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150: Macro Trends in Magazine Publishing with James Hewes of FIPP

Updated: Dec 13, 2023



Welcome back to the second episode in this 6-part magazine series. Here you’ll meet James Hewes, CEO of FIPP, a global magazine industry organization. Here’s how FIPP describes itself: “Originally formed by a consortium of magazine publishers to enable them to share ideas, the organisation has grown over almost 100 years to include media owners and content creators from across the world.”

In this episode you’ll learn how James went from working in banking to making magazines, eventually running the BBC’s international magazine business.

James shares macro trends in magazines internationally, including shifting trends that every industry is facing (sustainability, accessibility, privacy), as well as trends specific to the magazine industry (who is going to pay for content, as well as identity: what IS a magazine these days any way and what do you do when you can do everything?!).


James explains the ways the traditional magazine advertising model is shifting alongside digital media and the opportunities within this new landscape, including the evolving nature of the core of the magazine business, from advertising to the consumer.

James describes how magazine industry trends mirror that of the music industry and the ways in which we may be able to see our future in the music industry’s present.

Finally, James shares his thoughts on the future of AI in the media industry and why making magazines is (still) the greatest job in the world.


This episode is part of a guest lecture series in GCM 720 Magazine Production & Publishing in The Creative School at TMU and co-hosted by student, Samantha Benezra.


Let’s listen in…








About Our Guest:

James Hewes started his career in media working at BBC Worldwide, the commercial division of the BBC, the UK state broadcaster. He worked in their publishing business, BBC Magazines, from 2001 to 2012 building a track record of success in marketing, digital and print media, events and international business development.


He was the launch Publisher of olive magazine and grew BBC Magazines’ licensing portfolio from 8 to 55 editions including 20 editions of Top Gear Magazine. James was also a key member of the team that sold BBC Magazines to private equity in November 2011 for £120m and was Publishing Director for Top Gear, Good Food, Easy Cook and Lonely Planet Magazine, responsible for the brands across print and mobile applications. He was also a Director of the BBC Haymarket Exhibitions joint venture.


As Publishing Director of Dubai-based Gulf News Publishing from 2013 to 2016, he had responsibility for more than 30 product areas and launched new brands across digital, live events and print including the group’s first consumer title in Arabic. He was then Interim CEO of The Art Newspaper from 2016-2017 whilst also running his own company, Soho Consulting.


He was appointed President & CEO of FIPP in September 2017 and has re-positioned the 100-year old media trade association as a business focused on learning, knowledge sharing, skills development and networking.





Music: Where the Sun Set by Ketsa Licensed by Independent Music Licensing Collective (IMLC).

Talk Paper Scissors Theme Music: Retro Quirky Upbeat Funk by Lewis Sound Production via Audio Jungle


Episode Artwork: Canva


Boat Origami Photo: Boat Origami Photo by Alex on Unsplash

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