Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Analyse This

The verdicts are in on Psychologies - well, verdicts from other inhabitants of the magsphere Media Week and myself. More objective stuff like ABC figures will take a little longer.

Industry comment has been surprisingly kind, which either means it is not seen as a threat or everyone has done the quizzes in the mag and decided to live their nice persona. General opinion is that it is a bit different (trans: not a threat to my patch) but also rather old-fashioned looking (trans: lots of type and not so many big pix).

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that it is not quite different enough. There are a lot of very familiar names attached to features and tests, and the material itself is not sufficiently distinct from the kind of thing that can be found in almost every newspaper colour mag - there's just a lot of it bunched togther.

The other feeling I got as I read through the pages was of repetition. I am sure that the many tests are in fact aimed at evoking different outcomes and highlighting different aspects of our fascinating selves but it felt like going over the same ground to me. But then, as with 90% of new magazines, I am not the target reader.

My highly unscientific retail sampling exercise (a quick squizz in Swansea's Sainsburys and Tesco) revealed ample quantities left for latecomers, but perhaps they had been topping them up as they sold out.

And on the subject of target readers - just who will Wonderland appeal to? If it lasts beyond a third issue I will ... well, I will be very surprised.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Kelvin Mackenzie: "Gotcha"

Kelvin MacKenzie's clever ruse worked then: Read the final paragraph Time to invest in some tuppeny Highbury House shares just for the fun of it, I think ... And I am sure we all look forward to Kelvin "being furious" with everyone all the time and bringing his well-honed expertise in coverlines to bear on, say, Game magazine.

Wonderland is out and ... I don't get it. Admittedly, it's not aimed at me and there may well be tens of thousands of people in the demographic target but the first issue had things in it which even I have seen before/heard about already, and that can't be quite right, surely. And any magazine (anything, in fact) which sets out to "challenge boundaries" is setting itself up for a fall, one way or the other.

Monday, September 05, 2005


W H Smith, that long lost cause, may be doing something right at last.

This morning I went seeking both Psychologies and Wonderland (wonderful picture, Huw, you look like Adam Adamant), having been misled by various news items about their respective launches in the media section. When I could find neither I asked, more in hope than expectation, the gent on the till if he knew when they were due out. One he had in his head and the other he got a colleague to phone the dispatch office for information -- which came back immediately. I was impressed with this level of service and helpfulness.

The dates are September 7 for Psycho and September 8 for Wonder.

Friday, September 02, 2005

News Magazines and News Papers

There is a school of thought in the UK which says that news magazines like Time or Newsweek do not work here. The last successful title in this genre, or the one always cited, was Picture Post. Sir James Goldsmith had a go with Now (no relation to the current real life/celeb Now! ) but for one reason or another it did not last long.

However, there is a distinct trend here to publish very specialist newspapers which are, in all but categorisation, magazines. The latest example is the League Paper, from the same stable as The Non-League Paper.

What I say to Greenways Media is, 'Gentlemen, you are magazine publishers. You are maintaining the tradition of news magazines. Be proud. Accept your destiny.'

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