Mediaweek | 5 April 2005
by James Manning
COSMOS IS A NEW science magazine launching later this year. The company behind the launch is Luna Media which is run by former magazine executive Kylie Ahern and science reporter and broadcaster Wilson da Silva.
The magazine will launch in June 2005 when the July issue goes on sale. Luna Media is hoping to have an initial ABC audit of 20,000+.
Ahern told Mediaweek that most major international markets had their own successful popular science magazines and it was time Australia had theirs. “Over a million people watch Catalyst on ABC TV each week,” she explained. “There’s also two subscription TV channels that deal with science. Science books are also very big sellers in Australia. To date that interest has not been reflected in the magazine space.
“At present in Australia there is no popular science magazine in the top 100, but there is a dirt bike racing magazine.”
“Over a million people watch Catalyst on ABC TV each week. There’s two subscription TV channels [and] science books are also very big sellers in Australia. To date that interest has not been reflected in the magazine space.”
If anyone understands the magazine market, it should be Ahern. She first met up with da Silva on New Scientist about eight years ago. Ahern went on to ACP where she was running the circulation department, she was a publisher at Yaffa and she worked in marketing for FPC Magazines and Newsagents Direct Distribution.
“I started my career at IPC in the UK. I’ve worked at larger and small companies. At Yaffa I looked after the fishing, photography, sailing and nature and health titles.
“There were about 11 magazines in the group. There is nothing like working in a small publishing house as a publisher. The Yaffas were great in that they gave me an opportunity, when I was just 29, to be a publisher.”
Da Silva has been the editor of several science magazines including Newton and 21C. He has written for The Age and The SMH and won 15 journalism and film awards.
“The two of us have put a very comprehensive plan together and we spoke with Dr Alan Finkel who is one of Australia’s most successful science entrepreneurs. When we presented our plan to him he loved it and he came on board too and is the chairman of our board.”
Also sitting on the board of Luna Media is former general manager of NDD and now CEO of the Australian Newsagents Federation, Rayma Creswell.
“It’s important not to overburden a magazine with unrealistic expectations. We will give the title time to find its feet in the market.”
Many of the small publishers that Mediaweek profiles only get to feature in the magazine once, as the company often folds soon after they get their first actual sales figures from their distributor. Ahern is adamant that they have been conservative in any of their sales projections. “It’s important not to overburden a magazine with unrealistic expectations. Because I come from a circulation and marketing background I have done a lot of analysis of what magazines sell.
“We will give the title time to find its feet in the market. We will focus on our marketing and the communication with potential readers.”
Ahern explained that a direct marketing campaign will be a crucial part of their launch plans.
NDD will be distributing the title and Offset Alpine is their printer.