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Industry

30 years of bringing it home

Future’s home interest title, Homebuilding & Renovating is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a year of events, special printed products, a bumper souvenir edition, and a sustainability drive.

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Homebuilding & Renovating is celebrating its 30th anniversary

Since 1990, Homebuilding & Renovating has styled – and continues to style - itself as ‘Britain’s number one for self-builders and home extenders’.

In a world where print is seen as a dying medium, Paul Newman, brand director of Homebuilding & Renovating, reflects on what it is that has helped the title survive over three decades.

“I think one of the reasons that we’ve managed to endure for so long is that we offer very targeted specialist and very technically credible advice to an audience of people that have got an immediate need in terms of what they want to do.”

Given the practical and physical nature of the home interest sector, titles such as this could be at risk of losing readership to digital outlets and video sites such as Youtube as tutorials grow in popularity.

 A lot of magazines today are not being as adventurous as they were 10, 20 years ago and I’m sure a lot of them are actively cutting costs and trying to do things as simply as they can

However, Future operates a multi-channel publishing strategy which gives people access to what information they want; when and however they want to consume it.

As well as a website and Youtube account, Homebuilding & Renovating runs eight shows each year. These are live events featuring live seminars and demonstrations of different building materials. It also provides a space to distribute magazines and generate new subscriptions.

As digital continues to grow, Newman assures that print still has a place in the industry. He says: “Print is still incredibly relevant, particularly in the home interest sector. There’s nothing quite like having a printed A3 canvas which you open up.

The first issue of Homebuilding & Renovating was printed in 1990

“It’s two pages of A4 side-by-side inspiring people about what they could do with their home. It’s a very visual topic that works very well in the printed form. But also, each of our magazines is almost a self-contained set of reference materials for fulfilling a building project.”

Since its inception 30 yeas ago, the magazine has gone through relatively little change. Newman, who describes the title as having a “thread of continuity that runs through the ground”, also credits this for its success.

“We are continuing to use [print] as a platform to innovate in terms of what we offer on the printed page. A lot of magazines today are not being as adventurous as they were 10, 20 years ago and I’m sure a lot of them are actively cutting costs and trying to do things as simply as they can.

...if you commit to getting the product right and you make sure you understand what the needs of your audience are, you can still be really successful with printed magazines

“What we’ve been trying to do over the last couple of years in particular is to take advantage of all of the potential that being a printed product gives you in today’s world. We fundamentally believe that print is a platform that you can leverage, you just need to have the imagination and the belief to do so.”

Some examples of this include the distribution of Homebuilding & Renovation newsstand copies in enhanced packaging including cover mounting extra paper-based products such as supplements and wall planners. Tickets to the Homebuilding & Renovating shows are also included in certain issues.

In a sustainable move, all 10,000-11,000 copies of the subscriber magazines will now be delivered in a new paper wrap solution. Future is also trialling the collection of unused newsstand copies on some of its titles to reuse in other areas and avoid them being pulped.

(L to R) Mark Constance, Head of Production at Future; Paul Newman, Brand Director; Beth Murton, Editor of Real Homes magazine; and Mark Dando, Customer Services Director at William Gibbons

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Future will publish a bumper souvenir issue of Homebuilding & Renovating in May which promises to celebrate the industry and look forward at how key developments over the last 30 years factor into how people do their projects today. It will also look at advances in materials and building regulations over the years.

Reflecting on the current state of the magazine, Newman says: “If you look at the home-interest portfolio at Future, we’re in the very privileged position of having two of our three magazines showing year-on-year circulation increases [in the latest ABC period].

“That gives me a lot of confidence because it tells me that if you commit to getting the product right and you make sure you understand what the needs of your audience are, you can still be really successful with printed magazines.”



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