A profile in last weekend's Guardian about the Canadian-born magazine maven Tyler Brûlé contains a few insights and a useful roundup of what makes the publisher of both Wallpaper* and Monocle both successful and a "punctilious tastemaker" and has seen him branch out into radio and retail. (I have some reservations about any article so precious it uses "aghast" twice, but there you are...)
Brûlé says he's selling more than 70,000 copies of Monocle at £6 each. According to ABC, who audit these things, 11,000 sell at newsstands and 2,000 by subscription in the UK, while the rest go abroad.
Last year he founded a 24-hour digital radio station which seems to want to be a baumkuchened*-up Radio 4 and although it has not yet achieved anything like the depth, you can hear the aspiration. Add a biannual newspaper and a global chain of shops selling the accessories for a Monocle-based life, and you get a picture of the Brûlé empire.
It's all based on a philosophy that runs counter to prevailing thought in the media. "It didn't make sense to us to give away our journalism for free. But we did have to think: 'How do we add value online?' We started with video then it became radio, but it couldn't replicate what we were doing in print."
*A reference to a type of cake that figured in the article. I told you it was a bit precious.
Photo by Suki Dhanda, Observer
Labels: magazine profiles