Archive for the ‘digital’ Category

‘The Super Moshis need YOU’ – the powerful language of propaganda

August 25, 2015

The advertising watchdog has criticised Mind Candy for tempting children

Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority berated Mind Candy on Tuesday. The offence committed by the online company was using adverts inside Moshi Monsters to encourage the game’s young players to pester their parents for paid add-ons and subscriptions.

The problem has come up before with adverts even in games back in the 1980s, but it wasn’t this that grabbed my attention: it was the wording in the adverts.

Alfred Leete's 'Your Country Needs You' London Opinion cover inspired a Great War advertising campaign

Alfred Leete’s ‘Your Country Needs You’ London Opinion cover

Among the copy used were the phrases ‘The Super Moshis need YOU! Rise to the challenge and join the Super Moshis in their crusade’ alongside prominent calls to action such as ‘JOIN NOW’. This is the language of advertising from the Edwardian era and the propaganda posters of the First World War. The Moshi pages make frequent use of the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ to attract children’s attention and make them feel they are being spoken to directly. A classic market technique in 1914 and still effective now.

Black-and-white artist Alfred Leete used exactly that construction when he did his 1914 London Opinion magazine cover of Lord Kitchener that was taken up so powerfully as a government recruiting poster.

Millions of men volunteered to fight and die in the mud of France, enticed to join up by the ‘Your Country Needs You’ magazine covers and posters. In today’s consumer world, it’s children’s pocket money that the likes of Mind Candy are after with ‘Super Moshis need YOU!’.

Time turns NME into a freesheet

July 7, 2015

The image used to head the NME freeesheet  announcement The image used to head the NME freeesheet announcement

The message from Time Inc UK, the US-based  owner of what was IPC, came out as gobbledegook:

Iconic brand NME today announces the latest stage in its evolution as an audience-first global media business. As well as a new nme.com and digital products, in September NME will become a free weekly magazine. With music firmly at the heart of the brand, NME’s authority will be the gateway into a wider conversation around film, fashion, television, politics, gaming and technology.

According to Marcus Rich, chief executive:

This famous 63 year-old brand was an early leader in digital and has been growing its global audience successfully for the best part of 20 years. It has been able to do so because music is such an important passion and now is the right time to invest in bringing NME to an even bigger community for our commercial partners

NME was a digital pioneer for IPC, as both a driver of the Unzip CD-Rom and one of the company’s first websites, alongside New Scientist and Uploaded.com (who remembers that?). It is the last survivor of the ‘inkies’ – the tabloid weekly music papers that once numbered Melody Maker (which dated back to the 1920s and put a toilet roll on its last cover), Melody Maker, Disc, Record Mirror and Sounds – and sold in their hundreds of thousands.

Has such a freesheet strategy ever gone well for the magazine that started it all?

 

The Lady – out of racy Vie Parisienne

May 7, 2015
Retro artwork for The Lady magazine from 27 March 2015

Retro artwork for The Lady magazine from 27 March 2015

The Lady promotes itself as ‘England’s longest running weekly magazine for women’, having been in continuous publication since 1885 (DC Thomson’s People’s Friend out of Dundee holds the British record, dating from 1869 – in fact, it lays claim to being oldest women’s weekly magazine in the world). Furthermore, The Lady tells me, the magazine is ‘celebrated both for the quality of its editorial pages and its classified advertisements’ (it has long had the reputation as being the place to go to find a nanny). The Lady is ‘for elegant women with elegant minds’.

I was reading the issue above as I sat in the dentist this morning (no more Punch or Reader’s Digest). I was struck by the cover. Clearly, an illustration that has been lifted from a magazine dating from a century ago, when women had the time to line the walls of their houses with bowers of flowers, or at least inspired by one.

Then, blow me down, this afternoon I come across the original manifestation, for the racy French weekly Vie Parisienne. It’s been flipped, put through Photoshop with the colours hardened up and the artist’s monogram (GL – Georges Léonnec) removed, but it’s the same cover nevertheless. The cover line has also gone, Renouveau – renewal, in keeping with the Spring theme.

Racy French weekly Vie Parisienne from 1926

Racy French weekly Vie Parisienne from April 1926

The issue dates from 1926, the days of Art Deco and Jazz. This was very much the heyday of Vie Parisienne, which was famed for its artistic pin-ups. It was founded in 1863, before even People’s Friend, but closed in about 1970. Although there is still a French title of that name, it’s now pornographic and bears no relation to the original. And, just as Le Charivari had inspired Punch, so Vie Parisienne inspired London Life.

There’s a long history of magazines using each others’ cover ideas, though what the stately readers of The Lady in 1926 would have thought of these men’s magazines does not bear thinking about.

 

 

 

 

IPC set to close Nuts

March 31, 2014
First sold issue of Nuts

First sold issue of Nuts

IPC Media has announced a 30-day consultation with staff about the potential closure of Nuts and Nuts.co.uk. IPC Inspire managing director Paul Williams said:

After 10 years at the top of its market, we have taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of Nuts and exit the young men’s lifestyle sector. IPC will provide impacted staff with all the support they need during the consultation process.

There are several factors behind the decision. First, falling sales. In print, it now shifts an average of just 53,000 copies and digital figures are a pitiful 8,000 an issue.

Second, Nuts and its rivals have been under attack from women’s lobby groups for the past year as a form of harassment. Time-Life, the strait-laced US owners, undoubtedly hate this – Maxim founder Felix Dennis has pointed out that a magazine like Nuts could never have been launched in the US:

‘anyone who does [try to] will be utterly crucified because there isn’t anywhere to sell it. There’s not a supermarket in America that would touch [Emap’s and IPC’s weeklies] Zoo or Nuts.’

Also, Nuts has been looking exposed since IPC sold lad’s mags pioneer Loaded four years ago

First issue of Zoo from Emap

First issue of Zoo from Emap

Yet, when Nuts and Zoo launched in 2004 it was one of the great publishing races of the decade – IPC gave away a million free copies through WHSmith. At stake was leadership of a weekly men’s market alongside women’s in a way that gave hopes of turning the publishing clock back to the 1950s. IPC beat Emap (since swallowed up by Bauer) by a week and Nuts has held the sales lead since.

The first ABC sales figures were impressive – almost 300,000 for Nuts and 200,000+ for Zoo. The weeklies took a chunk out of the monthlies – FHM (Emap), Loaded (IPC) and Maxim (Dennis) – with Loaded losing almost a third of its sales in 2005-6. Since then, all the headlines have been about plummeting, for monthlies and weeklies. Maxim was the first to go in 2009.

IPC reckoned it spent £8m launching Nuts – that’s the best part of £1m a year over its decade on the news-stands. The only winner has been websites (and not the ones owned by the publishers).

So, what will Bauer, publisher of rival Zoo, do now? Zoo’s sales are even more dire – 29,521.

IPC profile

Bauer/Emap profile

Men’s weeklies

Men’s monthlies

Magazines push digital back issues

November 13, 2012

Paid Content has commented on the Gramophone launching its back issues in digital format with Exact Editions – which has also put the 20- year archive of Dazed & Confused on the Apple Newsstand.

Every one of the 1,000 back issues of  Gramophone will be  available to all digital and App subscribers on PC, Apple and Android devices for £3.99 a month or £39.99 a year. The archive is based on the North American edition of Gramophone, which includes all the UK pages plus a 16-page supplement in each issue, “Sounds of America”. This details musical developments in the US and Canada and reviews specialist American releases.

Music magazine profiled

Developments in digital magazines

Laid back and simple at the Economist

October 3, 2012

Came across this post from Neelay Patel about the Economist’s iPad strategy. It reminds me of the advice from typographers when DTP came in (John Miles made a similar plea at the time):

We also agonized over what not to include. We didn’t want any bells or whistles, or anything that would distract our readers from doing what they wanted, to finish reading their Economist each week.

With 600,000 unique devices accessing the apps each week and over 125,000 digital-only subscribers (and that was back in May), who could argue?

Digital magazine development

 

 

More mobile phones in India than toilets

October 3, 2012

That’s my fact of the day. It comes at the end of a summary of a presentation by Enders analyst Benedict Evans about mobile media strategies. It includes contributions from Immediate Media (BBC Magazines), the Financial Times and Informa.

Digital magazine developments

Fashion magazines on Twitter

August 30, 2012

The digital arena is a different world, with big magazine sales not guaranteeing a big online presence

Consider this Twitter snapshot today:

A mixed picture, but Dazed is clearly the Twitter winner. Good news for Jefferson Hack and Rankin.

Digital magazine: timeline

Is the digital Daily Mail really in profit?

July 26, 2012

Media Week reports that the Daily Mail’s website has gone into profit and Roy Greenslade has run a comment. But how exactly has it happened? MW reports:

The site’s unparallelled growth in vistors over the past five years has been achieved by fewer than 30 people in the UK, a team of 20 in New York, and 10 in Los Angeles.

But 60 is far too low a headcount for be writing all that copy, which suggests only journalists working directly on the site are costed. All the content of the Daily Mail – and journalism does not come cheap – must come across for free. The website is spiced up with totty frothy stories but the paper’s content gives it the coverage to be an online force. To give an idea of the size of the operation, DMGT, the parent company, cut 105 jobs in the quarter – but still employs 3,809 people across the Mail, its Euromoney financial division and other operations.

The paper’s turnover was £435m – MailOnline is set to generate just £30m this year. It may be in profit but it is still a pimple on the print empire – and wholly dependent on it.

Industry profile: UK newspapers

Switching to digital-only magazines

July 5, 2012

Magazines and newspapers in the west are debating when they are likely to drop the print product and switch to digital-only.

Auto-Trader – once the milk cow that kept the Guardian afloat – has put a figure on it in the Telegraph:

John King, Trader Media Group’s chief executive, said it is likely to stop producing a print magazine next year. “We won’t make the decision until later this year, but we’re looking at around 12 to 18 months from now,”

Car magazines profiles