Bull scorns Internet at PPA magazines event

George Bull, the chairman of Grand Metropolitan and president of the Advertising Association, issued a warning to media owners against placing too much faith in forecasts lauding new media and the ’technological revolution’ in magazine publishing.

George Bull, the chairman of Grand Metropolitan and president of

the Advertising Association, issued a warning to media owners against

placing too much faith in forecasts lauding new media and the

’technological revolution’ in magazine publishing.



In a speech this week at the Periodical Publishers Association’s

Magazines ’97 conference in London, Bull argued that, in a period of

tumultuous change, brands are stable and have never enjoyed such a

status within the business community.



’Brands have an everlasting life, as long as they retain their core

customers,’ he said. ’However, human beings are different - you can

never be certain of how technological innovation will affect behaviour

patterns.’



Bull stressed the need for media owners to speed up their reaction times

by planning an overall strategy for new media. However, many revisions

may be necessary in the short term to ensure competitive edge, he

warned.



Bull’s views were endorsed by Nicholas Coleridge, the managing director

of Conde Nast, who added that consumer titles were not under threat from

new media and that the rise of the magazine was unstoppable.



’Our Internet activity at Conde Nast is good, but it is incomparable

with the magazines themselves,’ he argued. ’Magazine circulation is at

an all-time high - especially with new launches.



’In the newspapers there are at least eight stories every day that have

been generated by magazine articles. Ten years ago, it was all about TV

documentaries. Now there are features about editors of gardening

magazines in their gardens - journalists are always being quoted.

Magazines provide the meat and potatoes of newspaper features

sections.’



Coleridge predicted that the future for consumer magazines was

assured.



He envisaged developments such as masthead programming and Internet

sites, magazine-linked food brands (’I can see ’Cosmo-on-a-stick’’) but,

above all, constant rebranding, change and unpredictability.



The full list of winners of the Magazines ’97 Awards was as follows:

consumer magazine of the year: FHM; business and professional magazine

of the year: Investment Week; customer magazine of the year: Colour;

consumer specialist magazine of the year: Homes and Antiques; consumer

editor of the year: Alexandra Shulman (Vogue); consumer publisher of the

year: Heather Love (Marie Claire); business and professional editor of

the year: Mary Heathcote (Asian Chemical News); business and

professional publisher of the year: Christine Martin (MacUser); consumer

international magazine of the year: Boat International; business and

professional international magazine of the year: European Chemical News;

USM publisher of the year: Tim Weller (Investment Week); editorial

campaign of the year: Horse and Pony; business and professional

columnist of the year: Sydney Lenssen (New Civil Engineer); consumer

specialist writer of the year: Dr Phil Hammond (Esquire); consumer

designer of the year: Claudia Zeff and Melissa Dring (Gardens

Illustrated); business and professional designer of the year: Stephen

Coates (Eye); consumer writer of year: Polly Toynbee (Radio Times); the

chairman’s award for consistent excellence: New Scientist.



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