Future to acquire 38 Highbury titles - recreated

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bcrabtree
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Recreated thanks to www.google.com's cache
Originally posted 29-04-2005, 16:57 #1

JohnColby
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Future to acquire 38 Highbury titles

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From http://www.futureplc.com/future/new...ype=news&ref=60

Title list at the bottom of that link.

Lookin at Future's trading statement at http://www.futureplc.com/future/new...ype=news&ref=61 it seems that Future are looking to broaden their portfolio.
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29-04-2005, 18:43 #2
bcrabtree

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Well, for most of the people at the Highbury division where CV was based, I reckon this is good news - and that's good news for me, cos I've still got a lot of mates there, though I note that for whatever reason, Chris Jenkins' mag Total DVD isn't on the list, and that's not good news for him, or his team or me.

Whether or not you particularly like the way Future operates or the titles that it currently produces, there's no doubting the fact that it is a successful publisher of magazines (even if much of what it produces is "eye-candy") and does have the skills required.

Sadly, that was not true of the former (hopefully now disgraced) directors of Highbury, whose good years were based more on what they didn't do than what they did do.

It's also not true, I believe, of the present top people whose prime skills seemed to me to be centred on the ability to sell the companies they ran - as this latest deal perhaps underlines. That said, there is one man, Kevin Petley, who I'd judge may be an exception to that rule, because he's always struck me in meetings as being razor sharp.

Of course, a whole bunch of questions remain.

The most significant is how viable will the rump that's left behind be?

The worrying factor there is the still massive size of the debt it will have to carry. Proportionally, this looks to be more than the entire Highbury operation was burdened with.

But, even if that hurdle can be overcome, there is the question of how good the prospects are for any niche title - Future's, Highbury's or anyone else's - when W H Smith doesn't want to stock niche mags without being paid massively to do so?

Overall, though, I think a lot of my mates will be sleeping easier tonight.

Bob C

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30-04-2005, 00:08 #3
DD_UK
Senior Member

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Bob,

Whilst it seems true to form that WH Smith (WHS) wants subsidies to stock niche magazines, I'm begining to wonder whether that it is absolutely true.

I am a habitual visitor to WHS and I have not noticed any of my niche magazines disappearing from the shelves. None of them (mainly in the railway/model railway field) have gone.

Indeed, I was in the Rickmansworth branch today (and that is small by WHS standards) when a customer asked if they stocked any classic tractor magazines. Now you can't get much more niche (or sad) than that and b****r me they had one and apologised they had sold out of another.

I don't doubt that WHS are asking for subsidies, but am begining to wonder if you were told the whole truth.

David

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some more from my cache ;)

0-04-2005, 10:03 #4
JohnColby
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I go into WHS at The Fort (Fort Dunlop, Birmingham) reasonably regularly. This has just physically been halved in size. I looked unsucessfully for one of my son's niche mags - Powekite (he throws himself on a small trolley three inches off the ground along beaches and fields powered by the wind, supported by string and garishly coloured nylon and doesn't have brakes - must take after me in insanity). SO it may be slective - or just holding smaller stocks. I now go to Borders for the niche stuff - they also have American imports.

Presumably, Bob, Future know your name

And with regard to the Railway mags - presumably they have a regular nd loyal readership - with guaranteed sales. They're not things you pick up on spec, whereas DV tiitles may well be.

(and very pleased to see the "Editied by" tag has gone)
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Old 01-05-2005, 00:44 #5
DD_UK
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Ahh John, you have hit the nail on the head.

Railway magazines carry a wealth of content, current scene, history, technical, civil engineering, human interest and the modelling ones will contain all the above plus scenic techniques, reviews of kits and new models and some very advanced eletronics.

Pick up a computer mag (and I'm including CV) and what do you find. Reviews of hardware that, to all practible purposes, is exactly the same (do I really need to know that machine A is .00005% faster than machine B). Reviews of software that later turn out to have serious faults. Reviews of cameras that show no real progress over former models. Lists of recomended hardware that is repeated month after month and gets further and further out of date in terms of price. The same getting started feature month after month. Pages and pages of adverts that say 'ring for the latest price'.

The computer market has matured but I don't think the computer mags have.

Maybe that is why WHS are stocking less of them or demanding subsidies. The returns must be enormous.

The total market for railway/railway modelling (not just mags) is reckoned to be less than 75,000 which is miniscule compared to the computer market.

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Old 01-05-2005, 10:35 #6
JohnColby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DD_UK
The computer market has matured but I don't think the computer mags have.

The total market for railway/railway modelling (not just mags) is reckoned to be less than 75,000 which is miniscule compared to the computer market.

David

I only buy the compter mags for the DVD on the cover. It was different with CVE - you know it was going to be good and have stuff that you needed, if not now, at some time.

But 75,000 guaranteed sales I think beats 100,00 maybe sales and a load of pulp. Back issues of railway mags have a currency so can be returned to supplier, back issues of comp mags don't have that same value.
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Old 04-05-2005, 20:47 #7
Colin Barrett
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I wonder if the newly-acquired division will start to pay its freelance contributors a bit more quickly than we've seen to date? Or - as a contributor to Highbury/WV since 1997 - am I just being over-optimistic?

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Unread Today, 01:34 #8
bcrabtree
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Colin,

They may be watching you, take care!

Mind you, people do tell me that Future are actually rather reliable when it comes to paying contributors - though the bottom line, irrespective of the company involved, is whether or not the commissioning editor is consciencious about getting invoices into the system.

And to back that up I'd simply point out that, as far as I know, there was seldom significant problems with payments for articles that you wrote for me at CV.

Or have I got my rose-tinted specs on again?

Bob

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