If you asked the average businessperson “Is launching a new magazine in 2017 a good idea?”, you’d almost certainly get a definitive “no” – perhaps a “definitely no”. It is usually then followed by “the magazine industry is in decline, and will never recover”. Looking at the news headlines and broad statistics, that’s a reasonable conclusion too.
So, why is a high school dropout launching a new title, into a category that hasn’t seen a locally-produced addition in 30 years?
“It’s part passion, part business” said Rob Bell, the man behind the launch of DIYODE magazine. The new publication has been designed to cater to the passions of DIY hobby electronics and gadget-building (also referred to as ‘makers’).
“It is true that as a whole, you can conclude that magazine sales are in decline. However, most niche magazines do not follow the same pattern,” Bell said.
“Most of the statistical decline can be attributed to the larger magazines such as Women’s Weekly or Woman’s Day. Their statistics, which show a decline of five to 10 per cent, tend to skew the overall numbers. They’re in decline. However, niche titles that cater to specific interests, are soaring.
“Of course, we also cannot disregard digital publications. I’m not going to say things aren’t moving to digital, but a printed magazine is still preferred by over 60 per cent of our pre-launch subscribers, suggesting our dual-strategy of print and digital offerings makes excellent sense right now.
“Now, this is an entirely new publication. Maybe people won’t like our content or our colours, or maybe we totally misread the demand, but there’s only one way to find out for sure.”
Bell said DIYODE has had an impressive response for its pre-launch.
“Despite still being weeks away from releasing our first issue, we’ve received thousands of pre-orders and subscriptions, and thousands of newsletter subscribers are keen to see what we’re going to deliver,” he said.
“Advertiser support has also been very promising, with some relevant retailers selling our magazine in their stores to compliment our direct and newsagent distribution. We have had very promising commitments from retailers in this unique space.”
Jaycar Electronics Group is one such retailer. Murray Roberts, communications manager at Jaycar, said: “We’re excited to see another magazine on our shelves that supports electronics and maker enthusiasts. We’ve seen Arduino take the world by storm, so it’s great to see an Australian magazine dedicated to this maker phenomenon.”
Altronics Distributors is also supporting DIYODE. Ben Lowe, marketing and website manager at Altronics, said: “It’s high time Australian makers had their own publication, and Altronics is thrilled to be supporting a magazine that represents a new generation of electronics builders.”