Media Lifeline: Redwood Publishing

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 21 November 2008 12:00AM

The customer magazine specialist has gone from strength to strength.

1983: Mike Potter, a former publishing director of Campaign, joins with the former Daily Express editor Christopher Ward and the computer entrepreneur Christopher Curry to form Redwood Publishing. In 1984, Redwood launches Expression - the UK's first customer magazine - for American Express.

1989: BBC Worldwide buys Redwood as a vehicle to launch masthead spin-offs of some of its more popular magazine-format programmes. The first up is BBC Good Food - followed by the likes of Gardener's World, The Clothes Show and Top Gear. In 1993, with Charter renewal looming, the BBC becomes nervous about appearing too commercial - and sells Redwood back to its managers.

1994: But it doesn't stay independent for long. Just over six months later it's snapped up by Abbott Mead Vickers, then a UK-focused marketing services group quoted on the London Stock Exchange. New ownership coincides with a surge in success. In one day in May, for instance, it wins contracts for the UK's two largest ever customer magazines - Sky TV Guide and AA Magazine.

1999: AMV Group had become a wholly owned asset of Omnicom in 1998. Redwood now eyes an international expansion strategy, opening an office in Toronto. And growth outside the UK is achieved organically too. Volvo's contract title was originally launched just in the UK - but expands eventually to embrace more than 70 markets.

2008: Redwood had already evolved into audio visual media, producing its first client film, The Eclipse, for Land Rover in 2006. Now, as it prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, it launches another first - an e-zine version of the Virgin Media magazine Electric!. Content includes trailers and video clips.

Fast forward ...

2011: To date, Omnicom has housed its branded content efforts in specialist divisions, such as Fuse, that come essentially from a TV background. Now it begins to recognise that Redwood not only has a greater track record in developing multi-platform ideas but has deeper relationships with clients. Redwood now becomes the group's lead agency in this area.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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