What is a magazine?

Everyone has a pile of old magazines somewhere in the house, and whether you’re passing a newsstand at the mall or sitting in the dentist’s office, you’ll be tempted to pick up a magazine and flip through the pages. . Magazines are everywhere, but what exactly are they?

On the one hand, magazines are a mechanism for providing people with up-to-date information on a wide range of topics on a regular basis, usually monthly, but in some cases even weekly.

However, the word magazine was originally used to indicate a store of grain or gunpowder, so how was the term associated with a periodical?

The first periodical to use the word magazine in its title was started in London by Edward Cave in 1731. Cave used the word magazine in the name of his ‘Gentleman’s Magazine’ to suggest that this new publication was a storehouse of information, providing all the news that a civilized person needed to keep up to date with what was happening in the world. Cave magazine was very successful, and within a few years, a number of spin-off publications began to appear in London and the United States.

Magazines have undergone complex evolution over the years, and it is instructive to think that magazines fall into one of three distinct categories: commerce, news, and consumerism.

Trade magazines are designed to inform members of a particular professional or occupational group of articles of specific interest to them. People and companies buy subscriptions to trade magazines, and most of the content is written by and for people in the industry, for example, accountants or school teachers. These magazines are generally not available to the general public, and any advertising they may contain (usually not much) tends to be directed at members of that trade.

News magazines, which in the case of publications like ‘Time’ or ‘The Economist’ are often published weekly, are aimed at a wide audience. These magazines are designed to provide a single source through which readers can catch up on news, current events, and current affairs. They are available in bookstores, newsstands, as well as by subscription, and the moderate amount of advertising they contain is quite varied in terms of the products displayed, and quite widespread in terms of the approach taken in the advertisements.

The vast majority of modern magazines belong to the consumer category, and these magazines are aimed at very specific segments of the population, whether they are dog lovers, gardeners, future girlfriends, or people wanting to get rich. Consumer magazines usually contain a series of small articles that cover topics of interest to the target group, but in most cases most of the available space is dedicated to advertising.

In consumer magazines, advertisers have the opportunity to present well-defined product mixes in a way that addresses the target group directly. For the marketer, this means that they are getting maximum penetration with their message, and for publishers, this means that they can rely on advertisers to generate most of their revenue stream. With consumer magazines, actual magazine sales are a secondary consideration. What matters is that potential advertisers think that information about their products gets directly into the hands of those people who are most likely to buy what they sell through magazines.

Every time you pick a magazine that interests you, even just to flick through it briefly, you are one step closer to buying something, and if the magazines are doing what they are designed to do, that something is not going to be the magazine. .