Digital Publishing
4 mins read

Q&A: The launch of the International Magazine Centre

Founded by ex-PPA Scotland employee and magazine enthusiast Nikki Simpson, The International Magazine Centre is a hub for the international magazine community and its affiliated industries of marketing, advertising, design, photography, journalism, data, events, illustration and more. Globally unique, the Centre will connect international publishers, sharing expertise, creating jobs, supporting internationalisation, nurturing talent, promoting magazine innovation, inspiring consumers and celebrating the eclectic world of magazines. WNIP caught up with Nikki Simpson to find out more..

Can you give us a background to the International Magazine Centre?

The Centre was born out of the global marketing opportunity that the Scottish referendum offered, together with a need to connect internationally. Since then, we’ve conducted a feasibility study, built partnerships and grown the idea to a solid long-term initiative – to open a centre, ideally by 2022, focusing on all-things-magazine.

Once open this will incorporate office space, incubator space for new publishers and graduates, hot desking, and space reserved for international publishers thinking of branching into the UK; research and training conducted in partnership with publishers and international universities; an events space and programme for and from publishers and affiliated industries; a diverse and international magazine shop alongside a café; and an exhibition space to celebrate and promote all these industries to consumers. It has has been set up as a limited company by guarantee.

What practical business problems is the International Magazine Centre addressing?

Successful magazine publishers need to consistently innovate to thrive. They need inspiration that they can take back and use in their own businesses, on limited resources; international networking opportunities to expand their circulation and work collaboratively to create new products of global appeal; and affordable training that talks to every part of the business. This applies to the whole magazine industry – the large corporates, SMEs, not-for-profits, passion projects or personal content marketing.

The supply and demand of the industry is a huge challenge – budding magazine publishers need to be nurtured and given the confidence to enter the industry knowing that there’ll be a job to go to, and consumers need to be inspired to read and buy both established and new magazines.

How specifically will the International Magazine Centre help?

The International Magazine Centre will inspire publishers through global events accessed both in person and digitally, and through accessible stories of innovation. The Centre will connect international publishers to learn from each other and collaborate, as well as dedicated office space for those launching in the UK.

We’ve created a Licensing Hub for publishers wishing to license their content in other territories. We’re working with Edinburgh Napier University to create a low-barrier-to-access training course focussing on Revenue, Audience and Content.

The Centre will offer incubator space for new publishers and graduates, sabbaticals for international publishers and research projects on how magazines have reflected and influenced society. Our shop will offer a diverse selection covering local and international, consumer and B2B, niche and mainstream, commercial and not-for-profit titles. Our exhibitions will be consumer targeted and will celebrate the wonderful world of magazes.

Although the Centre itself will be in Scotland, we’re translating everything possible from the physical space into a digital space, so that the Centre is useful no matter where you are – the Licensing Hub, training courses, inspiration from publishers, events broadcast in real time or available to view on demand, the shop and exhibitions, resources for new publishers, all will be available online.

Who is supporting the initiative?

We’re delighted to say that the number of supporters of the International Magazine Centre is growing daily. We have support from trade associations including FIPP, the Global Editors Network, PPA, the IPA, the Marketing Society, and more; from independent magazine enthusiasts Stack, Media Voices and MagCulture; from dozens of magazine publishers including The Drum, Newsquest and DC Thomson; from Edinburgh Napier and Glasgow universities; and from several suppliers to the industry.


You can be a Patron of the International Magazine Centre from as little as $1 a month:

What are other people doing in the space and why?

Trade associations are fantastic at supporting their membership, but sometimes don’t have the resources to connect with consumers. Similarly, their main focus will always need to be their key members, which sometimes leaves behind the more independent companies who are unable to afford membership. The International Magazine Centre is open to all sizes of business and will have a consumer focus as well as a publisher one.

How do you view the future?

We’re a not-for-profit organisation so funding is a priority for the Centre – if you’re able to pledge by becoming a Patron you’ll be a part of building an incredible support system for the industry. We’re focusing on ways to connect internationally through our Licensing Hub, events and professional development. We’re planning pop-up International Magazine Centres at international centres of cultural interest and, of course, we’re on the look-out for suitable venues in Scotland for the Centre itself.

Anything else we should know?

Visit our Support page to see how you can back the International Magazine Centre, spread the word or get involved.

Thank you. We wish you the very best of luck with this important initiative.

Download WNIP’s comprehensive new report—50 Ways to Make Media Pay—an essential read for publishers looking at the multiple revenue opportunities available, whether it’s to reach new audiences or double down on existing super-users. The report is free and can be downloaded here.

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