Media: Double Standards - The ABCs of succeeding in magazine publishing

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 17 October 2008 12:00AM

The magazine market may be tough but sales of The Week and MoneyWeek show an appetite for weekly news.

SIMON DAVIES - PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, THE WEEK

- How do you explain your recent ABC circulation success?

We continually give readers what they want, which is more information and analysis in less time. News is becoming increasingly commoditised. It's become dominated by soundbites and instant headlines. The Week enables its readers to see each story in context and from balanced political and geographic viewpoints. We make sense of it all, and we do it from a neutral standpoint.

- What makes you stand out in the magazine sector?

The source of our success - we offer a truly unique editorial proposition to readers. Instead of adding a voice to the issues of the week, we act as an intelligent filter, distilling everything down to the very essence of the debate and presenting all sides. Once our editors have waded through the British and foreign media, only the most interesting, insightful or entertaining comment makes it into the magazine.

- Is it a good time generally for weekly frequency titles or is success more specific to individual titles?

ABC results for the past five years would suggest our particular sector is performing relatively well. A few titles within that sector have done particularly well. The Week alone has grown 76 per cent during that time.

- What do you offer that's unique for advertisers?

We restrict the number of ads that appear in the magazine, guaranteeing each ad a very high share of voice. At the same time, our readers are devouring every word - because they know they can read the entire magazine in under an hour. As it becomes increasingly hard to get the attention of consumers, this allows us to offer something everyone's looking for: unique standout to a fully engaged consumer.

- How do you market your brand?

We position ourselves as the solution for time-pressed and information-hungry opinion formers. Our circulation is primarily subscription-based, so the majority of our marketing spend goes on direct marketing efforts. This year, we've also had significant national press activity and some tactical promotional partnerships. Word of mouth is something we benefit greatly from and actively encourage. We use our existing subscribers as a very effective marketing outfit - our friend-get-friend and gift subscription programmes are both hugely successful.

- What plans do you have to expand your brand into new areas (geographically and in terms of new services)?

Our US edition now sells more than 500,000 copies and we launch in Australia this month. The international expansion of The Week will continue; there's a demand for the service we provide from cash-rich but time-poor people all around the world. We've recently launched our own wine club and will shortly unveil a new website.

- What do you offer online?

The purchase of thefirstpost.co.uk has given us a strong online proposition and allows us to integrate any relevant advertiser campaigns.

- Which media, apart from your own title, do you most enjoy consuming?

Today on Radio 4 and The World Tonight bookend my day. I particularly look forward to each issue of The Economist, Private Eye, Fortean Times and National Geographic. Working in our New York office left me with a New York Mets habit that makes espn.com and Sports Illustrated essential.

TOBY BRAY - MANAGING DIRECTOR, MONEYWEEK

- How do you explain your recent ABC circulation success?

Our success is down to the fact that we're very different from other financial mags. We have an engaging, colourful format and the articles are easy to read, intelligent and opinionated. As well as providing expert, practical advice, MoneyWeek is also, crucially, enjoyable to read. Plus we have an impressive record of correctly predicting trends well ahead of the mainstream media - the housing crash, credit crunch, oil price rise, commodity boom etc.

- What makes you stand out in the magazine sector?

Our approach to financial journalism: conveying intelligent, opinionated views in an accessible, easy-to-read format. As much as readers want to keep up with the news and stay informed, they also want to be amused, provoked and entertained.

- Is it a good time generally for weekly frequency titles or is success more specific to individual titles?

Serious weekly current affairs titles are all doing well. In a world of 24-hour media, I believe that people like the sense of perspective and understanding that weekly titles provide, as opposed to being caught up in the minute-to-minute hubbub of news.

- What do you offer that's unique for advertisers?

A very wealthy and influential readership - we have 35,000 subscribers alone, with an average annual income of more than £80,000. And all across three channels: magazine, daily e-mail and website.

- How do you market your brand?

Our editor, Merryn Somerset Webb, and deputy editor, John Stepek, appear frequently on radio and TV. Aside from that and our growing newsstand presence, all our marketing is direct marketing: 80 per cent via the internet and e-mail promotions, 20 per cent via direct mail and inserts. Our standard offer is a three-week free trial of the magazine, leading to a subscription.

- What plans do you have to expand your brand into new areas (geographically and in terms of new services)?

We have just launched MoneyWeek France, from our Paris office. We also have a South African edition. There may well be more overseas editions to come. On new services, there is huge potential with our website, plus we have a range of niche investment newsletters, written by MoneyWeek contributors, which we will be extending.

- What do you offer online?

As well as in the magazine, there are ad opportunities around our daily and weekly e-mails. Plus, we publish a number of additional daily articles on the website that don't appear in the magazine.

- Which media, apart from your own title, do you most enjoy consuming?

The Spectator, The Week, Private Eye.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

X

You must log in to use Clip & Save

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Additional Information

Campaign Jobs