Media Broth: Magfest morsels

STARTING tomorrow, the magazine, Woman’s Weekly, is hosting its third annual show, Woman’s Weekly Live!

As the magazine’s editor, Diane Kenwood, explained to delegates at the annual conference of the Scots division of the PPA – Magfest, which took place in Edinburgh on Friday, to massive acclaim – the received wisdom is that such shows make a loss in their first year, break-even in their second and then begin to make a profit thereafter.

The debut show – two years ago – made a profit, on the back of 10,000 visitors.

Maybe the secret of the success can be summed up in a recent entry on the magazine’s Facebook page: an apology from a reader that she will not be able to make this year’s show – as if she had received a personal invitation, rather than having simply read details in the magazine’s pages.

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AS ever, the chief executive of DC Thomson, Ellis Watson, was on entertaining form. Opening Magfest, he shared several stories that were instantly tweeted, including the wisecrack – on the back of his early career at News International – that his wedding video now looks like… an episode of Crimewatch.

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SO, just who is Private Frazer? The magazines blogger was mentioned in dispatches, not least because his blog – here – takes a rather caustic view of the magazines sector.

And so, in a diary of 100 stories (each a maximum of 100 words long) from the sector – that delegates received on arriving at Magfest – there was Private Frazer’s entry.

It read, as follows: “100 words on the  state of magazines? Ye ken I can do it in one: DOOMED!”

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TALKING of received wisdom… If you think kids are becoming more and more adult at a younger age, then think again.

A mix of third party research and their own findings has led magazines publisher, DC Thomson, to arrive at the perhaps rather startling conclusion that kids are staying kids for longer and actually are pretty resistant to attempts to share more adult content with them.

The revelation was from Helenor Gilmour, consumer insight and brand development at DC Thomson – and it’s in their interests to know.

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THERE were loud cheers, as one of the Magfest keynote speakers approached the lecturn; but then the presence of the creative director of The New Yorker only added to the big-time feel of the festival.

Wyatt Mitchell first began by telling the story of his involvement with a music magazine, Vibe. And how he moved the design away from distressed type and… images of bullet holes.

And on the first day at his next job – at WIRED – he was asked to stay beyond your average 9am-to-5pm.

In fact, it was 5.30am the following day when his ‘day’ ended – underlining his view that you can never give a designer too much time.

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ADMIT it, those of you who were at a break-out talk by the CEO of Time Out, Tim Arthur… You were immediately taken back to pre-event networking and its mention of ‘fight, flight, freeze’.

As Arthur was well into his speech – on how the magazine had dramatically changed direction (including becoming available for free) and is still changing direction (it has Edinburgh and Glasgow apps ‘in the pipeline’) – the door was suddenly flung open.

“Show them your tattoo!”, exclaimed the intruder.

Welcome to Magfest to Loaded magazine founder, James Brown.

The clue might be found in an Arthur tweet, posted the previous evening: “On my way to Edinburgh, it’s a stunning evening in the Borders. It’d be perfect if @jamesjamesbrown wasn’t stalking me on the same train.”

All friendly banter…

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JAMES Brown could not have been a better pick as the final session of Magfest – a bit like comedian, Frankie Boyle, at the Edinburgh Television Festival a fortnight previously, he perked up flagging energy.

Several tales into his enthusiasm for life, when asked if there was anything he’d do differently if he could do it all again…

“Less strokes, more sex.” And then he gave it a bit more thought…

“Stay in the jobs longer.”

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ANYTHING ticking your tastebuds? Email here in the strictest confidence.