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Frankie Magazine beats the odds -

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KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: There have been plenty of hurdles thrown in the path of media companies
over the past few years. Traditional media has been increasingly under assault from new technology
for the past decade and the Global Financial Crisis punched a further hole in advertising dollars,
leading to the decline and even closure of some newspapers and magazines in the US and elsewhere.
But according to Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, the monthly magazine industry in Australia
has proven relatively resilient, with an increasing number of titles aimed at more narrow
audiences. The success of one such niche magazine has caused industry watchers to take particular
note. Mary Gearin reports.

MARY GEARIN, REPORTER: There's a world where nanna culture is revered, where quirky is the new cool
and handmade is the new haute couture and in the heart of this is an indie-style magazine that's
been thriving on almost cult appeal in a niche market.

I just love the inspiration that comes out of reading it.

It's a little bit original. It doesn't have the typical kind of crap about, I don't know, "How to
lose a guy in 10 days" kind of stories, that kind of thing.

JO WALKER, EDITOR, FRANKIE: We don't really see ourselves as we're big up on high, we're a
magazine, you're - readers are down there. We try to, you know, always be on a level playing field
with people.

MARY GEARIN: It seems to me like it's a real mix between quite edgy and quite daggy.

JO WALKER: Yes! (Laughs).

MARY GEARIN: Is that about right?

JO WALKER: That's pretty much right.

MARY GEARIN: Every dag has her day and right now the day is looking bright for Frankie. Its current
success is one illustration of an increasingly splintered, niche-driven magazine industry.
Publishing every two months, Frankie's circulation rose last year by 31 per cent to 38,000 readers.
It's a fifth of the monthly readership of the major glossies, but gaining ground on the prominent
titles of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue Australia, both around the 55,000 mark.

STEVE ALLEN, MEDIA BUYER: A 30 per cent increase is unusual and that's at a point where advertisers
and people like us suddenly start to take note of it. It's becoming a serious contender.

PHIL SCOTT, PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, ACP MAGAZINES: Well done. We've got plenty of niche magazines too
and I think that's probably the way of the future.

MARY GEARIN: Phil Scott has had 30 years' experience across magazines and newspapers and is
responsible for more than 60 titles. He says mainstream publishers have also had to look beyond
producing big mastheads seeking mass appeal and the market is healthy enough to support it.

PHIL SCOTT: If you go back half a dozen years, Australians were given a choice of about 880, 900
titles and that's grown to around 1,200 in 2009. So, we really are spoiled for choice and I think
that more and more niches are opening up, more and more specialties.

MICHELE LEVINE, ROY MORGAN RESEARCH: Oh, magazines aren't dead yet.

MARY GEARIN: Roy Morgan researchers Michelle Levine says while all traditional media are fighting
back against the threat of online material, magazines have a head start on newspapers.

MICHELE LEVINE: I think magazines are actually quite different. They have a different place in
people's heart and mind. We know that people like the touch and feel of their magazine. I've even
heard people say they like the smell of the thing. So, unless IPads actually develop touch and feel
and smell, they won't give the same experience as a magazine.

JO WALKER: There's some kind a quest for something that feels a bit more genuine, a bit more real,
a little bit less rushed and mass-produced. And I really think that Frankie speaks to that kind of

MARY GEARIN: As a publishing case study, Frankie is all the more notable because it's largely
edited from a one-bedroom flat in inner urban Melbourne. And its marketing has an anti-marketing
feel, supporting local artists and photographers currently commissioning illustrators to provide
original designs for a somewhat non-traditional quilt to auction for charity.

PIP LINCOLNE, CONTRIBUTOR, FRANKIE: It's not really about marketing or trends. It's about, you
know, things that we do in our homes or things that we might want to wear or might want to make.
It's just got an authenticity to it that other magazines don't have.

MARY GEARIN: At one of Frankie's editorial meetings, convened at the local, Frankie's contributors
talk about the attractiveness of working for an anti-glossy woman's magazine.

MARIEKE HARDY, CONTRIBUTOR, FRANKIE: I grew up with zine culture, so - and just watching people
create amazing stuff from no budget and putting their heart and soul into it, which I always
responded to more instinctively than these big, glossy magazines with tits on the cover, I suppose.

MARY GEARIN: Some see Frankie's success as a sign glossy and gossip-driven magazines are on the

STEVE ALLEN: I think in some sectors, the magazine industry have simply gone too far and they're
cooking the goose. And as a consequence, most of the pure celebrity-driven magazines have not had
an easy time in circulations in the past year to two years.

PHIL SCOTT: It's a very, very competitive landscape out there, and I don't think people are
necessarily rejecting glossies. I think, as the world becomes more and more specialised, there are
more and more specialised niches. ... We're editing life or we're editing a specialty subject for
them. And if we don't do that job properly, they won't come back.

MARY GEARIN: In any case, these brash newcomers are joining the fray. It could be the first
resurgence for any industry featuring kitsch and crochet.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Mary Gearin with that report.