Chapter 21: Magazines
Gillian Doyle INTRODUCTION Recent research suggests that, on account of factors including changes in the structure of the workforce and technological advances, the amount of leisure time generally available to adults in the US and other developed economies has gradually increased over time. At the same time, the number of pursuits and forms of entertainment and information vying for our attention in any spare moment has multiplied (Davenport and Beck, 2001; Lanham, 2006). A great deal of the extra leisure time available to US adults since the 1960s has been spent consuming media and especially watching television, as opposed to reading (Aguiar and Hurst, 2007: 987). Nevertheless, reading remains a popular leisure pursuit and in many territories including the US, the UK, Western Europe and Scandinavia, the magazine publishing industry enjoyed a sustained period of growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Focusing mainly on the UK, this chapter introduces some of the key economic characteristics of consumer and leisure magazines and the nature of demand for these products. It examines how publishers structure their activities to spread risk and maximize their returns. This chapter considers the forces that have encouraged trends towards internationalization of high-profile titles such as Elle, Vogue and FHM and towards cross-platform distribution and digital editions. The ability to capitalize on economies of scale and scope through translating popular brands across additional delivery platforms (such as online and mobile), into more product markets and over numerous international territories is increasingly important to economic success in magazine publishing....
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