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Free magazines: two new launch, others close

Two new free magazines are entering the market - On Route magazine, which has its first issue on 4 June 2012 and Beer, which has just launched a prototype run - while Media24 Famous Publishing last week announced it has closed its Gauteng-based community titles with immediate effect, resulting in the loss of 12 positions.

"Although popular with our readers, the titles [The Parks, The North, Randburg Life, Living in Fourways, Center'd and Due East] unfortunately failed to gain advertising traction at the levels we projected when we launched," said Famous Publishing MD Tim Lombard in a statement, while thanking loyal readers and advertisers for their support over the past year.

"Some staff members have accepted voluntary severance packages, and we're trying our utmost to accommodate the rest elsewhere in the company."

According to Lombard, for now, Famous will continue to focus its efforts on its core, successful portfolio in KwaZulu-Natal: The Ridge, The Crest, Maritzburg Life, Business in Durban, At Home and PIVOT.

Focusing on journey, destination

Boutique publishing house, Contact Media & Communications launched On Route last week after securing partnership agreements with toll concessionaires Bakwena, N3TC, TRAC and emergency medical care company ER24.

The A4 glossy is positioned as a unique travel, outdoor and lifestyle magazine that not only focuses on the destination but also all aspects of the journey. Content sections will include holiday health and road safety issues; hidden gems along the various routes; adventure sport; destination reviews; a holiday events guide; a pull-out children's games and puzzles section; special offers and a holiday events guide.

On Route will be distributed free at the tollgates during high traffic, holiday times and will be supported by a website, a mobisite, digital newsletters to a database and apps for tablets.

"Partnerships formed"

This is the publisher's sixth magazine and joins The Afropolitan magazine (in association with Kaya FM), The Wits Business School Journal, JoziBeat (the official mouthpiece of The City Of Johannesburg), the PocketCaddi series (in association with South Africa's top golf courses) and Spotong (a trade magazine for tavern and liquor outlets).

"We are very excited about our latest launch and, more specifically, about the partnerships we have formed. They were looking for a communication platform that they could use to drive their marketing messages to the public and the company produces top quality, custom magazines," says publisher Donna Verrydt.

Andrea Visser, PR and communications manager for the N3 Toll Concession, says that communication with its customers is of paramount importance. "We believe that the launch of the magazine will enable us to share essential information relating to road safety, tourism destinations and route specific information relating to the N3 toll route in a thought-provoking and light hearted manner. The magazine promises to be topical, interesting and fun, which is exactly what any journey or holiday should be."

For more, go to

Frosty quarterly fun

The new free quarterly magazine Beer will be the first independent publication devoted entirely to beer, according to publisher and editor Neville Barber, of Neville Barber Communications.

A prototype glossy issue of 20 pages has reportedly been well-received and the publishers are confident it will grow quickly in page number and readership. Currently, it has a print run of 5000, with distribution mainly through retail liquor outlets (on and off premise) and clubs in Gauteng at first.

"Our initial intention is to publish at least quarterly, for South Africans anywhere who enjoy, responsibly and with acceptable social behaviour, the refreshment of a bitterly cold frosty and the fun, friendship and laughter that go with it," says Barber. "We see it as a tangible, literary 'ambassador of beer' seeking to foster South African beer culture by enhancing drinkers' appreciation of beer as a beverage, and of its quality and the art and science of brewing it."

Proposed alcohol ad ban

"The proposed ban on alcohol advertising is a worry, of course," Barber told "Informed sources tell me, however, that there will be much debate and a lot of time before a law comes into force. So we'll address our options when there is more clarity.

On the other side of the coin, a ban on liquor advertising may open new avenues for other means of communicating information about beer."

The team consists of Neville Barber, with Megan Barber of MB Designs on design and Barbara Spence and Lauren Hawley of Avenue Advertising (a division of The Avenue Company) handling advertising. Printing is by Colorpress.

For more, email Barber on az.oc.bewm@rebraban.

Updated at 4.09pm on 16 April 2012.

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