Posts Tagged ‘redwood publishing’

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.

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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.

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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.

Redwood powerhouse Chris Ward

May 21, 2008
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Christopher Ward as he appeared in Petticoat, a magazine for teenage girls

As joint founder and editorial director of customer publisher Redwood (not to mention former Daily Express editor when the Fleet Street job was still worth having – ‘Intruder at the Queen’s bedside’ was his big splash in 1982 after Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace), Christopher Ward was one of the most powerful figures in the industry, so – as one of his protégés – it’s a pleasure to be able to show the lad as he looked as a Petticoat columnist in 1971 (27 May issue).

Big glasses, big shirt collar – a penny round? – triple buttons on the cuffs and long, curly hair. So 1970s! And I’ll bet he was wearing flairs or parallel trousers with chunky platform shoes. Trousers and shirts were tight then.

Petticoat – or Petticoat Trend – to give it the full title, was a large format weekly from IPC Magazines for teenage girls. The editor was Terry Hornett, who went on to found Carlton, a magazine publisher best known for young women’s glossy Options and Riva, a short-lived attempt to launch a glossy weekly in 1988. Carlton was bought by Reed in 1987 and then merged into IPC. Hornett made a foray back into magazine in 1993, when he bought the failing Time Out rival City Limits.

Redwood profile
Petticoat profile