Events: A new take on the business of magazines


Interview with Oswin Tickler of Chanced Arm and Lydia Garnett from Accent.

Putting on events is nothing new for publishers or magazines, but magazines are relying on them increasingly. Up until the last decade, the magazine business was particularly profitable. Now, in the digital age, sales are not what they once were - print circulations of even the largest magazines have been falling since the early 2000s. This has not stopped new independent magazines from launching, however, and these new publications rely on a new form of revenue stream - events.

Accent Live! at Fred Perry

Accent Live! at Fred Perry

Accent magazine “sells more copies at events than anywhere else,” explains its founder, Lydia Garnett. Accent also relied on events to establish themselves, “Accent was online for 5 years. We established a big network and created content based on events, workshops and talks. These events also helped connected with our audience,” says Lydia. As well as selling copies events are organized “to create a general community, thanking contributors” believes Oswin Tickler, founder of Chanced Arm, is a Magazine designed in 24 hours, with crowd sourced content and printed in two colours. Oswin explains that “Chanced Arm has only done one event, where we didn’t make money. It was more about thanking contributors and connecting readers to the magazine. Plus, getting contributors for the future issues”.

Creating events helps publishers with revenue and creating a sense of community with the readers, but it is not an easy task especially on a small budget. Exposure and planning are key according to Lydia, “You don’t need a lot of money to create an event. You must build as much hype as possible Believing in your event and over selling it.”

Getting people to come is also a crucial component of a successful event. “Email and the magazine's website are a cheap way to contact people. RSVPs are a good way to know who is coming and make people feel like VIP’s,” says Oswin.

Networking is a main factor if you are considering to plan an even, Lydia explains. “It sounds obvious but at university I found a network of photographers, people who just want to party. People want to get involved. Publications are also glad to help if you seem professional and you know what they are about,”

Magazine publishers are now changing their businesses models. They are thinking more about events and their digital platforms. The print sales will continue to be developed but the focus is now more on their relationships with their readers, not the just magazine itself. Thanks to this change in attitude there might be reason to feel optimistic and see growth on the horizon for magazines in the future.

Natalie Lyddon