Private Frazer’s Doomed Magazines

March 17, 2008

Finances in Wonderland?

Filed under: Chair by the door,consumer magazines — privatefraser @ 9:47 am

The attached puff piece in The Guardian about Wonderland magazine (you know, the one on Dragon’s Den) caught Frazer’s eye this morning because certain bits of it don’t seem to add up. “International expansion”, “survived and prospered”, “burgeoning publishing empire” combined with what the writer implies is a need for cash.

Perhaps the key paragraph is this one: “Although both titles are filled with an impressive array of advertising …, the last accounts filed by Visual Talent show that it had less than
£70,000 in the bank.”

And the claimed sale of 80,000 (“half of them overseas”)? With no ABC return it’s impossible to be definitive, but have you ever seen a copy of it? Anywhere?

Buyer needed! And in this climate? Perhaps another impossible thing before breakfast.


  1. I agree with a lot of your points but as a matter of fact I have seen it – in WH Smith in Cardiff, and pretty recently too. That said, we all know what “overseas sales” means, do we not? I bought a very early issue and also the first issue of Man About Town, which seems rather a waste of nice paper, but what do I know? My students had to tell me who Ryan Phillipe was.

    Comment by Tim Holmes — March 18, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  2. Overseas sales figures are always good for a wee chortle. There’s a good piece and some comments about this on a recent Roy Greenslade post:

    Comment by privatefraser — March 18, 2008 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  3. Hi from New York.

    When I first saw a copy of Wonderland, I took it for yet another indie mag following the same formula:

    1. Do your best to make a big impression with expensive printing gimmickry and art direction.
    2. Woo some dumb investor to eventually come along and be so smitten with your obvious cool cred, that he snatches up your title for some insane price.
    Hopefully this would happen before your funds ran out.
    3. Cash the check and ride out.

    Meanwhile all the talent (editors, stylists, writers, designers and photogs) might never see a check but have some clips to proffer.

    It’s a tired formula that too many indie mags have copied to varying effect. Although a number of innovative titles have made it happen, I still see a host of gorgeous books with nothing to offer their market. They’re destined to fold.

    Comment by Blake's Baby — March 19, 2008 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  4. ISeen it in lots of WHSmiths all over London. Get out from in front of your screen once in a while.

    Comment by David Shields — March 25, 2008 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

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