Magazines can prosper, says new BSME chair

The British Society of Magazine Editors (BSME) has announced Tim Pollard, group digital editorial director at Bauer Media, as the 2022 chair.

He succeeds Hattie Brett, editor of Grazia and will be supported by vice-chairs Deborah Joseph, European editorial director, Glamour, and Jaimie Kaffash, editor of Pulse. Together they lead the committee of 15 leading British magazine editors and editorial directors who run the society and plan each year’s events.

While Tim acknowledges that the magazine publishing world is “changing at breakneck pace” following digital disruption, new technologies and a global pandemic, he believes niche magazines will emerge as strong value propositions.

“The publishing sector is changing fast, but I firmly believe that quality storytelling will never fall out of fashion and that magazines which carve their own niche will prosper long-term.”

It will be interesting to see what forward-thinking initiatives Tim and his vice-chairs bring to BSME.

Thriving in a changing industry – a consultant’s perspective

Like Tim, I have long advocated the importance of developing niche titles and not following the flock. Magazines must establish a unique voice by making brave editorial decisions, striving for excellence, and providing relevant content.

There are some great examples, which I have previously written about, including Positive News and Country Walking. Both titles are loved by their audience, the impact of which is a domino effect resulting in rising subscriptions, revenue streams, higher advertising sales and more sponsorship opportunities. Key stakeholders like to be part of a success story.

More recently, I’ve been asked by clients and potential clients how can we get our audience to pay for content that is currently free?

Again, it is about adopting an audience-centric approach. First, it is critical to reframe the offering by providing content in another format – be it a digital edition or digital/print combination – and have a clear synergy with the online provision.

Secondly, that editorial must be of a high calibre, reflecting the brand’s values and ethics with relevant, unique content that delivers.

Publishers must give their audience a reason to subscribe to become a member. So the question editors should ask can be drawn from that old adage – ask not what your country can do for you . . . (JFK).