Reaching Young Readers
A new initiative by MPA gives free digital editions of magazines to college students hoping to convert them into magazine readers and to test the viability and popularity of digital delivery. Five publishers are participating in this initiative. Read more

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World's First Mag
The Gentleman's Magazine was the first general-interest magazine. It was founded in London by Edward Cave in January, 1731. The original complete title was The Gentleman's Magazine: or, Trader's monthly intelligencer. More>>

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Merrill Lynch report on the state of the newspaper industry does not see online representing over 50% of total newspaper ad revenues until more than 30 years from now.More>>

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  • ASME's Top 40 Magazine Covers
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  • Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?


    Why Magpie? Because I like observing these sleek birds with a tapering tail. And like Magpies, I live with the burden of being a 'chatter', even though I believe that I am rather shy, reserved and unobtrusive :).

    Friday, October 27, 2006

    B2B: Addressing the New Expectations of Advertisers

    Some time ago, I had highlighted an ad campaign (Advertising: Pepsi Brings Smell, Sound To Print) that was made memorable due to the combined efforts of the agency, magazine publishers and media buying agency.
    Based on a talk by Hans-Peter Eisinger, global media director for Siemens AG, at the Federation of International Periodical Publishers (FIPP) 2006 Business Magazine and Professional Media Conference, held in London, the excerpts featured today show that the same applies to B2B media--B2B media owners, media buyers and marketers need to work together to build memorable brands.


    1) B-to-B audiences are more active than ever in controlling their own communications. To avoid media overload, they must engage in goal-oriented channel and content selection. Professional decision-makers communicate faster themselves, and expect faster communication from their media channels. And they expect communications mobility, as well as immediacy.
    2) They have access to more media channels, and therefore greater choice.
    3) They use the new digital devices/formats available, including topic-specific, subscription-based podcasts in MP3 portable format that are offered by Web site and Weblog owners.
    4) They communicate in networks—reaching more people or contact points, with more response opportunities—and they do this on a global basis.
    5) They have become accustomed to having an element of entertainment in their business communications, as job and leisure time increasingly blur.
    6) Online is the perfect medium to reach these decision-makers. The diversity of online platforms means more content for a heterogeneous readership, but at the same time more opportunities for more targeted content.

    In context of the changing needs and expectations of both their audiences and advertisers the “ideal” B-to-B media owner must evolve in the following ways:
    a) Become proactive in response to the changing communications dynamics. Explore and develop new channels and advertising opportunities that focus on their target audiences.
    b) Be the definite “content champion” in a number of attractive business areas.
    c) Deliver a number of key media channels, content solutions and services.
    d) Publish and distribute #1 trade magazines, newsletters, directories, etc., as well as tailor-made publications for its customers, such as white papers and surveys.
    e) Operate premium Internet platforms that provide advertising, sponsorships, showrooms, enewsletters, directories, Weblogs, etc.
    f) Manage leading trade shows, exhibitions and conferences, including on-site advertising and sponsorships.
    g) Provide marketing services such as direct mail, database marketing and database research.

    You can read the unedited summary of the talk here.


    Tuesday, October 24, 2006

    Article: (Just a Few of) the Worst Mag Covers of All Time!

    It is that time of the year, when awards are going to be announced in all categories related to magazines.
    Media Guy of AdvertisingAge seems to be inspired by last year’s American Society of Magazine Editors' announcement of the "Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years" (also featured in Classics section of to kick off something epic like "Media Guy's Top 41 Worst Magazine Covers of the Last 41 Years"!!

    The worst cover ‘nominee’ featured on the right is the cover of June 2004 issue of Wallpaper called the “The portion control issue,” with the headline 'Size matters: What should be big, what should be small'.

    To see more ridiculous covers, and to read the entire article, click here

    Any bad covers from Indian magazines you want to highlight?


    Monday, October 23, 2006

    Trends: Magazines enter a Digital Second Life

    Forty magazine digital initiatives were announced in the third quarter of 2006, according to Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). Popular among the new initiatives were mobile networks, podcasts and video content for websites and mobile phones. While most initiatives show that magazines are going beyond the print page to reach their readers 24/7, the following digital intiatives stand out as unique:

    Virtual Headquarters: Wired magazine has set up a 1-acre digitized headquarters, complete with neon-pink sliding doors and a nouveau 50 person conference room in Second Life. The company expects to use its new virtual building to let writers chat with one another and to host three or four virtual Q&A events a month with real-world as well as Second Life notables.

    80 GB of Archives: The New Yorker offers a unique type of digital archive—80 years of magazine content on a limited edition hard drive with 20GB of extra space reserved for new articles from their website. The archive contains 4,164 issues of The New Yorker, dating back to 1925.

    Political Blog, Online Degree: Newsweek launched a political blog called The Gaggle. It has also tied up with Kaplan University to offer an online business degree program called Kaplan University/Newsweek M.B.A

    Bigger, better video: Forbes launched, a travel site aimed at the affluent, luxury traveler market and upgraded its video network at to feature a larger player, program guide

    Suggested Reading:

    Big Media Gets a Second Life
    ">80 Years of a Magazine on Hard Drive for Well-to-Do Demo
    Magazine Digital Initiatives


    Friday, October 20, 2006

    Special Interest: Magazines for Men

    Indian men's magazine scene gets another healthy addition; and UK-based Dennis Group adds a online men's mag to its portfolio!

    Starting November, men in India have one more magazine to look forward to—a magazine aimed at active, successful, professional men, who are conscious of their all-round development.
    The Indian edition of (US-based Rodale Press flagship title) Men’s Health priced at Rs 50, will be available on the newsstands from next month. The magazine is brought to Indian market by the India Today Group. Men’s Health publishing director, Pavan Varshnei, explains on agencyfaqs: “The magazine will serve as a guidebook for men, providing them with inputs on how to live healthier and happier."

    A press release promoting a FREE online men’s magazine with the very unusual name 'MONKEY' landed in the magscene mailbox today. Published by UK-based Dennis Publishing (owners of Maxim) the title claims to be the first men’s magazine in the world to bring its readers videos and movie trailers, latest in music and incredible stuff. The magazine will be sent by email to its subscribers every Wednesday. Each 48-page issue will feature a cover-girl photo shoot and editorial covering cars, sport, humor, entertainment, gadgets, clothes and user-generated content.


    Tuesday, October 17, 2006

    LAUNCHPAD: Harvard Business Review South Asia

    One of the most influential business management magazines of the world formally launched in India yesterday.
    India Today and Harvard Business School Publishing (HBSP) have joined hands to launch the Harvard Business Review South Asia edition. This is the 12th edition of the magazine and the first international edition in the same language as the Review’s flagship.
    The premier issue was launched by Finance Minister, P Chidambaram, in a launch function featuring a panel discussion with HBR editor Thomas Stewart and CEOs of India’s leading companies in Mumbai. HBR South Asia will run the same editorial content as the U.S. edition and will include regional advertising.

    PS: No, this is not the launch cover. But I shall update when I get it.

    Read more on The Harvard Crimson


    Monday, October 16, 2006

    Event: Indian Magazine Congress 2006

    The Association of Indian Magazines is holding its second annual Indian Magazine Congress at New Delhi on October 30-31. The conference, on the theme "Winning with Magazines," hopes to address issues like: Can print publications survive and thrive in the face of Internet competition? Will print publications be able to transition to a digital environment by creating their own Internet presences? It also hopes to focus on some issues like acquisitions and joint ventures by foreign media companies. "Winning with Magazines" is intended to explain the intricacies of the Indian market to foreign businessmen trying to get in.

    Key speakers and panelists include publishers who are already in the market as well as policy makers, media owners, buyers and planners, and marketers familiar with the environment. You can read the conference program and register for the event here

    Surprisingly, the website does not list out any registeration costs for 'Indian delegates'. Indians interested in attending the event have to email to an id mentioned on the sign up page to get more info.

    Read more about event on FIPP website: Still time to register for Indian Magazine Congress


    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Advertising: Pepsi Brings Smell, Sound To Print

    Here is an example of how magazine publishers, media agencies and advertisers can get together to create memorable print campaigns:

    The print advertisement for Pepsi’s latest calorie-free drink called Diet Pepsi Jazz consists of an insert (in October 16 issue of People magazine) that aims to surround readers with the soda's colour, smell and ‘sound’

    The front of the ad shows a hand twisting off a bottle top and the word "Introducing."
    Open the four-page insert and a Pepsi bottle and music notes jump to life as a sound chip playing jazz music from a TV spot for the soda gets activated.
    The back page of the ad has a scratch and sniff strip that produces a whiff of black cherry and French vanilla flavours (two flavours the soda is available in).

    Called "The new sound of cola," the campaign was a joint effort between Omnicom's OMD and Pepsi's lead creative shop, sister agency DDB. OMD negotiated the buy with People magazine. To ensure higher visibility, the agency ensured that the ad would run not only in an editorially appropriate issue, but also in an issue without too many other inserts.


    Sunday, October 08, 2006

    Strategy: Get your Editors to Blog

    When the much loved Business 2.0 staffer Om Malik decided to leave the magazine to focus solely on his popular tech blog GigaOm, Business 2.0 editor, Josh Quittner, started to consider a new model of publishing that embraces blogs and the creation of personal media into their culture. As part of this new directive, every journalist at Business 2.0 has been charged with creating a blog and the publications has soft launched a group contributed model where one blog pulls content from all journalist blogs, as well as 18 individual journalist blogs.

    According to the editor, blogging has following benefits:
    1) Allows smarter and more engaged reporters
    2) Adding a requirement of 1-2 posts on business per day ensures continually updated content
    3) Offers more ad revenue opportunities across multiple sites
    4)Has CNN articles pointing directly to journalist blogs, offering reporters a personal stake and individual traffic
    5) Preserves the church and state separation issue of editorial versus journalism
    6) Releasing some editorial control offers faster turnaround and more cutting edge work

    Sometime ago, contentsutra had reported that Indian Express has started journalist blogs? At one time CHIP from Infomedia also used to have a tech blog... Any idea how these blogs are being used?
    Are there any other magazines in India promoting blogs? Please write in…
    You can read Josh Quittner’s talk nicely summerised on Rohit Bhargava's blog here.


    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    Editorial: When Readers see Double on the Newsstand

    To catch a reader on the newsstand, you get less than a second from distances of 3-6 feet. Split covers (running different covers of the same issue) are one of the many techniques publishers can use to get more publicity for their titles and to increase newsstand sales.
    Though a split cover may not always translate into increased newsstand pick-up, there are many valid reasons to try it—to test which subjects play better geographically; to illustrate an editorial concept; or to generate a publicity buzz at minimal cost.
    When in July 2005, Smithsonian featured its first split cover (shown here) in 35-years, the goal was equally to boost paltry single-copy sales and to convey to prospective readers “this is not your grandmother’s Smithsonian.”

    The newsstand version featured “Inside Syria,” a story on the country’s mounting pressure to conform to international ideologies. The subscriber copy featured the less topical “Mali’s Elephant Highway.

    Split covers are increasing popular in the West. Years ago, Newsweek’s cover on “The New Middle Age” alternated between a man and a woman exclaiming, “Oh. God . . . I'm really turning 50!”. However, nowadays, the differences between covers are not so easily discernable, as shown by these examples.

    TRIVIA: When the cover splits to reveal an ad… is a not split cover. Some of us use the term spilt cover to refer to French Gate or bran door advertisements, where the reader sees the cover image but can open the left and right ‘barn-door’ flaps to expose a second cover (usually a paid ad) underneath!