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
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
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
Coleridge predicted that the future for consumer magazines was
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.