Media entrepreneur and editor-in-chief of achingly hip Monocle, Tyler Brule, is giving the humble old newsagent a face-lift and hints he could be bringing his news outlets-cum-cafes, called Kioskafes, to Australia.
The media mogul has been very busy of late, with a Monocle spin-off called The Escapist, launching in two weeks and his first Kioskafe’ (part glam newsagent/part cafe) opening in London’s Paddington next month. And, he says, he’s eyeing-up the Australian market because our newsagents are, basically, all a bit crap.
“You go into lots of newsagencies in Australia,” Brule told B&T, “and it’s not a very nice experience. They haven’t changed for decades and that’s not in a good way. I’m not saying everything needs to evolve, but they’re just run-down, they’re tired looking.”
He cited another main reason for launching the fancy new newsagent cafes is because distribution is becoming difficult and, with Kioskafés, they’re demonstrating that concept.
“We feel that we almost need to make a bit of a political statement,” explained Brule, “and say, ‘look, if we really believe in print then you can love magazines and newspapers all you like, but if there’s not going to be a great environment to buy them in, there’s not much of a future.
“We feel it’s also our mission as publishers to correct that and to deliver something new and that’s the Kioskafé, with great selection of print, obviously, as the name implies, and great coffee. We see a big core of that audience being people who are traveling who are, whether it’s long haul, or whether they’re just commuting home. It’s to also have a good travel offer as part of the mix as well, meaning essentials for people who are traveling.”
Brule said that although the Kioskafés won’t be branded by Monocle, they’ll still have that high-end, luxury feet the brand is renowned for, but want to remain neutral to give other publishers a chance to put their mastheads out.
“You might see promotion from Monocle and things in the environment,” he explained, “but it’s not going to be a Monocle cafe per se because we wouldn’t like our own editorials being run out of such an environment.”
His other new venture, The Escapist, which will reportedly cost around $30 in Australia, will of course be stocked in his Kioskafés. “We have to go into the mindset of who this core customer is,” he added. “This is someone who is international, they’re out traveling. They want a selection of the surprising and new but also presented with the things they love. They might read the Economist, but their guilty pleasure is Grazia.”
When asked what Brule’s guilty pleasure is he laughed, “I like to read something really geeky like Flight International, which is a total plane spotters’ weekly. Which is something we will also stock as well.”
With the first Kioskafé opening in the third week of August, Brule said the next two, which they’re treating as “labs” will swiftly follow in south-east Asia and North America, and then he plans to license them globally.