Archive for the ‘trade B2B magazines’ Category

New Scientist sale is good news for Relx investors

April 15, 2017
New Scientist magazine front cover

New Scientist magazine has been sold for an undisclosed sum

The sale of New Scientist magazine is seen as good news for Relx, an Anglo-Dutch company that has moved from print to online delivery of information in the past 20 years.

The FTSE 100 company was once known as Reed International, and owned paper making and building materials companies such as Crown Paint and Polycell. It then bought IPC Magazines and book publishers and switched its focus to publishing. In 1993, it merged with Elsevier, a Dutch group, to concentrate on academic and professional publishing.

Reed Elsevier sold off both the consumer books and IPC’s consumer magazines, which were seen as low-margin businesses, to concentrate on digital delivery of data and information to academia and business. It held on to trade and business magazine titles, such as Variety and New Scientist, but has spent the past 10 years selling these to invest in digital assets such as Lexis Nexis.

Now, New Scientist has been sold to Kingston Acquisitions, an investment firm led by Sir Bernard Gray. He was part of the £230m buyout of the Times Educational Supplement from News Corp in 2005 by private equity group Exponent. Hopefully, a third of the company’s staff won’t take up an offer of voluntary redundancy, as happened after that deal.

The recent history of Relx and Pearson makes a fascinating comparison. Both were conglomerates in the 1980s that decided to concentrate on publishing and media. However, Pearson always seemed a decade behind Reed. That gap has accelerated since Marjorie Scardino left Pearson. New MD John Fallon has seen Pearson’s share price fall by half in the past five years, while Reed’s has more than doubled. The big mystery is how Fallon has kept hold of his job.

 

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On this day in magazines: Aeroplane and Eric Fraser in 1960

February 12, 2017
Eric Fraser cover for Aeroplane magazine of a Lightning jet from 11 February 1960

Eric Fraser cover for Aeroplane magazine of a Lightning jet 

Apologies for the small illustration, but I can’t find the actual issue of  The Aeroplane and Astronautics from 12 February 1960.

I wanted to use this cover for two reasons. First, as an example of an advertising cover, and second as an example of Eric Fraser’s artistry, outside the magazine for which he is best known, Radio TimesAeroplane, a ‘weekly magazine for the aviation enthusuiast’, invariably used illustrated covers. I don’t know how they were commissioned but there must have been co-operation between the advertiser and the magazine.

The Eric Fraser cover here is for the English Electric Lightning – Britain’s main fighter jet in the days when the country could afford to build its own rather than buy from the US or go into co-operation with Europe.

The Chris Beetles gallery  has held exhibitions of Fraser’s work. This is how the gallery describes him:

Eric Fraser is one of the most significant British illustrators and designers of the 20th century, who produced work that is at once wide-ranging and highly distinctive. Developing an assured technique and an impressive general knowledge, he could adapt his style to almost any subject matter, from ancient to modern, and any mood, from the whimsical to the tragic. He was also industrious, meticulous and dependable. As a result, he defined the look of Radio Times for over four decades and became a mainstay of JM Dent’s Everyman’s Library while also creating impressive murals and stained glass windows and an astonishing variety of advertising.

Fraser was also chosen to illustrate the May 1953 coronation number of the Radio Times. This was an unusual issue because he drew not only the heraldic illustration on the front, but also the back cover advertisement for Batchelors Foods in a similar style. The event marked the first time the BBC’s listings weekly had used colour since before the war. The Batchelors advert was also used on the back of that week’s Listener. Fraser drew for the Radio Times from 1926 until 1982, the year before his death.

He was a member of the Society of Industrial Artists, which was founded in 1930 at the Ye Olde Cock Tavern in London’s Fleet Street, and has evolved into today’s Chartered Society of Designers, complete with royal patronage.

An Aeroplane magazine cover of a Fairey Battle from 13 April 1935

An Aeroplane magazine cover of a Fairey Battle from 13 April 1935

The Aeroplane and Astronautics was published by Temple Press and in the 1940s claimed to be ‘the most influential aviation journal in the world’. Temple was founded in the Victorian era with titles such as Cycling and Motor. In 1949, it became part of George Newnes and then part of the IPC conglomerate in the 1960s.

Aeroplane has a history of great covers, which like many trade and technical magazines, carried advertising.

Although the cover is the prime place for gaining such revenue, most consumer magazines and newspapers moved away from front page advertising, a trend that accelerated after the Second World War. However, it’s a tactic that is returning, particularly among free titles, but even the biggest newspapers are now giving their covers away as wraparounds, and back covers are now often adverts.

 


To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

 

 

 

 


Codd’s bottles and codswallop in The Caterer magazine

November 17, 2016
Advert for Codd's globe-stoppered bottles from the Caterer magazine (1878)

Advert for Codd’s globe-stoppered bottles from the Caterer magazine (1878)

‘Codswallop’ is a term long-known to me as meaning ‘drivel’ so I was intrigued to come across this advert for Codd’s bottles, from which the word is supposed to be derived. The story goes that Hiram Codd patented a bottle for fizzy drinks with a glass marble – a ‘globe’ – in the neck and that ‘wallop’ was slang for beer, so ‘Codd’s wallop’ became a derogatory term for weak beer.

Codd’s ‘globe-stoppered’ bottles were very popular – ‘the greatest invention of the age in connection with aerated waters’, according to another advertiser –  with 450 soda water makers using the technology according to the advert. It won awards from Philadelphia to Vienna.

For the editors at the Oxford English Dictionary, however, the Codd’s wallop story poses a problem because they can find no trace of it until 1959, when it crops up in an episode Hancocks’s Half Hour:

Tony (Hancock): I was not.

Sidney (Sid James): Don’t give me that old codswallop. You were counting your money…

The theory has been cited in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, but how could if have survived by word of mouth for the best part of 100 years without  ever being captured in print?

The page advert for Codd’s bottles appeared in the launch issue of The Caterer & Refreshment Contractors Gazette, from April 6, 1878. It was published by J Gilbert Smith & Co under the editorship of John Plummer and is a fascinating magazine, for its advertising as well as the editorial. And it’s still going strong today, as The Caterer, a ‘multimedia brand’ that regards itself as ‘the beating heart of UK hospitality’.

In 1878, The Caterer was based at 67 Leadenhall Street in the City of London. This was close to Leadenhall Market, a covered food market built in 1881, though there had been traders there for 400 years. The market specialised in meat – hence the butchers’ hooks that can still be seen outside many of the shops – though today you’re more likely to go there for a lunchtime beer or on a scene-spotting trip for the Harry Potter films.

Trade group Emap to close all print editions

October 8, 2015

Emap has announced a restructuring – and the closure of all print editions at the Retail Week and Nursing Times publisher. Emap – originally East Midlands Allied Press, a local newspaper group – was split up in 2008, with the trade titles keeping the Emap name and German group Bauer taking over the consumer titles to overtake IPC (now Time Inc UK) as Britain’s biggest publishing group.

Campaign quotes Duncan Painter, chief executive at Top Right Group, Emap’s owner:

Customers are sending a clear message:  digital subscriptions and live events are the formats they want to engage with. This change finalises our group’s migration to a digital and large scale events company.

Lloyd’s List publisher Informa talking to Springer

November 24, 2009

Lloyd’s List publisher Informa has begun talks about taking over German rival Springer Science and Business Media. The idea was sparked by UK private equity groups Candover and Cinven trying to sell a stake of as much as 49 per cent in the German group for about €400m, says the Financial Times.

Then two groups have been the subject of merger speculation for several years with Informa, as one of the world’s largest organisers of conferences, being an ideal fit with Springer.

Reed Elsevier chief quits

November 11, 2009

New Scientist and Variety publisher Reed Elsevier’s share price has taken another hit – down 3% today – on news that its chief executive is parting company. The Telegraph says Ian Smith’s ‘shock departure’ was down to a lack of experience of the media industry during a recession.

The publisher’s shares are down 11% over the year, while rival Pearson’s have risen 40% in the same time.

Lloyd’s List publisher Informa to flee Britain

May 4, 2009

The website of Lloyd’s List publisher Informa states:

The founding inspirers of the Philosophical Magazine and Lloyd’s List would probably have been unable to imagine where their products would be sitting more than 200 years later, but we believe they would have been pleased.

Would they pleased with the company’s  latest news though? Informa is creating ‘a new parent company that will be listed in the UK, incorporated in Jersey and tax resident in Switzerland’ to reduce its tax bill, says the Guardian.

Could Edward Lloyd be turning over in the great coffee shop in the sky right now?

What happens to magazines?

March 2, 2009

That is the title of a meeting on Tuesday, March 3 in London being hosted by NMK. a digital information hub. It sums up the focus as:

If newspapers are having a hard time, then magazines – more expensive to fill, print and distribute – must be really suffering. The need for innovation, new income streams and a focus on delivering value is urgent.

The session (£25; 6.30pm – 8pm) is based around a panel of:

History of digital magazines at Magforum.com

Scary times at centaur

February 20, 2009

B2B publisher Centaur saw its shares lose almost a third of their value on Friday after the Lawyer and Marketing Week publisher said recruitment advertising revenues were two-thirsd down over the year. The news is likely to hit the whole sector – and Haymarket will be grateful it isn’t listed on the stock market.

B2B publishers profiles

Reed drops business sale

December 10, 2008


Reed Elsevier has dropped plans to sell its business arm, publisher of Variety and New Scientist magazines, in the face of “the recent deterioration in macro-economic outlook and poor credit market conditions”, says the FT.

Reed press release

Business magazine publishers