PUBLISHING AGENCIES: A QUESTION OF MAGAZINES - Four customer publishing clients answer questions about the customer magazine market Compiled by Rebecca Beer.



1. Can you name three publishing agencies that come in your top ten?

2. Can you name a couple of customer magazines that have either made it on to the newsstand or have a cover charge?

3. Can you suggest any examples of recent launches or rebranding of any customer titles?

4. Are there any customer titles that you read in your own time?

5. Which of the customer titles do you think is the fattest?

6. Can you name any online customer titles?

7. Can you name at least three titles that you think have outstanding ABCs?


Egg Refresh,

The Forward Group

A1: Measuring it on performance and output, I'd say Redwood, Forward and Aspen are in the top ten.

A2: Sainsbury's Magazine and Tesco Recipe both charge. I think it's a good thing. From a brand perspective, it proves that it's strong enough and that people are willing to pay for it.

A3: O from Orange, the Saab magazine and Tesco Club Card. The Orange mag I absolutely love. It's on target and does a lot for the brand. The Tesco Club Card magazine really drives sales for the company and Saab I like because it's a real mixture of cars and also lifestyle.

A4: Yes, I do actually like to read the Orange title and also the Saab magazine. I also have strong connections with Tesco because of a previous job, so I tend to read Tesco Club Card as well.

A5: Probably M&S, which is a Redwood title, and Petexilite, which is a magazine for very expensive watches. Petexilite is purely content, there is no advertising in that mag. However, although M&S doesn't have any outside advertising, it now offer, so many services that it advertises its own products. It is a very advertorial title overall.

As far as advertising goes, I feel there is a time and a place for it, perhaps in lifestyle-orientated titles.

However, it does seem to detract from the power of the magazine as a medium.

A6: Mmm, no. The only web title I can think of is our own e-zinef, which you access through

A7: Tesco Club Card, Baby Club, which is another Tesco title, and probably M&S, although I don't know the figures.


BMW magazine,

River Publishing

A1: River. Definitely River. It is so good there is no reason to name any others.

A2: No, not really. I can't name any that are on the newsstand but some titles do tend to charge which I think is an interesting prospect.

A3: I think Virgin's Hot Air has had a bit of a revamp. What do I think of it? Well, when I first saw it I thought it was a very short read. However, I recently flew Virgin and saw the new style mag, which I have to say was a lot more interesting. I think BA has also given High Life and Business Life a new image.

A4: Apart from BMW, I generally read other car mags, although I do tend to read Waitrose Food Illustrated. With that one, I find it interesting how a magazine changes when it changes from being a consumer magazine to a customer magazine. When it became the property of Waitrose, I thought: 'Who is communicating with me here?'

A5: Well, I suppose it should be Food Illustrated really, although you would probably have to ask my postman.

A6: No, I don't think I can. Anyway, I believe in the three Bs principle: that being breakfast, bog and bath. As far as I know, you can't access online titles in these places.

A7: I think probably the AA would be quite high. Also, very boring because they are all motor or car titles, but I think I will have to say Ford and Renault.



River Publishing

A1: I would probably say TPD, John Brown, River and Redwood.

A2: Sainsbury's charge and so do we. I think it is a good idea to charge.

We give both the staff and the customer incentives to buy and sell the magazine, such as money-off vouchers and competitions. We don't make a profit by charging for the magazine, we aim to provide credible information from credible health experts. The cover price helps to cover the costs.

A3: No, I can't.

A4: No, not in my own time. I do see lots of titles from the health industry that are more like leaflets, actually. I also look at supermarket magazines. Sainsbury's magazine is a good title and good value for money. I read the Boots magazine, which is also a good title.

A5: The fattest would probably have to be the Sainsbury's magazine, which I would say is dominated by advertising.

A6: Unfortunately not.

A7: Sainsbury's, although I don't know the figure. Our magazine has a figure of 108,000, which probably puts it quite high up. I would imagine Safeways, if it has an ABC figure, being quite high.


World Cargo,

Atom Publishing

A1: In my top ten I would probably say Premier, Blackson and Atom.

A2: Probably only supermarket magazines, such as Sainsbury's and Waitrose.

As far as charging goes, I think it can only be a good thing for the brand.

To produce a quality magazine, you have to charge something, but I think they have to be careful not to overcharge. So, in terms of quality, it doesn't do any harm.

A3: Marks & Spencer has, I believe, although I cannot comment because I haven't actually seen the magazine.

A4: No, not really. Although, actually, I do have the occasional look at the National Trust title and I get the AA magazine through my door. I also read BA's High Life.

A5: I would have to say High Life probably. Very biased, I know, but it is a very high quality magazine and has lots in it. Also, it is free, although the price is probably incorporated in the price of the flight.

A6: I can't really think of any online customer magazines. I only really look at news publications on the web, such as the Financial Times and the Reuters site.

A7: I would say that High Life has quite high ABC figures, although I couldn't give an exact figure. Then I would probably say the National Trust title, that's probably heavy on ABC. Who else? Marks & Spencer, probably.