40 per cent of Wagadon (The Face and Arena) to Condé Nast to fund expansion of the latter and launches of short-lived Frank and Deluxe

New Scientist prints hologram of Newton on cover
Time merges with Warner

Vogue uses bar codes on front cover

Condé Nast brings GQ to the UK

UK government plans to deregulate TV and radio listings. BBC responds to threat to revenue by taking over contract publisher Redwood. IPC buys TV Times, which it had published under licence, from broadcasters

Hearst Magazines International founded to exploit brands such as Cosmopolitan

1586-1949 ; 1950-1969 (this page) ; 1970-1989 ; 1990-
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