The State of the Magazine Industry

Figures from the PPA indicate that the print circulation of magazines is fast decreasing, with the main emphasis now being placed on online content. This is not just a fact for the magazine industry, but most of the print industry itself. Despite this proliferation of web content, which can be hugely successful (see Top Gear Magazine); there is still a healthy audience that enjoys buying niche and high-brow print products.

An example of this within the film genre is Little White Lies. Designed by the Church of London, the magazine prides itself on:

“Each issue of the magazine dedicates its entire front section to an upcoming theatrical release, drawing inspiration from the themes and visual tone of the carefully selected film.”

Whereas Sight & Sound, which is designed by the same company (Church of London), focuses on a similar high level of analysis- reviewing not only the mainstream films but also limited art house releases. This combined with their more analytical sections of the film industry itself cater for a more ‘educated’ audience who have a keen interest in film. Figures from 2015 suggest the magazine sold an average of 16,623, down 6.4% from the previous year. This is a respectable number when Future Publishing’s Total Film, was down 12.7% to a combined 58,916 (including 11,429 digital).

 

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A typical Sight & Sound publication

 

However, it is important to remember that these are more niche publication and are not intended for mainstream consumption. In comparison, Empire and Total Film are produced and designed for an audience who enjoys cinema but only wants to read about the latest Hollywood releases. The images they use on their cover are far more likely to be a promotional image rather than a custom designed one. The features inside may also include interviews with mainstream actors, rather than some of the more obscure directors they may feature in Sight & Sound.

Either way, both of these publications act as a good promotional tool for the film or director that is on the cover. In both cases, this will create a symbiotic relationship with both the publisher and the production company as they both seek to profit from this relationship. The magazine sells copies by riding off the back of the popularity of the text they are advertising, whilst the film itself gets extra exposure from featuring in this magazine.

Therefore, it is clear to me that by producing a magazine cover for Sight & Sound for our film, we must create something that is of a more sophisticated quality for an audience that has a deeper interest and understanding of film. This will act as a good promotional tool for both our film and the Sight & Sound publication itself.

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