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21/02/2008 - par Mark Tungate

Although I occasionally fear for the future of newspapers (or at least, the ones you have to pay for), I have a much harder time imagining a world without magazines. It's hardly an exaggeration to say that I'm a magazine junkie. My coffee table is the foundation for a constantly changing skyline of magazine towers. Only yesterday, at the ­Publicis Drug­store, I bought Wired, Vanity Fair and two different editions of GQ (UK and US). I subscribe to Esquire (US), The Economist and Monocle. The latter was launched only a year ago by Tyler Brûlé, a young media mogul whose opinion I respect : and if he thinks magazines are still relevant in the 21st century, then I'm inclined to agree with him.

Brands agree with him too. In last week's International Herald Tribune, an article suggested that the ownership of glossy magazines - as they are expensive, high-maintenance productions - was passing out of the hands of publishers and into those of advertisers. Abercrombie&Fitch, H&M and Uniqlo are just some of the fashion brands who are transforming their catalogues into genuine magazines, with expensive photography and highly readable content that does not overtly promote their products.

Perhaps this just confirms the trend towards what I call asymmetrical advertising - ads that don't read like ads - already visible within certain blogs. Or maybe it's a reflection of the fact that, despite the distractions of the Internet, consumers still adore magazines.

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