No. 279: The Appeal of Independents

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While overall advertising revenues for print magazines continue to decrease, the real story is the increasing number of well-received independents. You know these magazines when you see them. They are wider and heavier than most, the paper is of higher quality, and the photography has a common theme throughout. In these publications, the magazines’ creative teams determines the artistic direction; it’s not the brands’ direction. This means a more natural feel with a greater connection to the reader.

These publications feel more like books than magazines and the price reflects that: they range between $10-25 per issue.

The savviest of these publishers are sidestepping the mistakes of previous era of print publishing. This new generation of print magazines aren’t merely media vehicles that are built to support a bloated advertising payroll. These magazines are brand statements and loyalty builders. But most importantly, they are the break from the digital economy that we all seem to be craving.

The Data

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Magazine advertising will continue dropping (2018-2020).
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Major media estimates for 2018: magazines ranked third from bottom.
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Magazine advertising revenue is set to fall over the next two years.

Conventional publishing houses like Hearst and Conde Nast are increasing investments into digital properties as traditional print advertising falters. But independent publishers are taking a counter cultural approach to business. The Guardian just recently published a timely article on the independent publishing craze here:

Magazines espousing the counter-cultural idea of “slow journalism”, such as Ernest or Delayed Gratification (which was founded in 2011 to review news events “after the dust has settled”, has 5,000 subscribers and a print readership of 24,000), are funded by fairly expensive subscription charges. Ernest starts at £21.50 for two issues a year, while Delayed Gratification costs £36 for an annual subscription of four issues.

Whether they prioritise elegant looks or go for a samizdat-like underground style, they all share the appeal of the tactile experience of printed paper. “It is hard to say why people buy them. But the magazines are usually run and read by people who are enjoying the fact they have a voice and a place to go,” said Catterall. Read more.


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Issue No. 6: Gear Patrol.

Independent magazines have taken on a new role as home to more than a readership. These publications are cultivating consumer-driven communities away from the world wide web. Here are ten of the notables:

Monocle. $14. Winnipeg, Canada. The magazine launched on in 2007, By 2014, Tyler Brûlé sold a sizable minority stake in Monocle magazine to Nikkei Inc. It is reported that the company was valued at $115M at the time of the investment. Read more.

Darling. $20. Los Angeles, California. In 2009, the magazine’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Sarah Dubbeldam and her husband Steve Dubbeldam created Darling. After starting off as a blog, the first print issue arrived in fall 2012. The magazine proudly embraces women of different ethnicities and body types. Read more.

Gear Patrol. $20. New York, New York. In 2014, founders Ben Bowers and Eric Yang launched the first magazine. GP is an award-winning digital, social and print publication that reaches nearly two million young, affluent men. The creative direction by Andrew Haynes has elevated the Gear Patrol brand to new levels. Read more.

Highsnobiety. $10. New York, New York. A publication covering forthcoming trends and news in fashion, art, music, and culture, all on one platform. Highsnobiety has steadily built a strong brand in the online fashion and lifestyle world. Today the blog and print magazine sit among the most visited global sources for inspiration in the areas of fashion, sneakers, music, art and lifestyle culture. Read more.

Uncrate. $15. Columbus, Ohio. A publisher for men, the bi-annual magazine features what to buy and how much it costs. Read more.

Cherry Bombe. $20. The magazine celebrates women and food through a biannual magazine. The book shares the stories of everyone from industry icons to notable newcomers, encouraging creativity in the kitchen. Read more.

Suitcase. $25. London, England. The magazine exists to change the way you travel: from where to go to how to pack. It’s for travel insiders, not tourists. Read more.

Raquet. $15. New York, New York. Racquet is a quarterly magazine that celebrates the art, ideas, style and culture that surround tennis. Read more.

Franchise. $20. New York, New York. A premium print publication dedicated to global basketball culture. The team consists of a group of players, artists and writers. The magazine documents the stories, characters and ideas that shape the game we love. Read more.

Here. $10. New York, New York. Away is a company on a mission and their latest project falls within this category. A well-produced, independent magazine that leans more on brand equity than advertising revenue. Steph Korey and Jen Rubio are the latest brand executives to turn their product into an escape for their readers. Read more.

Traditional publishing has been plagued by pay-for-play influence and an excessive approach to advertising sales and placements. Does anyone else ignore the first 20 pages of advertising? For brands that are looking to grow along with impassioned, independent audiences, this is the class of publishers that are truly making an impact for retailers.

Legacy magazine publishers focused on building a readership that advertisers would pay for. Independent publishers focus on building a product that consumers will pay for. Brand partnerships with independent publishers can reveal a smaller-yet-primed audience that can supplement performance marketing efforts. In the last two years, we’ve seen similar efforts launched by eCommerce brands: Airbnb, Hodinkee, and GOOP.

As traditional advertising and product placement continues to attract DNVB brands, you can expect to see more partnerships in this space. And more brand-funded magazines that mirror the quality of independent publishing.

Read more of the issue here.

By Web Smith | About 2PM 

Member Brief No. 17: The Conde Nast Report

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Conde Nast recently released a summary of a report on the media group’s power to influence purchases. The study was conducted in partnership with an organization called Tapestry. In it, the findings identified the significance of brand recognition and trust in top funnel purchasing decisions. Conducted throughout the spring of 2018 using Tapestry’s CDJ technique, Conde Nast measured the responses of 4,500 American consumers between the ages of 18 and 64.

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Member Brief No. 16: Patreon’s Signal

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If you’re an independent creator, Patreon is your home. The upstart has accomplished great traction in a short period of time. CEO Jack Conte and Sam Yam’s creation launched in May of 2013 after Conte grew increasingly frustrated by Youtube’s lack of monetization. As the story would go, Conte beta-tested the site with his own personal Youtube audience and began raking in $7,000+ per video. Youtube’s monetization would earn him a little more than $50 for the same work. Fast forward five years and Patreon is synonymous with patronage, as much as Kickstarter is synonymous with crowdfunding.

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