Development Hell pledges TLC for ex-Emap Mixmag

By Alyson
Fixter Development Hell, the publishing company behind The Word
magazine, has promised to nurse struggling dance music magazine Mixmag
back to health after buying it from Emap.

Publisher Jerry
Perkins, who reportedly masterminded the purchase, said the company’s
focus on “magazines, not brands”, would be the tonic needed to get the
title back on its feet after years of decline following the fall-off in
interest in dance music.

Rival titles Ministry and Muzik closed
since in 2000 and 2003, while sales of Mixmag fell at the last ABCs by
8 per cent year-on-year, to 46,470.

Development Hell, which was
set up in 2003 by ex-Emap executives Perkins, David Hepworth, Mark
Ellen and Andrew Harrison, currently only publishes The Word, the
grown-up music title that focuses on music legends and their lives.

But
Perkins said Mixmag would fit alongside The Word and pledged to spend
until the end of the year integrating the new title into the company,
with all staff due to move to Development Hell’s offices in north
London.

Perkins said he could not reveal the cost of the purchase, although it has been reported as a seven-figure deal.

He
added: “We’re delighted we’ve got it because it’s an important magazine
and it has been a prominent magazine on the dance scene.

“Our initial plan is just to give it the bit of TLC that we think it’s been missing.

“We’re
all about magazines here, not brands, and we think that Mixmag could
really benefit from getting back to basics, getting back to what makes
it a great magazine. It’s a market-leading magazine and we’re really
looking forward to publishing it.

“Our first aim is to tidy it up
a bit and integrate it into the company, and then we will come out in
January with what the plan is.”

Mixmag recently went from the
perfect-bound to saddle-stitched format and has undergone a number of
revamps over the years, but has suffered as the music market has
changed, with dance music in decline since the boom of the late 1990s.

Perkins
said: “The dance music scene and clubbing scene is currently not what
it was at the end of the century, which created a great big wave for
Mixmag to surf in on. But it’s analogous to Kerrang!, I suppose – there
will always be a market for dance music that isn’t mainstream and we
aim to deliver to that market.”

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