Sunday, February 17, 2008

All Change in the World of Political Magazines

Continuing my trawl through the Sunday papers I have found an excellent piece by The Independent on Sunday's Joy Lo Dico on John Kampfner's exit from the New Statesman, which I blogged about last week HERE. She also charts the demise of The Business, which closed last week. It will restart in a new guise as a monthly magazine, The Spectator Business - no doubt designed to build on the Spectator brand. Reading Joy's piece, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the New Statesman changed hands soon.

So after reading that article, you'd think I'd be mad to want to start up a new political magazine, wouldn't you?


Luckily TOTAL POLITICS has a very different business model to the New Statesman or The Business, but I am under no illusion about how many magazines fail in their first year. Restaurants are probably the only businesses which have a higher first year failure rate.

I'll be telling you more about TOTAL POLITICS next week, but suffice to say it is definitely happening and we have just put up a holding page website, which you can sign up to for email alerts or ask any questions. The magazine is meant to be a kind of trade magazine for the political sector - no editorial slant, aimed at politicians and those hooked on political process. It will be light, accessible and colourful - no articles on PFI by John Hutton or anything similar! It will appear monthly (from June) with a cover price of around £3.50 (annual subscription £37.80) and will be sent free to all elected politicians in the country down to district councillor level. So if you work for an organisation that has a message for every politician in the country, advertising in TOTAL POLITICS will be the best way to get to them. We'll also have a super new website, which will have all sorts of things to interest a political audience. We've already recruited six staff and have a couple more to find.

Anyway, that's just a taster. More next week.

21 comments:

former blog writer said...

good luck but in a world already awash with political opinions and associated waffle I wouldn't bet my pension fund on it...

Newmania said...

Is it my imagination or did the NS attempt a rapprochment with right and centre right readers . I certainly found that it was tallking a language I could understand and my impression was that Labour had put stop to that at which point, of course , its circulation declined. It was also easier for it to be in the BRown camop before we had Brown.


I always like it though and rate it as vastly better than the tedious Speccie . Its old Labour connection keeps it away from the fetid self obsession of the media generally.

Matt Davis said...

The very best of luck with it Iain, but giving it free to so many people (which will include me, so I declare an interest)is surely going to put you on the back foot financially from the off.

Anyway I'm looking forward to the first, of hopefully many, issues.

Paddy Briggs said...

Iain

There is a gap. It's for a balanced and non Partisan approach to politics. is that what you aim to do?

Iain Dale said...

Paddy, there will be no editorial line in the magazine. I shan't be writing much for it as my role is on the business side. The editor is a Labour supporter, so she will no doubt tell me exactly what she thinks if I so much as suggest anything different!

Anonymous said...

total politics, but the logo drifts from blue to red ... ?

Hmmn, I think there's a bit more to the political spectrum than that, even if you'd rather there wasn't.

Iain Dale said...

Just to be clear - that is not the final logo. This is just a holding page for the website.

John M Ward said...

The first I noticed was the rather dull and dark logo, with blue on the left and red on the right. I'm pleased this will not be the final version!

I do hope you've sussed out the market for this, and that it will be a success. I for one look forward to seeing it.

Richard said...

I thought it was called The Politico?

Iain Dale said...

Richard, that was indeed the working title. However, I didn't realise how big the POLITICO.com site and magazine are in Washington. There wasn't a legal issue but I just thought it was a recipe for confusion.

Anonymous said...

Do remember that Scotland is (alas) different, won't you? The BBC never says 'in England and Wales' when reporting on the latest Nulab stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Please have a gatefold picture of the political journalist of the month - with a folded Daily Telegraph preserving, um, impartiality.

Prodicus said...

No bias... good luck with that. By the way, the (font at the) red end of the masthead is thicker than (the font at) the blue end.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

What do I know, but if you call it "Total Politics" it will be instantly nicknamed "Total Bollocks" by detractors. Not a criticism, just a warning from a hardened cynic.

asquith said...

Why don't you have a logo of various people hacking each other to death in a bloody gladiatorial contest? :)

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. Trying to charge £ 3.50 for something which is being given away free to politicians strikes me as having devalued the concept from the outset.

Your annual subscription is higher than Private Eye - you will have to be very good indeed to be better value.

I do hope you are not going to charge for the website access - or you will be dead in the water at the outset.oj

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, the selling point for advertisers is that they reach every elected politician in the country. It would be almosy impossible to build up that readership purely by subscription or newsstand sales.

The House Magazine operates on a similar principle, although its subscription price is nearer £200 than our £37.80!!!

Anonymous said...

Fair point - but in this case isn't the £3.50 cover price simply like the purely artificial price tags on the trade magazines which one receives 'free' when one pays one's membership subscription ??

Clearly if you are expecting that your readership is going to be almost exclusively the 'trade' [who get it for free] that is fine, but I am not sure how much you are expecting to raise from news-stand sales.

If this is a smallish percentage of your total revenue - say 10% to 15% then it could well be a goer, but if it is substantial then I might be a tad more sceptical. Let us wait and see.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, without going into detail about the business model, newsstand sales are not a large part of expected revenue, although from discussions last week with two magazine distributors I'm a lot more confident of those sales than I was!

Anonymous said...

No, I don't suppose newsstand sales need to substantial, just as long as the distribution to politicians cost washes its face from the advertising.

Best of British luck and all that.

Darell said...

This sounds great Iain. Good luck!