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Thread: Magazine in a timewarp

  1. #1
    Goon
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    My name's Charles and I'm an alcoholic . . . .

    Sorry, I'll start again. My name is Harry and I must confess than until today I'd never read TGO. Prompted by this site I bought a copy in WH Smith.

    To be honest I'm shocked and not a little stunned. Bright, attractive cover, nice masthead and well-promoted articles . . . and then I looked inside. Blimey, crikey it's like taking a step back in time. I half expected to see it being edited by Alfred Wainright or even his dad.

    I have no qualms with the content of the magazin,e some of it is excellent, some good and some poor, it's the appearance that I'm taken aback by. It looks like something that the Caravan Club could have been producing as its annual newsletter in the 1960s

    The walking route pages are particularlly grim athough the layout of the letters pages deserves a mention, it reminds me of a Church newsletter I got through the post a few years ago.

    There are those who would offer the 'form and function' argument and tell me that content is everything but it isn't. The public are tempted by how things look and I'm afraid TGO looks drab, dated, dull and downright dour.

    Leaves room to find WWII tin hat and flak jacket.

  2. #2
    Ultra King Dave Mycroft's Avatar
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    "The public are tempted by how things look and I'm afraid TGO looks drab, dated, dull and downright dour"

    So what does that say about the OM membership who appear to believe this is the best issue in a long time and have given it rave reviews?


  3. #3
    ‹bermensch
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    I'm more interested in what you expected it to look like Harry. Personally I think it all went a bit too modern a while back (ever since it's been in colour really).

    Seriously though, how would you jazz it up?

  4. #4
    Goon
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    Dave, I've just read through that thread and I'd agree with much of what has been said. Indeed in my post I said "some of the content was excellent, some good and some poor".

    My gripe is the appearance. There's just no excuse with the technology and design talent available for a magazine to look so dated and uninteresting.

    If you'd never heard of baked baked beans and saw two tins in the supermarket, one with a white label which simply said "Baked Beans" and the other a full colour tin of the sort that, say, Heinz produce, which would you buy? I don't know if that's a good analogy but I hope you take my point.

    My post wasn't an attempt to just have a dig. I was genuinely shocked at how dated and amateurish the magazine looks. No intention at all to offend anyone on this forum or TGO readers

  5. #5
    Goon
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    Marcus, I think it would be very easy to improve it. The cover looks good so why can't all the other pages.

    A few days ago i was looking through doznes of back copies of Trail (am I allowed to mention that?) going back about five years and it's amazing how the magazine has evolved. Actually the criticism I have of trail is that it seems much more concerned with appearance than content.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    It's a matter of style, I think, and that's all. If you've been reading Trail for five years, then you'll be used to the somewhat brash and 'lad mag' look; as you say, verging on the style-over-content threshold.

    TGO is rather more reserved, and perhaps appeals to those who prefer a more calm appearance, without the visual clutter so beloved of editors who think their readers have limited attention spans, and need some brightly-coloured splash to wake them every paragraph...

  7. #7
    Ultra King Dave Mycroft's Avatar
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    Harry,

    If I saw those two tins of baked beans I'd buy the cheapest (probably the white labelled ones) because they both appear to be the same thing so why pay extra for fancy artwork? Sp probably not a good analogy lol.

    I take your point that presentation is important, but it would seem that the "tweaked" layout actually seems popular to the reders. There has to be a fine balance between retaining existing regulars and attracting new ones - I assume that if the redership declines they'll change it and if it increases they'll keep it.

  8. #8
    Goon
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    Captain, it's not just a comparison with Trail issue. I read dozents of magazines and they are all different but the best ones have one thing in common ? sharp editing and sharp design. TGO doesn't have either IMHO.

  9. #9
    Goon
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    Sorry Dave, should have said that both tins of beans are same price.

    Regarding "There has to be a fine balance between retaining existing regulars and attracting new ones - I assume that if the redership declines they'll change it and if it increases they'll keep it."

    It doesn't quite work like that. In the consumer magazine sector there's only one game in town and that's risiing circulation and you only do that by attracting new readers. The way Trail have done it has been very clever and very sensible, a case of evolution not revolution.


  10. #10
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    As a matter of interest, what's your opinion of avatars, animated smileys, etc. on forums like this?

  11. #11
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    > In the consumer magazine sector there's only one game in town and that's risiing circulation

    Why?

    Surely it's impossible for all magazines to have perpetually rising circulations?

    Does a publisher stop publishing a magazine just because the circulation stops rising? (If they do, I'd suggest they're mental...)

  12. #12
    Ultra King Dave Mycroft's Avatar
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    Perhaps that's why Highbury House, who bought Paragon and publish 200+ magazines today announced it has gone bust and all titles are now up for sale........while still owing me several hundred pounds for freelance work I've done for them

  13. #13
    Goon
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    Captain, I think Dave has answered your question better than I could.

    Just take a look at the range of magazines in WH Smith's. Bloody mindboggling. Four titles on Carp fishing. Surely there can't bbe a market for four magazines on a specific area of coarse fishing?

    Survival of the fittest and that's why appearance plays an important role.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    No, he hasn't answered the question.

    Maybe publishing houses go bust because they're constantly trying to find new niche markets, and spend too much money developing new magazines to replace the long-established one they've just binned because its readership fell by one copy this month, pissing off its many loyal readers...

    It seems to me to be a pretty simple business model; if your circulation is large enough to support the production costs and attract sufficient advertising to make a reasonable profit, I see no reason why a magazine should be killed.

    If you continue to launch speculative magazines into new, untried markets, then I suspect you'll burn through a lot of cash. And go bust... I can only imagine that it's a lack of imagination of the part of publishing houses as to what market to go for that results in anomolies such as four carping magazines (although, of course, fishing is still the most popular pastime in the UK, so maybe there is room for that many titles). They see one new magazine become successful, and decide they must get in on the act. Witness the FHM/Loaded/generic lad mag saga.

    I would have thought TGO has been around long enough that their production costs are static, and, if they maintain their readership (rather than continually increasing it), there's no good reason to close it.

    Then there are issues of hiring and firing staff when closing and starting new magazines, the problem of cash flow when you shut a reasonably successful mag, keeping presses running at maximum utilization, etc.

    Nope, I can't see why you'd close a magazine just because its circulation isn't constantly rising.

    But then I'm not a publisher, so what do I know?

  15. #15
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    I'm still interested in your opinion of animated slimeys, etc.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator captain paranoia's Avatar
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    BTW: I rarely buy any magazines these days; online media is enough for me.

  17. #17
    ‹bermensch Peewiglet's Avatar
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    Are different opinions allowed here, Harry? I don't find the appearance of TGO to be grim, or dull, or amateurish. Presumably some others don't either, since it's been going quite a while now. On the other hand, it could be that people do think it looks dull but are more concerned with substance than with form.

    Are you sure you're not just having a bit of a troll, though? (You know: posting things you hope might cause a bit of an argument, just for the 'fun' of it?) It just seems a little bit odd that you should have access to "dozens of back copies of Trail (am I allowed to mention that) going back about 5 years" whilst at the same time you've never looked into TGO.

    Then there was that tantrum you had on the MP3 thread when it turned out that not everyone likes iPods.

    Were you going to express any interest in walking or walking kit at any stage, or did you just come here to argue? (That's allowed, of course - each to their own - but I just couldn't help wondering.)

  18. #18
    Goon
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    Peewiglet, of course different opinions are allowed so why such a fuss over my opinion on the appearance of the magazine.

    As for Trail I've been buying the magazine for years annd keep all the back copies. I'm such a sad git I also have dozens of back copies of Q, Uncut, iCreate, New Scientist, and many others. I genuinely had never opened a copy of TGO until today.

    I didn't have a tantrum over people not liking iPods I expressed a dislike for the disparaging and unfriendly reaction that my views illicited.

    I have expressed a view on some kit in the rucksacks thread.

    is there anything specific you'd like me to comment on? I'd be more than happy to do so.

  19. #19
    Ultra King Jamie @ www.trekkingbritain.com's Avatar
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    This months FHM looks great... its full of cr*p!

    This months TGO doesn't look that great... Its full of new stuf and great articles and walks and news and a massive improvement.

    Its a bit like me and Brad Pitt... Brad looks awful but I'm sure he's a really nice lad! ;-)

    I think your about to take the wrath of PW! I'd run!

  20. #20
    Goon
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    Jamie, re FHM, couldn't agree more and I did make that very point in my original post.

    PW? Sorry don't understand.

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