A bloke rang me last week to tell me he was about to launch a
magazine called Mould Technology. It is the first title for his new
business-to-business publishing company, but it sounds like it has a
better chance of success than some of the grand new glossies gestating
in the offices of the consumer publishers.
While I cannot claim to have understood fully the chap’s appraisal of
the mouldings market, I did glean that there is something of a rift
between the mould manufacturers, the plastics companies and the end
users. Our man is determined to develop a title that will help the
groups communicate with each other and work as one industry rather than
three. He’s done his research and has the support of each of the
factions - where else are they going to advertise?
I confess, I wouldn’t necessarily want to be the editor of Mould
Technology - not that I’m about to get an offer - but it is easy to see
that it is a valuable and logical business proposition.
At the other end of the scale, in the glossier world of consumer
publishing, there is a scrum to produce yet more magazines for women.
IPC is reincarnating its 60s style bible Nova and Eve Pollard is trying
to give birth to Verve, a magazine for older women. Gruner & Jahr is
cooking up a title with the oddly similar name, Vital. Dennis is still,
after several years of deliberation, working towards a women’s magazine
called PS. John Brown has joined the throng with the announcement of his
plans to produce Bare. And Conde Nast is cleverly pre-empting these
launches, and hoovering up spare budgets, with a one-off called Real
The banal names chosen for these magazines - admittedly some are just
working titles - are matched only by the lack of imagination that has
resulted in these publishers trying to fill barely visible niches in the
women’s market, rather than coming up with original ideas. Doubtless
they will be good products because most of these companies have an
incredible record, but it is questionable whether they can all turn a
profit - especially if the economy were to slow a little. And if they do
make money, it will surely be a question of cannibalising the existing
Why not try to spot a new niche or create a new market? Look at
Wallpaper, or at Wallpaper founder Tyler Brule’s intriguing new plan for
a quarterly sports magazine. Brule has come up with great ideas that
create their own market. John Brown might look even closer to home at
the many ground-breaking titles in his stable. Take Viz, Fortean Times
or Bizarre for example: love them or hate them, they all exploited
previously untapped markets.
And that’s where Mould Technology has one up on Verve, Vital and the