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Autumn Aeroplane Magazine

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Autumn Aeroplane Magazine

Old 31st Jul 2014, 17:24
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Autumn Aeroplane Magazine

Stopped buying this when Michael Oakey packed in as editor.
However, latest edition on sale in Sainsbury has magazine and a copy of the DH Comet book packaged together for 5.25.
The Comet book has some excellent black and white photos.
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 17:31
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Devil

Is that the DH 88 Comet or the DH 106 Comet?

OK - I'll get my hat and coat .....!
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 17:39
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Thanks for the heads-up, Arthur.
Like you, I drifted away after Michael Oakey departed. I'd been buying it since issue #2.


Cheers.
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 18:52
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Think yourselves luck - magazine has arrived, but "overseas" we don't get the book. Wonder if that is "discrimination " under EU law...................
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 19:33
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I too drifted away at the same time, but tempted back now!
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 20:45
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Aerolane Monthly. Bought from issue 1 on subscription back in '73,
HOWEVER . It is now no more than a tabloid and almost identical to FlyPast (Initially openly addressing a less educated audience) which I also have all issues of.
Following a final admin Cock -Up on my overseas subscription to Air International, also held since Issue 1 as AE in 1971 following correspondence with Donald Syner ( "here's the three issues gratis you have missed") I have taken the hint from the current management's attitude, and finally rationalized my buying plan accordingly.
My subscription ( after well over 40 years) to Air International has now been cancelled , due to a total change of its editorial policy and attitude, the mostly vapid (PRO) content of which I can now get for free on the internet.
FlyPast will not be renewed-( read it all before, outside of endless personal reminiscences) and occasional other articles..
Aeroplane Monthly is now also on a cycle of endless repetition of articles ( the latest being of Bee Beamont's already published ( by them) accounts of the P1 and Lightning. Plus ,when printed, repeated cut -aways etc.
Also I regret the huge amount ( typically now c. 30%) of advertising material in these comics.
You may have an audience folks ,but it is no longer me ,I'm afraid.
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 20:46
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I too saw it in my local Sainsburys today. However they must giving away different accompanying mags as I think the one I saw was "Cold War Jets" or something similar. The Comet will be the deH 106 not the deH 88. Aeroplane published it about a year or so back.

Have to agree with some of your comments Haraka. In the 70s, 80s and 90s Aeroplane Monthy published some excellent material which was, in my view, authorative. Today, sadly, it is much more tabloid in layout and content.

Planemike

Last edited by Planemike; 31st Jul 2014 at 20:57.
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Old 1st Aug 2014, 08:13
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Also I regret the huge amount ( typically now c. 30%) of advertising material in these comics.
And what do you think actually pays for the magazine staff and overheads...??
Typically, the cover cost will barely pay for the print bill and the distribution cost. One big issue that all publishers have is that they all have to pay to have the magazine put on the shelves - WH Smith charge for this big time. For the magazine to survive, they need the advertising, and if they get 30% then they are doing well...
All magazines recycle articles, they have to as there are fewer people willing to spend the time and effort writing. It's a time consuming task, and the page rates aren't huge. It's more of a paying hobby for most.
The internet is killing the magazine industry. Make the most of it while you can...
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Old 1st Aug 2014, 09:29
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Oh cut it out, Nige, please.
I did spend some years in the publishing industry (including magazines).


What we are talking about here is what 'Aeroplane Monthly' offered before the quantum shift in publishing and editorial policy.


It was not a change for the better as far as the loyal subscribers were concerned.


During some forty years of readership, I don't recall one article reprint, either. (except bonus cutaway supplements and the like.)


Like other tabloid media, its just another example of 'dumbing-down' the product under the philosophy of..."Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the average customer".


The former readership of 'Aeroplane Monthly' were not your 'average customers'.
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Old 1st Aug 2014, 10:21
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Oh cut it out, Nige, please.
I did spend some years in the publishing industry (including magazines).
Cut what out?
You did spend some time in the industry.
I'm there now and it's changed, and changing now, big time...
Dumbing down? Perhaps...
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Old 1st Aug 2014, 11:25
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The good news is that there are still some "quality" magazines around that contain "new" material, with minimal advertising content. Of course you won't find them on the shelves of WH Smiths or your local supermarket.

I refer of course to the "house" journals of various aviation clubs/oganisations. Air Britain (Aviation World, Aeromilitaria & Archive) and the Moth Club (The Moth) spring to mind. I am sure there are others. Then there are a number of subscription only magazines, Aviation Historian springs to mind here. Again, I am sure there must be many more.

Just an approximation, each copy will be about twice the price of either FlyPast or Aeroplane Monthly. Just looked at the price of my AB membership package: 16 mags for about 50:00, so actually very comprable with FP or AM. There are of course other member benefits.

Guess it is a case of "you pays your money and takes your choice"....

Planemike

Last edited by Planemike; 1st Aug 2014 at 11:49.
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Old 1st Aug 2014, 11:40
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Interesting to note our ages.I am now 60, I think we had the best of the aviation publishing world.
Maybe AM and Flypast are trying to attract a younger generation.
By the way what has happened to Jarrod Cotter?
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Old 5th Aug 2014, 12:58
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Some interesting comments here. The content of Aeroplane Monthly is similar to FlyPast because both magazines cater for the same readership. Of course Aeroplane Monthly has been around a whole lot longer than FlyPast therefore it would be fair to say that FlyPast effectively duplicates Aeroplane Monthly's remit, not vice-versa. Key Publishing bought Air International and Aviation News titles but both publications are obviously rather different to the originals.

Yes, there is a substantial amount of advertising in Aeroplane Monthly, but not a huge amount. It is necessary of course. The cost of publishing a specialised magazine of this nature requires income from both sales and advertising if it is to survive.

The Comet publication and the Cold War Jets publication are produced by the same publisher that produces Aeroplane Monthly. They're not "freebies" though, they're stand-alone publications that are now part of the "Aeroplane Illustrated" series (the free issue of the Comet publication is a special offer promotion). They're a little more expensive than a standard magazine but they have a lot more pages and hardly any advertising, so in terms of value-for-money, they're better than a standard magazine. They provide an opportunity to explore specific aircraft or subjects in far more detail than a typical magazine can, and as such, they work very well - in effect a "monograph" at half the price (or less) than a typical booklet of this type.

As for "dumbing down" editorial, it's a thorny subject. Of course, the key issue is commercial viability. Catering for the interests of enthusiasts is difficult, because everyone has different interests, different levels of knowledge, and different expectations from magazines. Ultimately, the broadest approach has to be taken, so that the publication appeals to the most people. Admittedly it's annoying for those who want something different but there's no alternative, other than doubling the cover price. What was once commercially viable is now no longer possible. There are just not enough aviation enthusiasts out there who want to buy magazines.

I accept that sometimes articles or images are reprinted, but it's usually for good reason - usually because there's a perceived demand to see things again. But I think it would be unfair to accuse Aeroplane Monthly of being any more "dumbed-down" or commercial than any other publication. One only has to look at Key Publishing's magazines and specials to see that they also take hard-headed commercial decisions. As Nige says, the internet has almost destroyed print publishing.

Having said that, if any of you really do feel strongly that there is subject matter, style or content that you feel is missing, then tell the publisher! It's impossible to know what every reader wants unless every reader says something.

Last edited by WH904; 17th Aug 2014 at 20:49.
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Old 5th Aug 2014, 19:42
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WH904,
And many readers just vote with their feet - and their wallets.


If a publishers are not in touch with (or have lost touch with) their target markets then they have only themselves to blame.
One cannot expect the readership to regularly take up quill and parchment to tell one what's wrong with the product. That's just plain laziness.


As for advertising, lowering ad space rates and increasing the volume and prominence of ads between the covers to compensate for falling turnover is a slippery slope indeed - as many publishers have discovered.


I'm sorry I can't contribute more positively to this discussion, but for my part, I simply voted with my feet along the lines that Planemike mentioned in his post.


Cheers.
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Old 5th Aug 2014, 21:18
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Of course readers do indeed vote with their feet and wallets. But it's not a case of losing touch with target markets - quite the opposite in fact. The dwindling market for print media means that (as I mentioned previously) style and content has to broaden to suit what is perceived to be the main market. That's why it's no longer possible to produce magazines that cater for the more esoteric interests of people such as yourself (and myself!). It's not laziness, it's more a case of survival in a very harsh marketplace.

I agree that it's rather shabby to simply increase advertising space to compensate for dwindling sales, but that's something that others would have to justify. I don't think that's something that Aeroplane Monthly could be accused of in any case. In the case of Aeroplane's special magazines, the advertising content is virtually zero, so that in terms of actual written and illustrative content they are excellent value for money, even though the cover price is higher than a standard monthly.

But the fundamental problem isn't any lack of standards on the part of publishers, it's the destructive nature of the internet. The web gives us so much as consumers but for print publishing it's poisonous. Obviously it's difficult to compete with an on-line source that costs nothing to produce, and isn't affected even if only a dozen people read it.

Having said all that, there's always value in telling publishers and magazine editors what they want. Obviously there can never be any promise that one's wishes will be translated into reality but unless the wishes are expressed, publishers don't know. No matter how many surveys and market research projects are conducted, nobody has the power of telepathy (as far as I'm aware!) so - as a colleague once told me - if you don't ask you don't get
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Old 6th Aug 2014, 14:22
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Regarding the two main aviation magazines discussed above, I am the archetypal "floating reader" of both, making my personal choice monthly in the retail outlets after a comparative browse through both. Each month I buy one, or the other, or neither, based on my specific interest in aircraft types featured, and historic articles included. Taking out a subscription would be wasteful, despite the annual saving, because many years of readership have shown me that a certain number of issues of both titles are likely to be of little or no interest to me each year. I prefer to retain total freedom of selection, at point of sale.


The current Autumn Aeroplane magazine is the copy of choice for me this month, (despite having a sealed plastic enclosure with the bonus Comet special, which prevented my usual browsing!), for two reasons:
  1. The article on V1 flying bombs advertised on the cover is of very personal interest to me, having lived in Maidstone during the period when hundreds of the infernal devices were flying overhead. Over 1,400 of them crashed down all over Kent, and I witnessed several being pursued by RAF fighters with guns blazing. Exciting to a five year old, but seriously worrying to the adults aware of their deadly effects.
  2. The Comet bonus issue was potentially interesting, because in the late 1950s I went to RAE Farnborough with my university engineering society, where we were shown the Comet G-ALYU fatigue testing rig in a large Braithwaite water tank, where thousands of simulated pressurisation cycles and wing-waggling movements had eventually revealed a fatigue failure at the ADF window in the cabin roof. The special magazine showed this in several superb photos, so I was well pleased with my choice this month.
I must confess a partiality towards Aeroplane, and this particular issue tends to confirm the validity of this - but let's see what next month brings, shall we?
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 10:22
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Interesting comments Of course, one of the big issues at present, is what era is perceived as being more popular. Current thinking is that Cold War subjects are now very popular, and WWII is becoming less-so. Any thoughts?
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 10:44
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Any thoughts?
Years ago perhaps one would conduct a poll of readers with a simple question ("competition") plus a questionnaire. offering selected prizes ( e.g .a year's free subscription).
(Then by derivation perhaps look at the subjects NOT selected by current readers as an indication of possible lost market areas?) .
P.S.
I've just spent some time looking at my combined indices of aircraft subject types covered by A.I. , A.E., F.P and AM over the last four decades or so. It is pretty well dominated by Air International ( before the change) across the board, whilst Aeroplane Monthly demonstrates an interesting geographical and temporal focus evolving over the years with some anomalies. FlyPast comes in a very low third, by international subject type, demonstrating it's particular slant.
Aeroplane Monthly launched at a claimed 55, 000 copies back in '73. IIRC when visiting FlyPast's offices in the mid 80's that they were then estimating themselves as the U.K's most popular Aviation Monthly.
Perhaps this indicates a loss in U.K. interest in historical aviation internationally - part of a more parochially orientated outlook within the emerging readership?

Last edited by Haraka; 7th Aug 2014 at 12:06.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 10:46
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Haraka echoes my feelings, having tried valiantly to accept the change of editor I finally gave up and didn't renew my subscription. We don't get the little add-ons out here in the antipodes which added to the loss of interest in what was the only aviation magazine that held my attention for more than 2 or 3 pages.
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Old 7th Aug 2014, 11:46
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I favour Haraka's suggestion of a poll of existing readers, because each of us can only indicate our own, often highly individual areas of interest based on our life experiences to date. Trying to extrapolate from personal preferences to predict trends in popularity amongst others is a hopeless exercise, the sample size would be far too small and easily skewed.

Speaking only for myself, my lifespan encompasses the aviation eras of keenest interest to me, with emphasis on WW2, the Cold War period, and the proliferation of excellent aviation museums and warbird-centered airshows in recent years. The early years from around 1910 to 1930 are of less intense interest to me, and straight away that probably gets a reaction from others whose tastes differ markedly from mine.

My enthusiasms are strongly influenced by personal experiences. WW2 is an obvious starting factor, I have memories dating back to 1942 or so, when my home was overflown by a wide variety of RAF (and Luftwaffe!) aircraft. Then as a member of the RAF section of my Grammar school CCF, I attended all the annual camps at active RAF stations (Driffield, Andover, Hawarden, Waddington), where I encountered Meteors, Chipmunks, Ansons, Vampires, Canberras and the mighty Vulcans of 230 OCU. I enjoyed air experience flights in some of these, and have a vivid memory of a half hour trip in a Canberra T4 when the kind pilot let me have the controls for a while. Then there was the week's gliding course at Halton, where I went solo for the first time. Not surprisingly, any articles and photospreads of any of these will virtually guarantee my purchase of the relevant magazine! But I am not a typical reader perhaps, so I feel that a wide-reaching poll of reader's own interests is a very worthwhile exercise.
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