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CMA Questionnaire about loss of AP

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by PeteRob, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    As a subscriber to AP I just got an email from the Competition and Markets Agency asking my views on AP should TI media merge with another publisher. It is a survey monkey questionnaire seeking to know whether I’d move to another publication if AP ceased to exist. Clearly the answer is no. A free text option is also available in the multiple choice. I put

    “AP is unique weekly publication of immense pedigree that maintains an outstanding quality of material (editorial, technical, help, educational) that is unmatched. It would be an act of vandalism to remove this publication as a direct consequence of portfolio compression following merger between publishing bodies with overlapping interest in the photographic sector.”


    edit:

    Future announces intention to acquire renowned magazine and digital publisher TI Media

    October 30th, 2019

    Future is thrilled to announce its intention to acquire TI Media, a renowned magazine and digital media company with a proud heritage in UK publishing.

    This acquisition signals one of the most important moments in Future’s history, expanding our portfolio to more than 220 global brands and giving us the opportunity to lead some of the magazine world’s most iconic titles.

    The acquisition of TI Media honours our ongoing strategy of expanding our global reach. It introduces three new verticals to Future’s consumer portfolio: Lifestyle, Women’s Interest and Sport, with popular titles such as Decanter, Wallpaper*, Country Life and Marie Claire UK.

    By utilising Future’s SEO and tech expertise, there’s great potential to scale TI Media’s brands both digitally and internationally. It also strengthens a number of our existing verticals and further diversifies our audience with a large female readership.

    Our CEO, Zillah Byng-Thorne, says: “Following a record-breaking year of huge organic growth at Future, I am delighted that we are now in a position to announce the proposed acquisition of TI Media. We have long admired TI Media, and I am thrilled at the prospect of bringing our exceptional teams together. I truly believe that through our combined passion, determination and expertise that we will be a super-force of specialist media”.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
    daft_biker and RogerMac like this.
  2. Lindsay Pennell

    Lindsay Pennell Well-Known Member

    I've just responded similarly to this questionnaire. I do hope this isn't the sounding of a death-knell for AP, I'd like to know what Future's intentions are with the magazine
     
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  3. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Why are we only talking about this now?
    Is Future a saviour or a threat?
    What happens in either case, takeover or not?
    From me these are not rhetorical questions. I have no idea of the answers. What little I do think that I know is that the printed magazine sector in general is struggling in hard times.
     
  4. Jimbo57

    Jimbo57 Well-Known Member

    Yep. Filled it in yesterday as honestly as I could. I'd hate to lose the printed magazine but, to be honest, the best photographic magazines (imho) nowadays are not those you can find in the newsagent but those published by the SIGs of the RPS, e.g. DIGIT, Landscape, Creative Eye, etc.
     
  5. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I was trying to find out if the email was genuine or malicious (the type where using the link in it downloads something that will try to nuke your PC). I will now use the link and look at the survey.

    I have found the following, which includes the news about TI Media. To think it all started with 'Amstrad Action'...
    However, growth by acquisistion usually results in cherry-picking from the things acquired and dropping or trying to sell the rest.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_plc

    And TI Media have apparently already disposed of many titles they acquired:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TI_Media

    My cynical suspicion is that Future would like to own a few more prestige titles, but there is no way to know if AP is one of them.
    As I observed in a previous posting when there were changes at Time Inc., I urge the AP team to watch any existing employee pension arangements very carefully.

    Update - I have just completed the 'survey', and given the correct answer for my age (55+). But I assume any new publisher will want make AP appeal to the 'yoof' market, so perhaps I should have told them I was a teenager.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
  6. Jimbo57

    Jimbo57 Well-Known Member

    Maybe not the yoof market. They don't buy printed magazines but the grey market (over 70s) js still huge and affluent and contains most of those who would describe themselves as amateur photographers. This week at our camera club we had a marvellous presentation on Street Photography by Damien Demolder, a former editor of AP. OK, the present regime has lost a bit of charisma since Damien's day but, given that AP is the only weekly photo mag in the world, there should still be the ability to carve out a very lucrative market segment if they play their cards right.
     
  7. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Part of the problem is advertising. I remember a post, which I cannot find, where the late Roger Hicks mentioned that the proportion of income made up from advertising, a fig that was much larger than I expected. If the pressure on advertising in mags continues due to pressure from other sources then the mag may not be viable. Fortunately AP still has several advertisers.
     
  8. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I recall reading AP in the mid-1970s when it was half an inch thick and had so many advertisements that sometimes much of it looked more like Exchange & Mart than a photographic magazine. But there were many more manufacturers and retailers then, and now there are only a few of each. I suspect than many of the larger retailers who continue to support AP realise that this is the best place to attract new customers to their websites: buying your first real camera and spending hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of pounds at a website of a retailer you nothing about (apart from what they say on their website) may appear risky, but buying from a retailer who regularly advertises in a reputable magazine is much safer. Personally, I would advise any 'beginner' who has no decent local retailer and hence has to buy online, to only consider retailers who regularly advertise in AP.

    Another point about advertising: if the lilkely new owners of AP suddenly attract advertisements for non-photographic stuff (cars, holidays, etc.), you can assume they are trying to convert the magazine into just another 'lifestyle' magazine by offering deals to these advertisers and then will change its content accordingly. My wife tells me that this has happened to some of her once-favourite specialist gardening magazines in recent years, so she has abandoned them.
     
  9. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I suspect that the number of 'affluent greys' who regularly buy printed magaznes will decline as they die off and are replaced by others who have never purchased printed magazines. The people who are not yet grey must be the ones to catch if possible, but perhaps not the 'yoof' as I said (not too seriously). Replace 'yoof' with 'middle aged' and the comment makes more sense. What I don't know is if AP's policy of trying to appeal to smartphone users will help it survive or hasten its demise because most of them like their devices so much that they will never buy a real camera. At least a bit of 'financial realism' has crept into new hardware reviews recently, and there has been more space devoted to buying secondhand stuff.
     
  10. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

  11. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Given that I had a letter and a photo published in the Kelsey magazine that arrived yesterday, I think AP might be OK with them... though you might get a lot more history articles!
     
  12. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    To correct some of the comments posted on this thread:
    1] There is no 'Yoof' magazine market. People under 30 do not buy magazines in any volume worth counting.
    2] The average age of AP readers is 59, and 45% of our readers are retired.
    3] Our policy of trying to appeal to smartphone users (an assumption presumably based on the fact that we have run three features in the last year on smartphones and phone photography) is true only insofar as 95% of the UK population own a smartphone. So yes, we may as well run the occasional feature on which are the best ones, or how to get the best out of them.
    4] Re; the idea of suddenly attacting loads of lifestyle advertising? Any company is free to advertise their brand in AP, but they will only do so if they feel that the AP reader is their target audience. Otherwise they are wasting their money. (Of course we'd still take it if they insisted).
     
  13. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Good luck and success to you and the team under this new ownership.
     
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  14. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Did Kelsey get anything else?

    Or is it just AP joining their Specialist roster alongside, amongst others, Fishing News, SciFiNow and Practical Pigs. o_O
     
  15. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    They also bought World Soccer.
     
  16. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I wish you and your staff all the best.
     
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  17. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    If AP still has any 'permanent' staff who are in a company pension scheme, I advise them to watch its management very carefully - and also check any employer contributions made (or not made) in recent months.

    Hopefully the familiar names will survive the change of ownership, and given what the Editor has confirmed about the average age of AP's readers, I look forward to the first cruise holiday or camper van hire advertisement when such things resume again. More seriously, has AP ever considered discussing advertising with organisations like SAGA, who would specifically be looking for this demographic?

    I suspect the new owners will want to target the more affluent members of that demographic with a significant disposable income (to attract the advertising), since there probably isn't any way to attract younger readers with similar funds to a printed magazine.

    As other Forum members have noted in the past, AP's long-term subscribers are unlikely to be amongst its younger readers.
    But they are likely to be its most loyal purchasers.
     
  18. Nigel_Atherton

    Nigel_Atherton Group Editor

    Thanks for the advice about pensions.
    Thanks for the SAGA suggestion. But given that there are thousands of specialist magazines, and most have the same demographic as AP, advertisers cant be in all of them so would need to be confident that photographers have a particular relevance to their products that gardeners, boat owners and railway enthusiasts, for example, do not. We'll learn more about the new owner's apporach to advertisng in due course.
     
  19. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I am not sure what you mean. Based on their latest accounts, Kelsey do not have a defined benefit pension scheme.
     
  20. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    But possibly a 'money purchase' one, as has been the case for many companies for some years? My point is that if the company offers any scheme to its employees, there is usually a contribution from both employees and employers, but the latter is subject to abuse.
     
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