A recent New York Times Sunday business story profiled
Adam Posen, a member of the Bank of England’s monetary
policy committee. In the fourth paragraph, it noted how Mr.
Posen got his powerful pulpit: He answered an ad in The
Economist. A sidenote to the story, it further endorses the
title as the magazine for the world’s global elite. The
Economist increased its paid subscriptions 5% in the first
half and grew total paid circulation 3%, to 844,000. It has
almost that many Facebook fans (800,000) and 1. 2 million Twitter
followers. It’s also diversifying into education and virtual events.
OF THE YEAR:
With a game-changing lifestyle glossy under his belt, Wallpaper’s founder has gone on
to launch a new publishing model. Four years in, Monocle is a bold outpost for print—
and Brûlé has demonstrated the business savvy and vision any modern editor needs.
■ BY SIMON DUMENCO email@example.com
AS MUCH AS MAGAZINE people like to enthuse about the
enduring value of tangible media in the age of digital
ephemera, when the going gets tough, their printed product
often takes a hit. Budget’s tight? The trim size gets cut
and/or the paper quality gets downgraded; the magazine
ends up feeling ... diminished.
The budget’s always been tight at global-affairs monthly
Monocle—launched in 2007, it’s still in start-up mode—but
for founder and Editor in Chief Tyler Brûlé, the primacy of
the physical product is inviolable. With its glossy heft, sections on all manner of different paper stock, and exquisite
printing, Monocle is a media product for the luxury market—the global jetset—that actually feels luxurious.
“When the little van comes with the first-bound edi-
tions,” says Mr. Brûlé, speaking from Monocle headquarters
in London, “it’s like Christmas. That fresh smell of the glue,
the feel of the paper under your fingertips, the click of the
pages and the crackling of the spine—it is touching every sin-
For those who have followed Mr.
Brûlé’s career—he launched the game-
changing London-based design/lifestyle
magazine Wallpaper in 1996—it comes
as no surprise that he remains perhaps
the most devoted and adventurous
advocate of “magazine-ness” working
today. He moved in 1989 from his
native Canada to the U.K., where he
worked for the BBC and as a war corre-
spondent for the German magazine
Focus. Ambushed by a sniper in
Afghanistan, he was shot twice and suf-
fered major nerve damage in his left
arm; while recuperating he got serious
about launching his own magazine.
In Monocle, Mr. Brûlé has united his
lifelong aesthetic and journalistic passions, which results in a title that can read like The Economist
meets Metropolis meets Foreign Policy meets … Wallpaper.
And there’s another side to Mr. Brûlé: the hard-nosed
businessman. In addition to helming Monocle, he remains
chairman and creative director of Winkreative, the design
agency he launched while still running Wallpaper.
Winkreative counts Adidas, American Express, Bally and
British Airways as clients. “I probably have two different per-
sonalities for both roles,” he says, “and I switch into them
Winkreative is a wholly owned subsidiary of Swiss hold-
Call it a case of
right title, right
flocked to This
market—because while people
may be buying new houses
less, they’re nesting,
remodeling and aspiring more.
Ad pagesthrough October
increased 16.8%, helped by
one more issue in 2011 than
2010 and out-performing its
competitive set. Those pages
also came from non-endemic
categories, with growth in
auto, pharmaceuticals, and
insurance and real estate. Its
TV shows are going strong and
a custom video series for
advertisers helped increase
digital revenue 25% year over
THE NEW YORKER
For those who
career, it comes
as no surprise
that he remains
ing company Winkorp, which Mr. Brûlé founded in 2002.
Monocle is 70% owned by Winkorp; the remaining 30% is
held by five wealthy European families, who so far have been
more than happy to indulge Mr. Brûlé’s quest to turn
Monocle into a multiplatform global brand—complete with
a (profitable) retail division. Compact Monocle shops, selling
everything from Monocle back issues to luxury travel gear,
can be found in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, New
York and Beijing.
And on Oct. 17 the long-awaited Monocle 24, a 24-hour
web-based radio network that’s an outgrowth of the 3-year-
old Monocle Weekly podcast, will launch.
It’s when Mr. Brûlé talks about his new broadcast opera-
tions that it becomes clear that he is an equal-opportunity
media aesthete. “No one builds radio studios like this any-
more,” he says. “Everything is just plastic and glass, but ours
are lined in proper audio fabric from Denmark. Monocle 24
will sound like radio probably used to sound—it won’t be
tinny, it’s going to be very bassy. I think we’ve built the two
most handsome wool-lined studios in the world.”
If there’s anyone who would know, it’s Tyler Brûlé.
It’s tempting to
give The New
just for playing
well in digital—it
and 189,154 paying digital
readers across all platforms. It
says it’s getting high six-figure
revenue from iPad circulation
and high six-figure revenue
from tablet advertising
But The New Yorker also
deserves its A-List nod for
continued success in print,
where ad pages through Sept.
26 rose 5% (per the Media
newsstand sales increased
1.2% despite a $1 price hike and
subscriptions held steady even
with a $10 price hike to $69.99
per year. At a time when there
are questions about how much
people will pay for content, The
New Yorker, with a circulation
of 1 million, keeps proving that
quality has customers.