“The publication of various forms of leisure reading, including picture books, song books, news sheets and calendars, was commonplace throughout the 18th century.
However, the term magazine is generally acknowledged to have come into usage with the publication in the 1730s of the Gentleman’s Magazine by Edward Cave. Its aim was to entertain with stories of crime and romance. It soon proved popular, not just for sale but for rental in public houses, coffee houses and barber shops.
The Lady’s Magazine, a female counterpart, was quickly published, and magazines began to establish themselves as demand for the new style of publication increased. The early magazines did not confine themselves to leisure interests but were often political or religious in content. For example The Pennsylvanian, published in America, ran articles by Tom Paine calling for independence; later, in continental Europe, Novellas de la Republique des Letters espoused new political ideas that were considered a threat to the established social order.”
Taxes on knowledge’ The government of the time was so concerned about the power of the media to influence public taste and opinion that stamp duty was introduced in 1765 to curb the publication of printed sheets, and a tax was levied on advertisements in such publications. These sustained attempts to suppress the freedom of the press were met by large-scale avoidance of stamp duty, and the ‘taxes on knowledge’ were later removed over a period of years from 1853 to 1869. Curran and Seaton argue that this removal of constraints on the press was not inspired by a desire to provide diversity of opinion. Rather, it was a subtle means of linking the press to the social order which simply led to more efficient means of social control and the eventual demise of the radical press.
In any event, the press expanded, fuelled by a better-educated reading public, and magazines that were more affordable because printing technology allowed mass production. Taking their cue from America, British publishers produced all-fiction magazines such as Romantic Confessions and similar ‘penny dreadful’.
General interest magazines such as Answers, Tidbits (Tit Bits from all the Most Interesting Books, Periodicals and Contributors in the World), Home Chat, Comic Cuts and Pearson’s Weekly were also hugely popular. Early press barons like Northcliffe used the profits from their magazines to support their wider press interests as they built up their range of titles.
They also successfully exported news values between their magazine and newspaper interests. It was the early press barons who shaped the public taste for murder, mayhem and scandal as standard features of news content. Comic strips, an important feature of many early newspapers, clearly owe their origins to early comics and magazines.
Magazines since 1945 The end of the Second World War saw a further expansion of the market. New titles emerged to satisfy the needs of increasingly affluent consumers who now had business and technical interests as well as expanding leisure pursuits. Interestingly, the emerging broadcast media - particularly television - were accommodated by the magazine industry that began to produce publications which included listings, reviews and background material. Later spin-offs would include comics based on television characters, and magazines dedicated to specific topics or programmes such as BBC Wildlife and Gardener's World.
The key to success for the big companies is the advertising revenue generated by magazines, and the ability of specific interest magazines to provide clearly-defined target audiences. In 1999, ad spend in the British media amounted to £15.3 billion.
According to the Advertising Association the magazine sector accounted for 18.4%, so there is a lucrative market for publishers to exploit.
Not that there is complete freedom to publish any material that will make money: there are laws and regulations that affect magazines just are there are for other media forms.
The 1955 Children’s and Young Person’s Publication Act, The Obscene Publications Act, libel law, copyright law and advertising regulation all act as constraints or reminders for the publishing industry
There are several magazines, but I chose these ones because they are very famous and well known throughout the world
The 20th century The early 20th century saw new styles of magazine such as Reader’s Digest which included edited versions (digests) of articles and stories, and much later packaged these as part of a marketing operation that included record and book clubs. International editions followed the same formula, later developing subscription as a means of ensuring a place in the competitive magazine market.
Time and Newsweek were other American magazines with an enduring international appeal, like Life which traded on the quality of its pictures in a period when photography was accepted as an art form and photojournalism was regarded as a means of social commentary.
Life used the slogan: ‘To see life, to see the world; to witness great events; to watch the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud; to see strange things’. It had many imitators (or, perhaps more kindly, admirers) such as Picture Post and Illustrated in Britain and Paris Match and Stern in Europe.
Morethan any other fashion magazine, Vogue has come to represent the gold standard of publications targeting the stylish, culturally sophisticated woman.
From its inception in the late nineteenth century to the present, the magazine has served as a photographic and literary record of its readers lives— the liberated elite of the 1920s, the idealized housewives of the 1950s, the working everywoman of the 1970s, and today’s multiracial, indefinable woman.
Rizzoli’s In Vogue represents over 100 years worth of the magazine's most memorable images, and analyzes its influence on over a century of fashion.
Advantages and disadvantages of magazines
Reading magazines is a comfortable reading experience;
Magazines are taken more seriously by sources;