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Magazines are facing up to web challenge

With the Economist and others predicting the end of newspapers as we know them attention has been on the rush of announcements about the development of the news web offerings. There is the Telegraph’s sexy newsroom, The Times’s interesting appointments of new staff, Johnston Press’s multi-media newsrooms and more.

Amid all this it is easy to loose sight of what is happening to magazines which face similar problems with the migration of readers online. Because of the range of publications from expensive pictorial glossies to low-cost celeb weeklies, from hobby monthlies to literary journals it is much more difficult to categorise the trends in periodicals.

Generally, they are also faced with coping with the move of advertising which is following readers online. Like newspapers, magazines have to beef-up their web sites to survive.

And that makes two appointments this week significant. FHM has suffered a far worse circulation drop than any newspaper, losing almost a quarter of its circulation, falling to just over 420,000 in the last ABCs. Gary Broughton, is being given greater authority with the new title of digital director of FHM International which now has 30 editions, with launches in Bulgaria and Serbia (via Press Gazette).

Another EMAP men’s title Arena recently launched a blog which allows the reader to choose which of four glamour pictures to have in the background. Not only that, you can turn off the text entirely. Now, that is innovative.

Over at IPC, Neil Robinson has been given the new role of digital development director. Robinson who moves up from publishing director of TVTimes, TV and Satellite Week and Soaplife will “lead the strategic development of all new digital properties across the IPC portfolio” according to Press Gazette.

Robinson goes back much further than most in the online revolution having launched nme.com in 1996.

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