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Sustaining the Creative

Magazines in the Philippines: A

Case Study On Four Pop Culture

Sherina Lo
School of Design and Arts
De La Salle-College of Saint
agazines have: °°   °  °

0 Longer shelf-life ð

0 Higher readership ð
for past month vs. 

past week   ð

0 High pass-along   

0 Source: Nielsen ð
edia Index
 ð ð


Deadership of magazines °  

Target audience: 
0 ale & female 
0 Classes A,B,C

0 Ages 15+
0 etro la. & 

Urban Phil. 

0 Source: Nielsen
edia Index as of
year 2004
á  á   
0 sustainability of the pop culture magazines
0 Fudge agazine, published by Sesame Seed
Creatives; Pulp agazine, published by the
Fookien Times Yearbook Publishing Company.
0 Two defunct magazines: Burn magazine, a
music magazine published by Hinge Inquirer
Pulications; and Flip magazine, edited and
published by Jessica Zafra.
0 not published by the top three magazine
publishing companies in the Philippines
II. Statement of the Problem

0How do local pop culture magazines

survive amidst the competition set by
leading consumer magazines?
0What were the problems faced by
defunct pop culture magazines Flip
and Burn which lead to the folding up
of the magazine?


III. Aim of the Study
0 2 defunct magazines
± Flip, Burn
0 2 existing magazines
± Fudge, Pulp

0 To know the
success formula
of Fudge magazine
And Pulp magazine

0 Editorial philosophy, purpose, content,

0 Target audience
0 Coping strategies
0 Number of copies they print each month
0 Circulation, distribution process
0 arketing & promotional strategies they employ
0 Setbacks/problems they encounter
V. Significance of the study
0 Publishing is one of the sectors of the
creative industries. It generates jobs ±
editors, writers, photographers, graphic
artists, hairstylists, etc.
0 Arts gt. graduates can look forward to
jobs both in the editorial and business
aspect of magazines.
0 A guide for SDA graduates who would
want to produce their own pop culture or
design-related magazines
0 Circulation ± the total number of copies of a
publication delivered to newsstands and
0 Closed shop ± the magazine ceased publication
0 Pass-along households and readers ± the
number of homes or individuals in those
homes who are non-subscribers or non-
purchasers to a particular issue of
publication, but who receive the issues from
a primary or another secondary households
(4As edia Factbook 134).
Definition of terms
0 Date card ± the published costs of rates
for advertising in a vehicle that often
includes related information such as
mechanical requirements and cancellation
dates (4As edia Factbook 135).
0 Deadership - the number of people
estimated to have read the magazine and
includes pass-on readership.
0 Spread ± material spread over more than
one page and designed as a whole
IV. Background of the Study

0 Popular culture magazines capture

audience tastes¶ at this postmodern era.
Dichard Hogart, in his thesis on mass

(1957) draws this conclusion to the
modern reader: agazines are a vivid
snapshot of the times in which they were
produced; the essence of an era in print
0 Since 2005, more and more magazines are
being published. Paper is more expensive, and
some media experts say ³print is dead.´
agazines nowadays devote themselves to
specific themes.
ass media critic Stanley Baran (2007,
124) writes:

agazine specialization - demographically

similar readership of the publication
- target ads for their products and
services to those most likely to respond to
Fudge magazine

0 A monthly magazine published by Sesame Seed

Creatives, an independent company affiliated with
anila Bulletin
0 Analyzes pop culture phenomena in an
intellectually-enriching manner
ex: Darna, Club wah, cosplay
0 Features exciting, up-and-coming Filipino artists
(filmmakers, bands, graphic artists)
0 Fudge magazine celebrates their 4th year
anniversary ± August 2008
0 18-35 age group, belonging to Class A,B &
C1 with expendable income.
0 common Pinoy lifestyle preoccupations to
popular entertainment and everything in
0 voice of Fudge magazine is very hip;
coverage is presented in
post-modernist art and stunning
visual design
inspired by maverick publications in
Europe (Daygun),
Japan (Tokion),
and the US (Fader).
Music magazines Burn and Pulp
Burn is non-existing.
Pulp has been in the industry since
0 8 years and counting
0 Pulp is a magazine focusing on the under
ground & mainstream Filipino music
0 In 2004, its competitors were
TV Ink & Popsicle. Both magazines are now defunct.

Joey Dizon, Editor-in-chief of Pulp magazine, divulged

that the advertisers meddle with the concept of the
magazine and come up with hard-sell type of ideas
that for him, ³sometimes are not in the best interests of
the magazine¶s integrity.´
0 Hinge Inquirer
0 2006 - 2008
0 Different genres of music
0 Local & intl. covers per
0 Free CD with each issue
0 Downloadable Podcasts
0 Clarissa Concio, Editor-in-chief of Burn
magazine stresses that coordinating with
the magazine¶s sales team is important to
³make sure that expenses are kept well
within the editorial budget.´
0 Flip means ³to go
nuts,´ ³to turn the
page,´colloquial term
for ³Filipino´
0 Jessica Zafra
0 A monthly magazine
that interpreted the
world through Pinoy
0 Flip ovie Club ±
monthly offering
0 August 2002 ± April
0 8 issues
Flip¶s last issue ± collector¶s item

The cover persons were

0 Depresentatives Teodoro Locsin Jr,
0 Imee arcos, and
0 Satur Ocampo²
a bizarre mix at the time, but given recent
political events (the attempted
impeachments, etc), prophetic.
In her column ³Emotional Weather
0Flip: A Parting Shot serves as Jessica
Zafra¶s farewell letter to the loyal
readers of Flip magazines, wherein
she was Editor-in-Chief. She writes,
³arket conditions do not permit us to
continue. The magazine is too small
to make it on its own.´
Profiles of the magazines will be tackled
in this format:
4 Title, editorial concept, voice/advocacy
4 Target audience
4 Circulation/distribution
4 Price
4 Frequency (monthly, bimonthly)
4 Editorial staff
4 Strengths
4 Weaknesses
4 Strategies ± having two covers per issue

revenues come from:

0 circulation and advertising.
0 CPs/Costs per Thousands - helps
advertisers determine the relative value of
a magazine ad. Advertising professionals
use this formula.
Total ad cost = CP
Gross audience / 100
0 1980s ± imported glossy magazines =
expensive (Vogue, Elle)
0 Lifestyle Asia ± 1st glossy monthly
0 2002 ± the top 3 magazine publishing
giants started to compete
0 Franchise titles ± licensing agreements
0 Local titles ± cheaper
Criteria for choosing these magazines
0ust be locally produced
0Printed-on-paper magazines
0Content must include pop culture that
is predominantly Filipino
0onthly or bimonthly
0ust have innovative lay-outs.
0Price: P90-125.
0ust be commercially available
Criteria for magazines:
defunct existing
0 should have a cult 0 should be at least 3
following. years old.
0 may or may not be 0 should be available
subsidized by a in major newsstands
corporation and bookstores
0 should be published
monthly or
Conceptual framework
Local magazinepublishing industry then

Local magazine publishing industry at present

  YY  YY

Top 3 magazine publishing companies

Niche titles

Pop culture magazines

Joseph Klapper¶s Deinforcement
Theory/Phenomenistic Theory
0media do not directly influence
behavior, but only reinforce existing
belief and opinion. Only after
reinforcing existing values like
appreciating existing values and
attitudes like appreciating Filipinoness
and being open to new things can pop
culture magazines be popular with the
majority of social groups.
0does not promise to raise the sales of the
studied pop culture magazines a
0mass media were more likely to reinforce
existing attitudes than change them or
create new attitudes.
0edia attention bestows a degree of
prominence on a certain issue or
individuals. Through the pop culture
magazines, more and more people get to
appreciate Filipino culture. But this
change is only minimal
Hermeneutic circle ± Hans-Georg
0 used by educators and interviewers.
0 Define ± how local popular culture
magazines sustain amidst the
competition. ³To understand each part
implies an understanding of the whole, yet
there is no way of understanding the
whole independently of its parts´ according
to D¶Alleva in her explanation of the
hermeneutic circle (2005, 125).
0 In order to understand the coping
strategies of local pop culture glossies,
one must understand the magazine titles
itself, the competitors which are the
leading consumer magazines, and the
local magazine publishing industry.
0 The author will understand the problem
with relation to its history as well as its
sociological context.
0 author must contextualize the data
gathered from interviews with other
information relevant to the researcher
³The hermeneutic circle means that all
understanding begins somewhere in the
middle of things, with some sort of
understanding already in place,´ - D¶Alleva
0 The author will use the hermeneutic circle
in interviewing practicioners in the filed of
her subject. Klein (1999, 67).
0 Being conscious of potential biases in the
narratives of the interviewees
0 Interview ± editors-in-chief, art directors, group
publishers, account executives
0 Cross reference/Books written by experts in the
field of magazine design
0 Date card, media kit
0 Survey questionnaire among 300 magazine
buyers ± are they ready for something new.
0 The researcher then goes back to interview the
practicioners to ask them more questions, so
that she could correlate the new information
disclosed to her, to the feedback she got from
the survey questionnaires
0 By:
Sherina ³Cher´ Lo
Arts anagement student
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde