Media powerlist: A glossy page in the digital age

Magazines are still standing in the digital media age but there are fewer companies than most would expect.

By India Rose

Magazines are still hugely popular in the digital age however the industry isn’t as wide as many might think, according to data analysis done by Leeds Hacks.

It shows that almost all of the UK’s biggest magazines actually link back to only four large companies, our analysis shows.

Conde Nast and The national magazine distributors ltd are the publishers of forty plus magazines in the UK and are both owned by Hearst UK. Together they own many popular magazines such as; Vogue, The New Yorker, Red, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Elle, Wired and Vanity fair.

Hearst UK is the biggest of the players, The national magazine distributors ltd has a current annual turnover of 212.4 million followed by Conde Nast with an annual turnover of 113 million.

Time Inc. the second largest company home to NME, Marie Claire, Livingetc, Rugby world and Ideal home has an annual turnover of 221.06 million.

Haymarket with it’s series of economics, travel and buisness magazines has an annual turnover of 172.7 million. Followed by Immediate media co. owner of all of the BBC’s magazines, various cross-stitching, sewing and knitting magazines and children’s Girl Talk magazine has the lowest annual turnover of 666k.

A graph showing magazines and which company they belong to.

A graph showing magazines and which company they belong to.

Joely Carey a former magazine editorial director and award winning commercial content director commented: “The reduction in magazine publishers for the mainstream is simple commerce, smaller companies were bought out by, or merged with larger operations.

“These days we have fewer large publishing houses and this can result in a reduced magazine offering for consumers, tough times means resources are stretched and the desire for these bigger companies to play and experiment in the printed field is almost non-existent – simply because its too risky to incur losses against a dwindling return.”

There are only a few major publishing houses that own a stable of titles these days, she added, as over the years companies were bought out and rolled into larger operations, which resulted in an industry which was dominated by enormous publishing houses with a plethora of titles to their name.

“Magazines were selling in huge numbers, ad revenues were strong and it was a successful industry.

“That kind of competition created higher quality magazines and kept magazine journalism at the forefront of publishing.

“As the digital age dawned and gave rise to online publishing, these big publishing behemoths stood still, virtually, ignored the changes that were happening in consumer behaviour and believed, wrongly, their print titles could survive the digitalisation of content.”

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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