What kind of media institution might distribute your media product?
The type of company that distributes your magazine tells a lot about the type of product that it is, what values and messages it contains, who the audience are and how important profit is to your product and your company.
There are two types of distribution network; Major and Independent.
Major distribution strategies aim to saturate the market, both home and abroad, by promoting their magazine in major retail stores such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and HMV.
As their product is massed produced they are able to sell their magazine at a lower price, invest in new artists for their covers and provide freebies and competitions which will attract a larger audience to their magazine therefore selling more magazines and making more money, something that major distribution companies strive for. The four main distributors for the magazine industry are Marketforce, Comag, Frontline and Seymour.
To gain more information about major distribution companies and their ways of distribution I researched Frontline.
Frontline was formed in June 1986 by the magazine publisher Emap (now Bauer Media) in order to handle the demands of their expanding circulation department.
Frontline has four main partners; Seymour, Haymarket, BBC Enterprises and H Bauer publishing. This increases market share and dominates the industry, providing many different sources of revenue and more profits for the company.
Frontline sells and distributes over 160 magazine titles, including 54 of the top 200 best selling titles in the UK and by selling nearly 8 million copies every week, through over 55,000 shops ranging from the smallest corner store to the biggest hypermarket, makes them the biggest magazine distributor in the UK.
Frontline cater for all genres, from music to self help and for many different audiences. Popular, well known magazines that they distribute are; Heat, Bella, Kerrang! and Q
Frontline provide comprehensive Supply Chain support in the U.K. and Ireland extending from the new product launches and new issues to liaison with Printers and the management of Finishing, Transportation, Subscriptions, Export, Copy Management, Wholesalers, Statistical Analysis, and Supply Chain Development including retail service improvement.
Positives/Negatives about using major distribution companies
More magazines can be printed as there is a larger cash injection.
More money involved so larger printing numbers and advertising etc.
Larger target market as it is able to sell in larger retail stores.
Able to provide more services to appeal to the masses.
Able to get the best stars involved and able to have multi-platform consumption.
Generally aimed at young people, the group who by the most magazines.
Could be selling out.
Only interested in the money rather than the music.
All the artists are the out of the same generic mold
Brainwashing people into a certain way of thinking e.g. Feminism and Marxism would argue this.
Independent distribution companies have very different market and promoting their magazines than the major companies like Frontline. Whereas the major companies focus on profit, independent companies concentrate on the audience and the individuality of the magazine. They are small, maybe even home run and concentrate on distributing their magazines to urban, underground shops or online. In fact vice have their own television channel called VBS.tv - http://www.vbs.tv .
Whilst this limits the audience and the public knowledge of the magazine, by selling the magazine to a limited audience it weeds out the people who aren't really fans of the genre of type of magazine and allows die hard fans to keep up to date.
With the popularity of the Internet growing every year, the independent companies have used this to their advantage. Whereas as before breaking into an abroad market may have been almost impossible, yet with the help of the Internet fans from all over the world can access the magazine.
An example of independent magazine distribution is Vice.
Vice is a free magazine and media conglomerate founded in Montreal, Quebec and currently based in New York City. The magazine covers contemporary indie and youth culture. Vice is known for its controversial content and often strikes a sardonic and ironic pose on debauchery, sex, drugs, violence, crime, and social issues involving race and economic class.
Vice is available in 19 countries. Including Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. It is free and supports itself primarily through advertising. The current editor is Jesse Pearson in the U.S. and Andy Capper in the UK.
When the editors wanted to break free of their commitments with the original publisher, Alix Laurent, they bought him out and changed the name to Vice in 1996. In search of more streetwear advertising income, they moved to New York City in 1999. Today, the magazine has over 900,000 readers across 22 different countries
Vice know branches into other media platforms such as clothing, TV shows and films, record labels and even it's own pub called 'The Old Blue Last' in South London.
Vice distributes their magazines mainly online and through some select independent record stores such as Tempest and Studio 4 in Birmingham. As they don't worry about profit margins or making money they are not afraid to do something different even if it may offend some people.
Their marketing program is much the same as the major companies but on a much smaller scale. The majority of Vice readers are male, aged between 21-30 and are generally big spenders yet are loyal and trustworthy customers who like to be involved with the bands and the making of the magazine as well as finding out about the band first rather than the music.
Examples of Vice magazine;
My Magazine Distributor
My magazine is going to be based on the rock/indie genre, with an audience profile of C2/D on the Jicnars scale and a psychografic profile of hedonists, radicals and post modernists.
I would like my magazine to appeal to both male and females, therefore a more mainstream audience, and from previous research I have discovered that there is a gap in the market for a magazine that aims to make rock/indie music more cool and appeal to a wider audience.
Therefore I will challenge this dominant ideal of Indie/rock magazines being distributed by Independent distributors. To do this I would want it to be sold in more mainstream shops such as Tesco and HMV rather than select specialist stores as it provides a bigger shop window for my magazine to be marketed from.
Also I would like my magazine to be assessable using multi-platform consumption e.g. websites (www.unplugged.co.uk) and clothing ranges. This allows the wider audience to sample the product even if they haven't brought the magazine.
Although my magazine is of Indie/Rock genre I will be distributing my magazine using a major distributor such as Frontline. This would provide a larger audience for my magazine and keep the audience up to date with all aspects of Indie/Rock music and also it will allow my magazine to charge a larger advertising revenue which therefore allows me to spend more on promoting and getting bigger artists for my magazine. With this wide range of artists there will be something for everyone.