Our publisher chalks up 20
2013 is a milestone year for NZBusiness. Not only is it the 75th Anniversary of the magazine’s beginnings (it was originally Better Business) – it is also the 20th year in business for Adrenalin Publishing’s owner, Cathy Parker.Magazine publishing is not exactly known for smooth sailing, particularly in recent times, and Cathy has weathered many […]
2013 is a milestone year for NZBusiness. Not only is it the 75th Anniversary of the magazine’s beginnings (it was originally Better Business) – it is also the 20th year in business for Adrenalin Publishing’s owner, Cathy Parker.
Magazine publishing is not exactly known for smooth sailing, particularly in recent times, and Cathy has weathered many a choppy sea since she began her publishing career by purchasing NZ Windsurfer and NZ Company Vehicle back in 1993.
Reaching 20 years is a satisfying achievement for Cathy; another proud moment was when she and Yvonne Carter purchased NZBusiness in 2004, which quickly became the flagship title for Adrenalin Publishing in terms of profile.
There have been some slightly scary moments too; one that springs to mind first is the licensing arrangement she entered into shortly after the arrival of the GFC, to produce Autosalon magazine for the New Zealand market. The magazine did not meet expectations and its overseas parent publication was unexpectedly canned, which meant a significant, unrecoverable loss during a tough economic period.
“The lesson for me was to always consider any downsides,” says Cathy. “Don’t take risks in a recession, when they’re much more challenging to recover from. Or, as one of my mentors used to say, ‘always keep your powder dry’.”
Cathy says the challenge today is adjusting to the ‘new normal’ business environment. “A business must be profitable in the current environment; it’s no use just waiting for things to improve.”
Having repositioned the business, Cathy is now focusing on taking advantage of Adrenalin’s strong magazine brands (currently there are seven magazines and two annuals) to build the business going forward.
Publishing has its own unique set of challenges – not least of which is changing the market’s perceptions of magazines. “In many peoples’ minds magazines are lumped into print as a category, with digital as a huge challenge,” explains Cathy. “Whilst this is true for newspapers, the current and future for magazines is quite different. Magazines are more in-depth and have a unique engagement with our community of readers.
“The digital platform provides an opportunity to broaden our engagement with readers through e-newsletters, social media, websites and digital issues rather than an alternative.”
Cathy predicts future growth in magazines will be via niche titles serving specific communities. “These are generally better executed by small, dedicated teams.”