View Poll Results: Is there need for a local photography magazine?

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  • YES!!!

    77 61.11%
  • NO!!!

    49 38.89%
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Thread: Is there need for a local photography magazine?

  1. #21
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    Originally posted by jasphotography
    See, now I can't stop...
    so don't lah! keep going!!!

  2. #22
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    hi all.

    I have survived both the Photo Asia magazine (which I still have old copies of) as well as the more recent asiaphoto.com website.

    Speaking from some nominal experience in publishing, I can tell you that what makes a magazine is advertising. If it were not for advertising, you would probably be looking at a cost-to-reader of about $15-20 /issue. Would any of you pay that price for a local pub on photography?

    That's where both pubs met their demise... a lack of advertisers. That's hardly surprising given how small the local market is in this arena. You could probably count less than 20 importers of equipment and maybe another 50 photographers who may advertise. (Maybe not... photographers reach out to potential clients, not other photographers) Count how many ads are required to keep a typical Female magazine alive.

    I would have thought that asiaphoto.com (I hope thats the url I recall correctly) actually had something going by having it online. And even then, it folded eventually (thats what I know?).

    Forums like clubsnap are probably as good as it gets in this tiny market really. Maybe the closest thing one can have is the Photo.net format. Just maybe if you try and do one for Singapore and Malaysia you may survive. Though I think Photo Asia magazine did try that.

    If any of you can make a magazine work in this market, you have my appreciation of the effort.

    p/s Start asking around the shops for advertising... you may get an idea how difficult it is to secure it. Esp. since each ad. incl. of production cost will be at least $5-8k minimum. If you were the TCW, already established in this tiny market, what is the merit of advertising in a local photo mag?
    Last edited by Keltzar; 26th May 2003 at 07:40 PM.

  3. #23
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    I think Keltzar has made a good point on advertising. It is really difficult to do it w/o advertising. If u have advertising, then u are beholden to the advertisers and their products, u may end up with a mag that is product reviews all over

    If it is an independent mag, then the story maybe different. But how many mag are out there claiming to be independent honest publisher of opinions/technics and equipment? Again

  4. #24
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    Originally posted by jeff chen
    I think Keltzar has made a good point on advertising. It is really difficult to do it w/o advertising. If u have advertising, then u are beholden to the advertisers and their products, u may end up with a mag that is product reviews all over

    If it is an independent mag, then the story maybe different. But how many mag are out there claiming to be independent honest publisher of opinions/technics and equipment? Again
    /me clear throat and pulls out dusty old Advertising text from poly days...

    that's the dillemma of advertising revenue vs. editorial integrity. every single newspaper, publication, magazine and print title faces this vicious cycle - the magazine needs to stay on the good side of advertisers to survive and profit, but in the long run, if the mag is too advertiser-focused (like many mags i know), the magazine ultimately suffers as the reputation drops (to be known as a advertising rag) and readership drops. i've been in the industry long enough to have experienced it for myself first-hand, and i've been in the situation before where i had to make a judgment call (several times actually) as to whether we should run a story which might irritate a big advertiser or feature more of advertisers' products and services.

    IMHO, the trick is balance - maintain a good mixture of advertising-generating content and good editorial write-ups to appeal to readers. the advertisers get the exposure they need, readers get the information and articles they want to read and the magazine maintains a reasonable level of profitability. of course that's easier said than done and the profitability-integrity line is a damn fine one to walk, but i do believe, with enough passion and belief in the strength of the publication, it can be done.

    ok i think i rattled on enough. back to what you wanna read in such a theoratical magazine title pls...

  5. #25
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    If u have advertising, then u are beholden to the advertisers and their products, u may end up with a mag that is product reviews all over
    I agree, usually advertisers will want a "free" review of their products ....

    I think the magazine should target a broad base audience in order to "sell" not just to readers but advertisers. It should cover contents that are interesting to newbies as well as professionals, film as well as digital.

    I think if you make it a quaterly publication, there will be a pool of advertisers ... ranging from shops to manufacturers ... this will need some convincing though ... with regards to potential readership.

  6. #26
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    back to what you wanna read in such a theoratical magazine title pls...
    Do a summary of all the contents in Clubsnap ...

  7. #27
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    Originally posted by Larry
    so don't lah! keep going!!!
    Ideas come with a premium too!
    Last edited by jasphotography; 26th May 2003 at 10:19 PM.

  8. #28

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    After sleeping on it overnight, and reading the new replies, here are my additional brain farts.

    Appealing to the widest possible audience is probably good for circulation, but it gets really tiring when you have to cover the basics nearly every issue to explain what a circular polariser does, effect of f-stop etc just so newbies don't get lost.

    Of course its not like New Scientist or Economist where the audience should know the concepts and theories (and if they don't understand the article its really their fault isn't it? )

    Computer Times almost has the right balance of casual reader articles like (outdated) product reviews to boring (at least to me) specialised stuff about networks, e-commerce etc. So in this case they appeal to both extremes of readership (middle managers who make purchase decisions and newbies). CT know the middle ground will do their own research and don't think very highly of CT anyway.

    So anway here are my proposed sections, pitched at the middle ground, and intentionally alienating newbies who want to know which is the best camera:
    1. Interview with a pro, covering the type of work they do and the process they go through to take a picture (visualisation etc). Avoid talk about equipment as far as possible.

    2. Locations to shoot in Sg, Asia, World. Try for more unique perspectives rather than usual touristy view.

    3. Related to 2 is a sort of travelogue. At SEED we often meet people who have come back from Nepal, Tibet, China, Pahang etc. Ideally they can contribute a photo or two (credited of course) and a write up of their trip.

    3a. Publishing pictures by aspiring amateurs could help them get noticed. (Or just result in additional work for the staff sifting through thousands of mediocre holiday snaps)

    4. Regular columns/ soapboxes where staff writers and comment, gripe, praise, promote etc.

    5. Monthly contests/ homework assignments are a good idea to get readers involved I think. Vividlight's monthly contest has a couple rolls of Fuji film as a prize.

  9. #29
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    As a hobbyist, I would love to see a local magazine, especially one that show shooting location within reach. Most of the foreign magazine shows places that is "out of reach" to most.

    This will be a major selling selling point at least to me. A few "standard photo" and how to get there will be good. Maybe included a few tour agency that specialised in this kind of tour.

    As a friend, i would advise you to do all the sum before taking that big step. As some pointed out, getting people to advertise might be a problem. The community in Singapore is not big enough to support the magazine.

    If you need to branch out to more, countries like taiwan, hongkong and china came to mind. However, I belive chinese is still the main language used in publication there. So, a bit of problem.

    To tell you a bit of the story of a local mag,

    I used to be into aqua-planting a few years ago. A hobbyist, James started a mag about aqua-planting. He didn't started his own articles. He merely translated a very famous Jap version to english version with a bit of his "own" articles.

    Everyone in the local scene who knew about it was very excited. We couldn't understand all the parameter abd equipment used in the Jap version.

    The 1st issue, due to some problem, was delayed by almost 1 year. This is after they started collecting subscription for the 1 year issue. This did piss off some but most was accomdating given this is a local mag for all the hobbyist.

    Finally, the first two issue is out after much delay. The photo was very nice on glossy paper. However, the bindin of the book is not too good. Complains flooded in again.

    This poor mag, despite it outstanding content and reasonable price, make it to just 6 issue. I still have the few copy that is on sale then.

    Just a few thoughts to make you think more.

    Finally, I would love to see a local mag on photography.

  10. #30
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    Larry, clearing me throat also...

    Here's my reply to your textbook example of balancing editorial integrity and being beholden to advertisers.

    It is fine to say a balance can be struck, I have no doubt that happens in theory, but in real life, as pointed out by yourself, easier said than done.

    Why?

    Because it depend how "solid" is your mag contents. If yr mag sells w/o advertising, then u have the upper hand. In fact, if yr mag is so well received, I am sure advertisers will flock to advertise, and u don't need to solicit for adverts.

    However, if u start off, u are unlikely to gain this upper hand. Cause reputation and awareness takes some to create, so u may have to bend over to what the advertisers want. Otherwise, u have to raise money independently.

    Just my 2 cents worth...

    Don't get me wrong, I am not a detractor of this effort, just want u to be informed of all the perils of starting a local mag...but anyway

  11. #31

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    How to get a local photography magazine to sell ? Put in Pictures of topless women and categorize them as "Glamour" shots.

  12. #32
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    Originally posted by reno77
    How to get a local photography magazine to sell ? Put in Pictures of topless women and categorize them as "Glamour" shots.
    sorry that method already patented by Singapore FHM...

  13. #33
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    We should try to get some local photographers to do a column, for free. Some I'm sure even professional ones wouldn't mind helping out with some great shot printed free. Similarly, for new, budding shooters, a column showing a few "best picture of the month" kind of thing with sponsored prizes is also good.

    Reviews? As previously said, issues like integrity is involved...

    PS I wonder if Geoff Ang reads this site? I'm very impressed with his work. See it at his site. Lots of glamour shots...
    Last edited by Watcher; 30th May 2003 at 01:10 PM.

  14. #34
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    upz...

  15. #35
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    Upz for Larry and his idea of a local photography mag!

    More ideas anyone?

  16. #36
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    Reality check gentlemen.

    I would draw some serious conclusions from Photo Asia. That was regional, that folded.

    I wouldn't draw any direct conclusions from Asiaphoto.Com. There are too many unique reasons as to its "death" for it to be a proper example to draw conclusions from.

    Larry, forget editorial integrity. That's all well and good, but ultimately advertising is a huge portion of your income. I'm surprised that you of all people aren't more aware of this. I'm not saying bin editorial integrity, I'm saying keep it. But don't use it as an excuse to justify the intention of surviving with a reduction of advertising revenue, because it's not. Yes it can be done, easily. The better magazines do it with ease. Okay, the only magazine I consider worth reading does it with relative ease, a few others have since passed on (hmm...).

    Practicality. Do you have anyone who possess the necessary skill and expertise to run a magazine? I don't mean a top bloke, I mean the team. Serious shortfall in this area I believe.

    Survivability. You have to target an area of the market that existing magazines don't already do because they cannot. Sure you have to do what they do as well, but you cannot realistically hope to compete and be better than them at what they do (news, reviews, techniques). You could be as good as them, but aside from patriotic fervour, there's unlikely to be a reason for them to buy yours over an established Western publication. And like it or not there is some strong pro-Western sentiment locally as well (Western publications are better, Western photographers are better).

    So as mentioned you have to provide something the other magazines don't. What? For starters, shooting location guides. Good places to shoot in and around the local region, which Western magazines cannot provide. Consider developing as part of the magazine a healthy extra-curricular setup. Common outings, discounts for subscribers at local shops, studio sessions, discounts for a series of talks and lectures and lessons - all of which you'd have to organise in the first place.

    Like I said, think different. If you just strive to do what the other magazines do only with an Asian flavour, you won't survive. People would rather read about Heather Angel or Art Wolfe than local professional wildlife snapper XYZ or TAK. They might be every bit as good, or not, but the fact remains that reputation sticks. So you have to be different.

    Run competitions, prizes, print readers pictures for money. But you need to sort the capital out first. But these things are essential - they offer something else the normal magazines don't. They offer the same yes, but because they're based in the US of A or the UK or wherever, it's not often people take advantage of them. Take my recent windfall

    As for good magazines to draw from, I would recommend Professional Photographer and Outdoor Photograph(er/y) (can't remember which is which, but the British one, not the American one). And that's about it really.

  17. #37
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    why not just run a free newsletter first? we got CS to host it...
    I like the location thing a lot... I'm sure there are contributors who can write as well as shoot... esp Amous' avatar
    "I'm... dreaming... of a wide... angle~
    Just like the ones I used to know~"

  18. #38
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    Yes, maybe an electronic newsletter wld be a good place to start. With e-newsletter, u don't have to incur cost to print and distribute, though I recognise there will be other cost.

    Try to start small, see what readers like, then move on to a larger scale project and charge money for it. Just my 2 cents worth again.

  19. #39

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    My company produces a magazine.. advertising dollars are becoming increasingly difficult..

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Is there need for a local photography magazine?

    Prove the user base by starting a clubsnap fanzine. Info by members, for general consumption. Funding and distro are issues...
    Learning DSLR control http://stormtrigger.blogspot.com/

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