Archive for the ‘tyler brule’ Category

Curating, editing – what happened to conducting?

May 5, 2011

Tyler Brule regards himself as a curator at Monocle. And Rick Poynor has chosen to entitle his talk tomorrow (Friday, May 6) at St Bride’s ‘Is Curating the New Editing?’ The founding editor of Eye has done enough writing and editing to perhaps shed some light on why the word has become topical.

He may also have an idea as to why ‘conducting’ died out as a term for the task of running magazines. It was used into the Edwardian era but disappeared from view. For example, the first issue of weekly Edwardian favourite London Opinion was ‘conducted’ by A. Moreton Mandeville.

Poynor is one of seven St Bride speakers at Graphic Design: History in the Making, which is moderated by David Crowley from the Royal College of Art and Teal Triggs from the London College of Communication (and author of Fanzines). The others are Christopher Burke, Sonia de Puineuf, Alston W. Purvis, David Reinfurt and Catherine de Smet.

Magazines expand revenue sources

March 17, 2011

In the 1980s, I worked as a sub and reporter for two weekly medical newspapers: Doctor and Hospital Doctor. In each issue of both, there was a spread of reader offers by post: one page for medical equipment, the other for general goods. It was a good source of income and an idea I copied at Redwood Publishing – I was later told the cash income from one offer saved the company from going bust.


One of many spin-offs from Tit-Bits magazine

But the idea of publishers selling goods off the page goes back far longer than that. Tit-Bits, that great Victorian pioneer of marketing and all these magazines, spun off books, puzzles and offers of all kinds. Publishers have always sought new sources of revenue because the margins are often far higher than the main publishing business – the trick is not to upset your advertisers.

And it’s still true today, with Future this week teaming up with the Telegraph to produce computer guides for the newspaper’s readers. Windows: The Official Magazine has developed Confident Computing supplements that will be published on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 March, for the Daily Telegraph’s 1.68m readers and the Sunday Telegraph’s 1.45m readers. That’s a lot of publicity for the magazine, and Future will be hoping that the glossy, 52-page supplements will draw less tech-savvy users into the magazine with sections on email, online shopping, internet security and hardware and troubleshooting tips. Alongside the Saturday supplement will be a subscription deal offering three copies of Windows: The Official Magazine for just £1 each.


Hidden Treasure puzzle from Tit-Bits

Future obviously sees potential growth in the magazine (seems strange, just as PC and laptop sales are being hit by the iPad frenzy) with a series of Official Windows Presents set for April, an example of ‘brand extension’ in today’s jargon. Each of these will focus on how computing can help people ‘get more from life’ in areas such as home entertainment, travel, buying and selling online and healthy living.

This is an area where Future has experience: in the 1990s, the Financial Times bought the publisher to pursue just such activities, but the idea floundered and Future took itself independent again.

Other recent ideas include:

However, the title that’s really made a go of things in this area is Tyler Brule’s Monocle.

  • shops selling its branded goods in London and four other cities;
  • goods made by international brands, from a £20 Monocle notebook to a £370 blanket for sale online;
  • Other products branded with its logo have included: a Comme des Garçons perfume; a bicycle; bags; and a Danish-made table. Its bags costs £155-£270. Media Week reckoned it had sold 2000. At £200 each, that’s an income of 400,000, comparable with the magazine selling 100,000 copies a month at £5 each;
  • sponsored online video interviews, reports and travel guides sponsored by the likes of Maurice Lacroix, Spanish tourism and Bloomberg.

That’s an impressive list. But there’s nothing original about the idea – and more magazines could follow the example.

Harsh words from Tyler

September 14, 2010

Monocle chief Tyler Brule has some harsh words for western publishers in an interview on Daily Front Row:

First off, on the iPad:

I’m very concerned for publishers who have chucked a hell of a lot of development money into making something that works on the iPad. Listen, guys: If your magazine isn’t working at the moment in print or on the Web, this isn’t going to save you! …  At Monocle, I’d rather spend that $200,000 or $300,000 paying for more journalists

And he berates publishers for not investing in their titles:

Meanwhile, in London and New York, magazines are charging more for a product that’s inferior to what they were putting out 10 years ago! It’s amazing! You’re asking for more from your advertisers and readers, but your product is sh**!

Get over to Germany and look at Der Spiegel, or Korea and Japan for ideas, is his advice.

Monocle and current affairs magazines

Tyler’s Monocle shows its worth

July 4, 2010
Monocle first issue

Monocle first issue – worth £11 on eBay

A first issue of Tyler Brûlé’s Monocle has recently sold on eBay for £11.58 after 8 bids. That’s pretty good by magazine standards for a first issue that’s just 3 years old. It also beats the £10.63 (4 bids) that a first issue of Wallpaper – the magazine that made Tyler Brûlé’s name in 1996 – fetched this month.

Other recent first issue sales on eBay:

  • Men Only (1971) £5 (1 bid)
  • Club Interrnational (1972) £13 (9 bids)
  • Plastique £12.99 (buy it now)
  • Man About Town £14.99 (most recent use of the name) (buy it now)
  • Fast Lane £7.99 and £11.99 (buy it now)
  • Lost £12 (20 bids)
  • Over 21 £20 (buy it now)
  • Marquis £9.99 and 99p – someone must be spitting! (buy it now)
  • Blah Blah Blah £4.99  (1 bid)
  • Musik £1.65 (1 bid)
  • Men’s Health £2.20 (5 bids)

Academics and economists must love eBay. It’s a fascinating way of assessing the value of objects – and people and celebrities. For example, when Word magazine did several different covers a couple of years ago, people went out and bought several copies and sold them on eBay for more than the issue cost in the shops – even though it was still on sale. If I remember rightly, there was the most interest in Kylie and Bono and least in Dido.

For the magazine industry, the way cover variations sell on eBay can be used as another way of testing cover designs in terms of the use of faces, different design styles and even colours.

As for Monocle, it appears to have established a brand value up there with the likes of Vogue, in that the issue sold for more than a Vogue from that time sells on eBay; certainly way above a first issue of Nuts (you’ll be lucky to get 99p); and the first issue of the much older Loaded (1 bid at £4.99). (While Brûlé is either a style guru or the world’s most annoying man, according to Christopher Fowler.)

I look forward to the first index of celebrity values based on eBay – perhaps one for Tyler’s fellow FT columnist, the Undercover Economist.

Wallpaper launch

Monocle launch

Tyler Brule keeps focus on Monocle

May 17, 2009

Monocle May 2009 - issue 23

Monocle May 2009 - issue 23

Tyler Brule has castigated newspapers for their lack of confidence in the face of the web onslaught. And according to a Times interview by Dan Sabbagh, he is showing them the way to go, with sales for his international monthly Monocle at 150,000. However, the piece fails to point out that this is the same figure quoted a year ago.

The strategy for ‘the ridiculously upmarket, black, perfect-bound monthly’ appears to be to find fans and then give them lots of ways to fill the magazine’s coffers – they can step into Monocle shops or pay extra as a subscriber or buy lots of branded products by post to demonstrate their continent-hopping lifestyles.  Newspapers, by contrast, fail to build on their ‘fan base’:

Compare this model with the way in which newspapers go about their business. Paying readers have a real emotional tie to the titles they buy – the fact newspapers are used for dating demonstrates that – but online the industry seems seduced by a different measure. The perpetual chase for monthly unique users makes the mistake of valuing each visitor equally, when Dorothy, a teenager from Kansas, reading a story about Britney found via Google News is not worth the same as Brendan from Brentwood who visits every day. And yet, all that is known about the loyal readers is their internet address, unless they have had the willpower to complete an online survey. It is daily unique vistors that really matter.

The piece exudes confidence on the part of Brule despite the stagnant sales. At least Monocle is still on the shelves while all around competing current affairs magazines are having a hard time – Conde Nast has closed Portfolio in the US and weekly Vanity Fair in Germany while Spectator Business has dropped its monthly frequency to quarterly.

Monocle launch and current affairs magazine

A better digital future

January 11, 2009

As newspapers and magazines panic at the sight of recession and their inability to come up with ways to make their cash-devouring websites make money, Monocle (Tyler Brûlé; issue 19) hits the nail on the head:

The problem with print … is that media groups were too quick to invest in magazine websites that weren’t backed by proper business plans; too hasty to trim production costs on their core print products (you downgrade a consumer’s favourite product and you expect them to pay more while you give them less?); and have been slow to realise that print products, in fact, need to be enhanced and reconfigured to compete with their digital siblings and same-sector competitors.

Couldn’t have said it better.

Monocle has also launched a radio programme on sponsored by Blackberry.

History of digital magazines

Monocle sells

May 7, 2008

Monocle branded bike
Magazines have long had merchandising pages, but few can be as eclectic as Monocle‘s. The website is selling  products branded with its logo that include: a Comme des Garçons perfume; a bicycle; bags; and a Danish-made table. Media Week reckons the site has sold 2,000 bags.

Monocle and news magazines profiled

Tyler Brûlé to return to the FT

April 7, 2008

Tyler Brûlé is to revive his Fast Lane column in FT Weekend on April 26 as part of a relaunch. The column will return to the back page of the weekend section alongside Harry Eyre’s Slow Lane pieces.

Brûlé, founder of Wallpaper* and editor-in-chief of Monocle, will return on April 26.

Fast Lane ran from 2004-06 and covered travel, trends and upmarkets consumer goods, with two consecutive weekly columns rarely written from the same country.

However, Fast Lane does tend to divide readers. Some find its jet-setting tips unmissable; other pretentious. As one comment to a Guardian blog by ‘Ragunoodle’ put it:

‘The writing was really priceless. I would like to meet the person who invented the Tyler Brule character and convince her/him to bring it back. FT is at a loss without it.’

Monocle loves analogue

February 29, 2008

Monocle cover
I was in Instanbul a couple of weekends ago – with four days of snow and snowball fights till 2am. The Blue Mosque and river front looked superb in the snow. My teenage son was wielding the camera – shooting on 35mm film with an old Nikon. You can’t drag him off his iPod to vinyl, but he much prefers the look of film.

So he’ll no doubt latch on to the latest Monocle – ‘Make mine an analogue’ is the main cover line. There’s no doubt the magazine has a love for the retro – it’s only a couple of issues ago that editor Tyler Brûlé was heralding a great future for newspapers.

How ‘Monocle’ survives

February 20, 2008

Monocle front cover
US trade title Portfolio has reviewed the first year of Tyler Brûlé’s magazine Monocle, which claims sales of 150,000 including 6,000 subscribers.