In September last year I wrote a column for Press Gazette quoting Conor McNicholas on his move to Top Gear. “If you want to be successful, you have to find the opportunities in any situation. There are opportunities in a downturn if you can make it work for you,” he said.
Not so long ago, Louise Chunn and Marie O’Riordan were facing it off across the newsstand: Chunn at InStyle, O’Riordan at Marie Claire. Yet this year, they were competing for the contract to publish the John Lewis magazine.
For many years, customer publishing was considered the poor relation among magazine publishers. But publishing agencies were quietly building an impressive portfolio of titles: many would not disgrace the newsstand – indeed, the source of their funding means that their production values can be higher than their paid-for cousins. There are now over 1000 customer titles, with 92 launches in the last 18 months: two of these (I and Arise) have been nominated for BSME’s Launch of the Year category.