While the magazine industry is a dynamic one, media commentators say now is not a good time to start a new publication. However, Michele Lupini, owner and publisher of AutoWeek disagrees.
“With the right support, you can do great things,” says Lupini, who has taken the leap and started an auto focused magazine but done so with a fresh take on traditional publishing. Glossy magazines, printed on heatset printers are the style and norm of most magazines, while coldset printing is traditionally that of newspaper and retail inserts.
Lupini saw a gap, an opportunity to change the way coldset printing is viewed and that of how to produce a successful, quality publication. This vision was shared by his support team at Paarl Media, one of South Africa’s most technologically advanced professional printing groups.
“The biggest challenge is the needed shift in thinking for our advertisers,” says Lupini. Never before had what by all accounts should have been a traditional glossy magazine, been printed in the same way that newspapers are printed and this has posed a number of challenges.
“It hasn’t been an easy ride but we know it works and we’ve proven it works,” says Lupini. To this end according to the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations SA), AutoWeek was up 40% year-on-year in the 4th quarter of 2013 to 12 438 copies sold, while the always more difficult 1st quarter saw the publication up again, this time by 30% to 10 225 copies sold.
AutoWeek due to its affordable price, appeals to an emerging and aspirational market, a market who reads printed material as opposed to digital content but still values current and relative information.
As consumers seek content, they are often met with the challenge of finding local content, relevant to their unique needs; this is particularly true when searching online for motoring content. “Content is king and AutoWeek plays perfectly in the gap between the internet and the glossies — it’s all about immediacy,” says Lupini.
Conrad Rademeyer, Managing Director: Coldset at the Paarl Media Group said: “There is more to Paarl Media than just our technology. It is in our approach, commitment, willingness to listen and leverage our technology, skills and resources that were all factors in executing the new vision for AutoWeek.
“There is no doubt that a place will always exist for the print medium, the format in which this medium is enjoyed may change and shift to meet the needs of the readers but whether printed in high gloss or on the same printer as the daily paper, AutoWeek has found a comfortable place to call home in the hands of consumers seeking great content at a reasonable price,” concludes Lupini.