When I look back to when Air Business first started distributing for the publishing industry in 1986, magazine brands were exactly what they said on the tin; brands of printed publications. Whilst names of glossy titles have always been hugely iconic and influential in popular culture, their existence as physical objects was very much confined to the world of print magazines only.
Fast forward to 2018 and this is no longer the case. At Air Business, we are now supporting many of our publishing clients as they leverage their brands and expand these into other specialist areas such as selling products online. For example, we have helped Time Inc. UK as it steps into the world of online retail, taking care of the fulfilment and distribution for its specialist subscription boxes. Since then, we have experienced a considerable influx in the number of publishers seeking our help for the physical fulfilment and distribution of products they are selling under the banner of their magazine brands.
Another trend I have witnessed is an increasing number of publishers seeking our freight-handling services for their exhibitions and conferences. Indeed, aside from selling physical products under their brands, publishers are also bringing their titles to life through events in a whole host of areas; ranging from travel and beauty to science and business. This is just another way in which magazine titles have expanded beyond the realms of printed paper and permeated deeper into the lives of their readers. As David Gilbertson, ex-CEO of Informa, once said to me; “we just want to concentrate on writing and selling; everything else is up for grabs.”
The ripple effects of such changes seem to have been felt throughout many publishing houses. Besides their actual printed magazines, which are of course still very important assets, publishers now have many other areas to focus on which, it seems, is leading to a greater amount of outsourcing. At Air Business, we have particularly noticed a rise in the number of publishers outsourcing their print management and print on demand requirements to us simply because of the added pressures on resources they are facing as a result of diversification.
It is now widely acknowledged in the world of publishing that pushing magazine brands into new lifestyle areas can really resonate with readers and strengthen their brand loyalty. Supporting publishers in extending their brand is something I am incredibly passionate about. In the same way that publishers now do far more than sell magazines, we do far more than just distribute them. In Air Business, you truly have a partner to help you grow your magazine brand beyond its original print product.
“Publishers are also bringing their titles to life through events in a whole host of areas.”