Elliot proposes launch development fund

Elliott: ‘magazines too predictable’

Time Out founder Tony Elliott has called on magazine publishers and distributors to part with their cash and set up a development fund to help journalists launch original, new titles.

He criticised existing magazines for being too "predictable", dominated by fashion and driven by advertisers but he said journalists needed the expertise of publishers to get their new projects off the ground.

"Time Out cannot do this on its own. There is a whole bunch of young people trying to evolve new magazines; a lot of them want help and all they need is some development money," he told Press Gazette.

Elliott suggested three of four leading publishers or distributors should each put up £10,000 to £50,000. The money should not be used to pay for a launch but a lump sum of £5,000 to £15,000 would be of "huge value" at the development stage, he said.

"It would be nice to be in a position to review the projects and advance them some cash. Distributors could then be given the first opportunity to work with the launch once it is off the ground," he said. "What is chronically not out there are magazines that attempt to do really good features – style over substance." Elliott said issues such as GM food, politics in Northern Ireland, crime and drugs could be tackled in innovative ways. "There just isn’t the space in the mass of gloss and fashion," he said.

He also called on publishers to give journalists advice on business plans and marketing. "People like us have got that expertise and would love to pass that on to people we like."

"I don’t think Time Out, Emap, Conde Nast or The National Magazine Company are looking for magazines to launch, but it is a roundabout way of putting something back and making the world of magazines richer."

Elliott believes sales of independent magazines would improve if they were more easily available on news-stands and he added that WH}Smith had a "huge responsibility given its size in the marketplace".

By Ruth Addicott

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