Timeline: a history of magazines

1586-1949 ; 1950-1969 ; 1970-1989 ; 1990-

Events in the history of magazines. Four pages list developments in technology, distribution and corporate strategy as well as the influence of periodicals on culture.

1990 BBC/Redwood launches Good Food, which takes sector by storm. Similar effect with range of titles such as Gardeners' World and Top Gear. Also some high-profile failures, such as Tomorrow's World. Other publishers, especially IPC, were livid, claiming the magazines had millions of pounds' worth of free TV advertising
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 and the Sun, the UK's biggest-selling daily). HarperCollins, another Murdoch company, later published her memoirs – Date wrong – should be 1980
World Wide Web described by Tim Berners-Lee
Entertainment Weekly launched (US)
1991 February. Deregulation of listings market, destroying monopoly of BBC's Radio Times and IPC's TV Times. IPC slashes latter's cover price to move downmarket; also launches What's on TV. Bauer launches TV Quick. Hamfield launches TV Plus, which soon folds. Papers launch their own weekly guides as do some magazines, such as Time Out
Maxwell floats the Mirror Group, achieving almost £250m for just under half of the company; though investors were seen as as unenthusiastic (May). The run-up featured pensioners threatening legal action over a fall in the value of their pensions
Enquiry into Standards of Cross Media Promotion by John Sadler identifies promotion on BBC TV of BBC magazines as an area for concern
Gardeners' World uses trug (a basket for plant cuttings, etc) as cover mount – magazine sold inside the cover mount! The height of a marketing battle with Emap and IPC for gardening market – other cover mounts included a metal and wood garden spade
New Crane Publishing launches Sainsbury's Magazine licensed from the supermarket. A variant of contract publishing
BBC closes The Listener. The Times takes over on its crossword
Esquire launches in UK
For Him changes its name to FHM
1992 Emap buys Car from FF Publishing. Magazine switches from hot metal to DTP production
First SMS text message to a mobile phone
Newspaper and magazine archives published on CD-Rom
(20 June) Economist makes reference to the world wide web: 'Researchers at CERN in Geneva are trying to build a similar service, which they call World-Wide Web (or W3), drawing on their experience in helping physicists find their way around the mountains of data produced by CERN's accelerators.'
Punch closes for first time
1993 Reed Elsevier plc formed by merger of Dutch academic publisher Elsevier and Reed International, owner of UK's largest magazine publisher IPC. World's third-biggest publisher. Starts to sell off consumer products, such as local newspapers, to focus on academic journals and business information
Mosaic – first graphical web browser
Wired magazine launches in US
Haymarket's What Car? produces CD-Rom holding review of Saab saloon with XYZ new media magazine
Emap launches weekly Carweek. Closes next year having cost company £7 million
The Times cuts price to 30p, heralding a price war
30 January issue of New Statesman & Society publishes article about rumours of affair between John Major, the prime minister, and a caterer, Clare Latimer – 'The curious case of John Major's "mistress"'. Major and Latimer both sued the magazine, but settled for £1,001 without the magazine admitting liability. They also sued the impecunious Scallyway , a fringe magazine, which first published the rumours. However, NSS had to pay for settlements made by its printers, distributor and newsagents – which cost more than £200,000. It raised the money in a fund-raising campaign entitled 'Would you sue your paper boy?'. In 2002, MP Edwina Curry revealed she had a four-year affair with Major between 1984 and 1988 
Association of Publishing Agencies founded in UK
1994 IPC launches Loaded with James Brown as editor – start of a boom in 'lads' mags'
Emap buys men's fashion title FHM from small publisher Tayvale. Mike Soutar appointed editor for relaunch with publisher David Hepworth
Reed-Elsevier buys Lexis-Nexis. Marks starts of corporate strategy to concentrate on online academic markets that is to see it sell off newspapers, printing companies, book publishers – and IPC, the UK's biggest magazine house
US Wired magazine launches Hot Wired website
Daily Telegraph claims to be the first national newspaper on the web
Future Publishing launches .Net magazine and Futurenet website
First banner advertising on the web, for Wired magazine (US)
December issue of Vogue carries half-page advertisement for www.condenast.co.uk
1995 Periodical Publishers Association on the web
Guardian newspaper launches UK version of Wired
IPC launches UnZip, 'the UK's first fully interactive magazine on CD-Rom'. Based on content from New Scientist, NME and Vox. Zone did technical work. 15 age label; £15.99 introductory offer; for Mac and PC
Editor Gill Hudson puts CD-Rom on cover of August issue of Maxim in UK
IPC launches Uploaded.com, based on content from Loaded , and nme.com, based on New Musical Express. Start of an ambitious web programme
Indonesian government revokes licence of weekly news magazine Tempo (founded 1971). Staff splits to launch website, Tempo Interaktif (www.tempo.co.id) and weekly Gatra. Web articles attacking corrupt president Suharto and his son 'Tommy' later collated as book
1996 Punch resurrected by Mohamed el Fayed
Futurenet website claims 200,000 registered users
Future's .Net produces 32-page supplement 'Doing Business Online' with Financial Times. Distributed 460,000 copies with paper and magazine
Loaded selling more than 250,000 copies a month
VNU launches Jobnet recruitment website based on advertising in Computing, PC Week and Network News
1997 TV Guide magazine in US goes online
Web page linking test case between Shetland Times and Shetland News settles out of court
Zest and Good Housekeeping make masthead TV programmes
April issue of Emap's Garden Answers has metal and wood garden spade on cover
Dennis's Maxim beats IPC's Loaded and Emap's FHM in launching new-wave men's magazine in US
Filipacchi Medias and Hachette Filipacchi Medias merge to form Hachette Filipacchi Medias, the world's largest magazine publisher, with 160 titles in France and internationally
David Hillman, who redesigned the Guardian, appointed Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA
Hearst launches Kosmopolitan in Indonesia ('C' pronounced as 'ch')
1998 Cinven, a venture capital firm, funds management buyout of IPC from Reed Elsevier plc for £860 million
Custom Publishing Council established as a committee of the Magazine Publishers of America
1999 Cosmo Hair launches
Wagadon's Deluxe folds. Condé Nast sells Wagadon stake to Emap, and Nick Logan sells his The Face, Arena and Frank to Emap. Frank closed immediately
Launch of www.natmags.co.uk Over the next 18 months, National Magazines launches 'microsites' for each of its magazines
2000 January issue of Loaded published with 100 different covers
FHM launches in US under editor Ed Needham. Maxim guarantees sales of 950,000 copies a month to advertisers
Beme, a women's portal, launched by IPC Electric
National Magazines buys UK arm of Gruner and Jahr
In advertising in US magazines such as Brill's Content for its e-book reader, Microsoft forecasts: '2005: The sales of e-book titles, e-magazines and e-newspapers top $1 billion'; and '2020 Ninety per cent of all titles are now sold in electronic as well as paper form. Websters [US dictionary] alters its first definition of the word 'book' to refer to e-book titles read on screen.'
2001 US group Time Inc buys IPC from Cinven for £1.15 billion
European Union Directive on Copyright and Related Rights in the Information Society
Spate of activity in women's glossies. Condé Nast launches Glamour in innovative handbag-sized A5 format at £1.50 with £4m marketing campaign; first ABC sales figure of  451,486 just 690 behind Cosmopolitan
National Magazines launches In Style and Cosmo Girl!; Cosmo-branded cafes.
Launches increase sales in the sector by 17.8 per cent
Emap sells US arm Petersen for £366m to Primedia – having paid £1bn for the company in 1999
Dotcom crash. IPC closes high-profile websites such as Beme.com and Uploaded.com. Similar story of contraction at Emap. Technology-dependent Future in crisis: sells Business 2.0 in US and closes UK edition; closes many other titles
Newspaper and magazine designer Simon Esterson appointed Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA
2002 John Brown Citrus wins contract to publish satellite broadcaster Sky’s customer magazine, the UK's highest circulating magazine (5,183,964 copies) from Redwood – and becomes biggest company in the field
Hachette Filipacchi Medias of France buys Attic Futura (UK arm of Australian publisher PMP) and ends joint deal with Emap over fashion glossy Elle , women's monthly Red, and Elle Decoration and Elle Girl
Despite series of relaunches, Punch closed by Mohammed al Fayed. Lives on as website selling cartoon catalogue www.punch.co.uk
2003 Dennis uses picture messaging on Maxim website
Emap sets up an actual FHM Pub, manned by models behind the bar and professional darts players, as part of a mobile phone marketing event programme
Saturday's Daily Mirror scraps female-oriented M and The Look magazine supplements in favour of We Love Telly and Football Confidential. M once marketed itself as the biggest weekly women's magazine
Glamour confirms position as best-selling women's monthly, more than 100,000 copies ahead of Cosmo, at 576,832 copies
Best-selling UK titles are What's on TV at 1.7m (IPC); Take a Break 1.2m (H Bauer); and Radio Times 1.2m (BBC Worldwide). Contract titles claim largest circulations: Sky Customer Magazine (6.1m); AA Magazine; O Magazine (2.5m) – all published by John Brown Citrus
Sunday Times newspaper launches The Month, a CD-Rom previewing arts and entertainment events in the weeks ahead. To be published on the last Sunday of each month. Sponsored by Renault cars. Cost estimated at £10 million. The Independent launches 'compact' version
PPA announces marketing programme to promote magazines for advertising  www.ppa.co.uk
The Illustrated London News relaunched as a monthly by ILN Group
2004 January: IPC launches 'world's first men's weekly', Nuts. Emap follows a week later with Zoo. Launch budget for each about £8m
BBC Magazines announces ownership deal with publisher of The Times of India, following relaxing of country's rules on foreign investment
Hearst launches 50th international edition of Cosmopolitan – in Bulgaria
Acorn User computer magazine closes after 22 years
Emap announces the closure of The Face, once the embodiment of cutting-edge youth culture, after 24 years
Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Elle all follow Glamour's lead in launching 'travel' or 'handbag' formats. The Times follows the Independent's lead and launches 'compact' version; Guardian announces plans to switch to Le Monde-sized Berliner format
H Bauer, the German publisher, launches – and later closes – Cut men's weekly in UK
Sales of Emap France's Tele Poche and Pleine Vie fell by 15-20% after Bertelsmann subsidiary Prisma Presse launches Tele 2 Semaines
Hearst-controlled National Magazine Company forms partnership in the UK to produce weeklies with Australian Consolidated Press
Pearce Marchbank, who established the graphic style for Time Out and did Oz covers, appointed Royal Designer for Industry by the RSA
Nat Mags launches Reveal, 'the ultimate glossy women's weekly'
2005 IPC launches real-life weekly Pick Me Up
Emap launches Italian fashion weekly Grazia in UK
Condé Nast launches monthly Easy Living in UK
Time Out Chicago launch
Burda launches Full House women's weekly
Wallpaper* launches in Moscow
IPC's Woman & Home launched in South Africa by Caxton
Future pulls out of buying Highbury after Office of Fair Trading refers deal to the Competition Commission; later buys 37 of its titles
IPC relaunches fading Loaded
IPC launches compact-sized TV Easy
Gruner & Jahr (75% owned by the German group Bertelsmann) pulls out of US after 30 years by selling Family Circle, Parents, Child and Fitness to Meredith for $350m
Facsimiles of FHM pages available for reading on the website
Emap France launches Closer
FHM issues August issue in 3 sizes
Condé Nast launches trial issue of Men's Vogue in US
HFUK's Psychologies looks for 'third wave' women in Britain (Oct)
Guardian newspaper switches to Berliner format at £80m cost (Sept)
2006 Real People launch from ACP-NatMag (Jan)
Highbury sells all its divisions
Emap closes Smash Hits
Love It! and Inside Out from News Magazines
BBC sells Origin division
Emap launches weekly First
Emap sells French arm to Mondadori
Teen sector in distress in UKand US
Sneak, Family Circle and Test Drive close; You withdrawn
H. Bauer launches In the Know
London freesheet war
3 publications nominated as icons of England: The Eagle comic; Punch and The Spectator
2007 IPC launches weekly Look
Tyler Brûlé launches Monocle
Vanity Fair launches as a weekly in Germany
Condé Nast (US) launches Portfolio
Free men's weekly Shortlist launched
2008 Emap dismembers itself into consumer and trade divisions, which are then sold
In its first act after buying Emap's consumer titles, Bauer closes weekly First and monthly New Woman
News of the World relaunches its supplement as Fabulous, ‘Britain’s biggest weekly glossy’
US supermarket chain Wal-Mart cuts 1,000 titles from its magazine stocks – including the Economist, Business Week, Forbes and Fortune
2005 Dalek cover for Radio Times wins best cover battle in PPA’s magazine promotion week
Haymarket closes women’s monthly  Eve, but maintains website spin-off evecars.com
Conde Nast cuts Men’s Vogue frequency to just 2 issues a year instead of 10
BBC to review commercial activities after accusation of being an ‘out of control juggernaut’. BBC Magazines launches Lonely Planet amid controversy and complaints from Wonderlust
Ben Goldacre attacks Woman's Own over its medical reporting in his Bad Science column in the Guardian ('Bad Science: Jackie's tale sets alarm bells ringing', 8 November 2008, p12). A complaint by the interviewee to the Press Complaints Commission about the article, 'A Phone Call Could Kill Me', was not upheld.
TV chef Jamie Oliver launches Jamie magazine at WHSmith
2009 Arena, the Wagadon monthly that revitalised the men’s lifestyle sector in the UK, closed by Bauer; Dennis closes Maxim
The Press Complaints Commission upholds complaint against Closer for a 'serious' breach of the Code of Practice, after it published 'distortions and fabricated quotes' about a woman who had not known she was pregnant before giving birth
Bauer launches Eat In
Press Complaints Commission says 5% of the complaints it sees are about magazines, with the 'greater proportion' from people featured in ‘real-life' stories. These included Closer 'distort[ing] a story in breach of the Editors' Code of Practice; Chat's 'cavalier approach' to intrusion into grief or shock; Take a Break paying the daughter of a convicted arsonist for a story about her mother's crime
Recession bites: Conde Nast closes business-glitzty Portfolio in US and mega weekly Vanity Fair in Germany; Wired loses almost 60% of its US advertising pages in a year. However, in UK, publisher goes ahead with launch of Wired and fashion twice-yearly Love
2011 July 8. Rupert Murdoch announces the closure of the 200-year-old Sunday newspaper the News of the World after widespread phone-hacking exposed
November. Dazed & Confused exhibition at Somerset House and book celebrating 20 years of the magazine

BBC Worldwide agrees to sell or license its magazines to Exponent, a private equity firm that own Magicalia, for £121m and offload India joint venture

Discovery of widespread “phone-hacking” by journalists at the News of the World and other newspapers results in the Leveson inquiry into press standards
2012 November. Tesco Magazine is assessed as having the highest readership in Britain, overtaking The Sun newspaper. The NRS said readership had risen 8% in a year, to 7.2m, while the paper's had dropped to 7.1m. The twice-monthly magazine was given way at the doors of Tesco's 800 UK outlets. It was published by Cedar under editor Helen Johnston for the UK's biggest supermarket chain by market share. A weakness of customer magazines was demonstrated in that people spent 29 minutes reading The Sun but just 16mins with Tesco Magazine. Asda Magazine had 6m readers, Sainbury's Magazine 3.4m and Your M&S 3.7m. Such supermarket magazine have a long history of very high circulations, with Family Circle, which was sold at the checkouts of supmarkets, being the top seller among women's monthlies in the 1960s and right up to 1986
December. Several newspapers and magazines reject any statutory scheme to control the press apart from self-regulation
2014 8 September. Press Complaints Commission, the newspaper and magazines watchdog, replaced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)
September. Weekly music magazine NME becomes a freesheet
2016 May. V&A Museum in London launches A History of British Magazine Design by Magforum founder Anthony Quinn at the Magculture Shop in Islington

June. V&A publishes A History of British Magazine Design in the US through Abrams Books
2017 January. Germany's Hubert Burda Media buys Immediate Media – and the licences to the BBC's titles such as Radio Times – from private equity group Exponent in a £260m deal
November. US media group Meredith buys Time Inc, parent company of Time Inc UK
2018 February. Time Inc UK sold to private equity company Epiris in a deal estimated at £130m
March. Time Inc UK closes weekly music magazine NME
2021 January. Matthew Carter appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to typography and design

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