Publishing strategies

Eye – the print magazine that continues to thrive

My recent interview with John L Walters, editor and co-owner of Eye magazine, confirmed one of my long-held beliefs – print can be sustainable.

I also believe that the traditional publishing business model, drawing the majority of its revenue from copy sales and advertising, in the right circumstances can still thrive, which is how I came to write about Eye.

John first got in touch earlier this year, keen to share Eye’s story. He had read one of my InPublishing articles about a recent magazine conference in Chicago, Mapping The Magazine 5, where I had presented a paper on Lessons from the past, evaluating the sustainability of magazines.

Not only is Eye sustainable, but it is also unique because unlike many, this quarterly title makes money from subscription and copy sales. It also has a healthy advertising revenue stream, making it a compelling case study when this basic publishing model is now considered outdated by many and doomed to fail.

Yet Eye has those vital ingredients that ensure its success – relevance, a passionate team,  collectable issues and an audience who love the magazine. Indeed, these traits are the reason it defies the odds.

John is also a driving force. He lives and breathes design. It is also clear early on in our interview that he cares deeply about the graphic design industry, as well as the magazine and its readers.

Every detail of the publication has been carefully thought through, from the editorial to the stock it is printed on. Unlike many publications, fresh talent is not only encouraged but actively sought. Each issue has four or five new writers keeping the content thought-provoking and vibrant.

From a consultancy perspective

In an industry where the lines are fast becoming blurred with content marketing masquerading as editorial and seeping into publications across the market sector, Eye stands out.

This is a magazine that values its independence and remains true to its identity rather than emulating others – a mistake many publishers make as evidenced by cover lines on the newsstands. At £17 a copy it is not cheap, but every issue is designed to be collectible, further enhancing the value proposition and adding longevity to the advertising inside. It is not surprising that both readers and advertisers share a deep love of this specialist title.

To find out more, read my interview with John L Walters, An eye for quality, published in the Sept/Oct issue of InPublishing.

Publishing strategies


When InPublishing commissioned me to write an article on Refinery29 (UK), I have to admit I was curious. Could this American platform make the leap from stateside to a global brand?

Turns out it could.

Three years on from its 2015 UK launch Refinery29 has achieved a firm grip on the market and built a solid reputation for relevant, engaging editorial. Overall, in terms of brand reach, it has grown exponentially and now has a global audience of 550 million and more than 450 employees across its American, UK and European platforms. Continue reading “REFLECTIONS ON Refinery29”

News, Publishing strategies, Revenue streams


Look around you, right now. You may be sat at your desk, slouched on the couch, or en-route to somewhere special but the chances are you’re probably ‘consuming content’ on your smart phone, tablet or some such device. And those around you are probably at it as well. On my own daily grind I very rarely see anyone struggling with a broadsheet or flicking through a red-top any longer as the only papers commuters appear to read are Metro in the morning and The Standard in the evening. The common denominator is they’re both free.


So, it’ll come as no great Usain Bolt outta the blue, that newspaper circulation is plummeting. I’m sure we’re all aware of the sad demise of The Independent earlier this year and even Dear Rupert’s managing to only flog just over a million and a half daily copies of the builders’ favourite, The Sun, from a 2010 figure of double this. The Torygraph a similar 500k from almost 700k, and The Grauniad an astronomically worrying 166,500. Astronomically worrying as I’ve always taken The Guardian. And Private Eye. Obviously. Continue reading “COMING TO A SMALL SCREEN NEAR YOU . . .”

Editorial strategies, Publishing strategies

What can we learn from 2015 and how will those lessons shape 2016?

Lessons for 2016Having read lots of articles/posts last month summing up 2015 I have identified the following four key trends that publishers should explore.

  • Go local: Global is going local – and it’s a thriving market. Supermarkets realized a few years ago that people like to interact with their community, whether they are in London or a small village in the Peak District.
    As a result more are seeking out locally-sourced food and going to those small independent shops in their towns. But how does this relate to publishing?
    Well it’s about numbers and the fact that audiences are beginning to realize the value of a good, local magazine.
    So instead of developing more lifestyle or specialist titles (has anyone counted the number of cycling mags recently?) perhaps publishers should focus more on communities and explore how they can invest in local initiatives.
    I have recently been fortunate to work with a client who has successfully launched a local magazine. Not a basic free-sheet advertorial vehicle, but a carefully crafted publication with great content and solid advertising figures to support it.
    What makes it work is that the publisher focuses on the community by putting it first before profit – and that gives the magazine heart.
    So what can you do differently this year that will give your product a soul?

Continue reading “What can we learn from 2015 and how will those lessons shape 2016?”