10 Influential UK-based Magazine Publishers
Magazine publishing has consolidated over the years, but the UK still has a big industry presence. Here are ten of the most influential companies.
1. Current Publishing
A comparative newbie in the magazine publishing world, Current was founded in 1998 and has three titles in its portfolio. Its focus is on history and archaeology and its oldest title, Current Archaeology, dates back to 1967 and has over 17,000 subscribers worldwide. One of Current’s strengths is its willingness to use new media to reinforce and magnify the reach of its traditional products. They do this through the use of specialist websites and online resources aimed at the modern archaeologist.
2. DC Thomson
This long-established company is best known for its comics, which include The Beano and The Dandy. It’s also involved in newspapers and television production. A Dundee-based company, DC Thomson produces more than two hundred million comics, magazines, and newspapers annually. Amongst its many acquisitions are This England Publishing in 2009 and, less successfully, the Friends Reunited website. The company continues to grow and diversify in order to combat a contracting market.
3. Dennis Publishing
An independent publisher founded in 1974, Dennis quickly found a niche in the computer enthusiast sector. Naturally, this was a very foresighted move. Computer magazines were the backbone of the Dennis portfolio until the launch of Maxim in the nineties. These days it continues to specialise in men’s lifestyle magazines, as well as computing, sports, and motoring publications.
4. Euromoney Institutional Investor
As its name suggests, Euromoney Institutional Investor is concerned with publications focused on the financial world. It’s one of Europe’s largest business and financial magazine specialists. Founded in 1969 as an international business-to-business media group, the company has expanded over the years with frequent acquisitions, but has largely confined itself to its core subject area. It maintains a learning solutions division, responsible for producing a range of training literature.
5. Jane’s Information Group
Now owned by London-based IHS, the Jane’s brand remains strong. It was founded in 1898 by naval enthusiast F T Jane, and became well known as the publisher of All the World’s Fighting Ships. Jane’s area of specialisation remains firmly in the defence arena, with a range of defence, aerospace, and intelligence-related periodicals.
6. John Brown Media
John Brown burst onto the scene in the late eighties with the adult comic Viz. It went on to publish a wide range of magazines, specialising in customer magazines for the likes of Virgin, Debenhams, and IKEA. While it has divested itself of many of its earlier titles and moved into new fields, it still produces around a hundred publications for more than fifty clients. Never afraid to explore new areas, John Brown is a leading publisher of mobile app products, as well as print and web publications.
7. Future Publishing
Founded in 1985, Future Publishing publishes more than fifty magazine titles covering music, films, technology, and video games. The company was founded in rural Somerset and remains based in Bath to this day. Future has gone through several changes of ownership but continues to expand and diversify, buying the likes of Blaze Publishing, Noble House Media, and Imagine in recent years.
8. Key Publishing
Another extra-metropolitan publishing company is Stamford-based Key. It specialises in aviation and transport-related titles and was founded in 1980. It has since grown, with the acquisition of a range of titles previously produced by other companies, notably Ian Allen. Key has moved into Spanish language publications through title acquisitions, and has had a Spanish-based subsidiary since 2009.
9. Magnesium Media
Based in Stockport, Magnesium is a specialist computer magazine company, which is a strong area for magazine publishers. The company produces one regular monthly print magazine, PC Utilities, along with a range of one-off guides and downloadable information manuals in various new media formats marketed under the Guidaroo brand.
10. Mortons Media Group
Like Key, Mortons is Lincolnshire based. It was in the market town of Horncastle that William Morton started his business in 1887. After his death, it was rescued from bankruptcy and became the publisher of several local newspapers, before moving into the magazine market. Since the 1990s, the company has built up an impressive portfolio of hobbyist magazines, including such notable titles as The Railway Magazine, which is now in its 120th year of production.