FAST COMPANY magazine is launching in South Africa. The title, regarded as being one of the most progressive business media brands in the world, has been picked up by Insights Publishing in Cape Town, headed by publishing editor, Robbie Stammers.
“I have had my eye on FAST COMPANY for quite a few years. Many of my friends in creative fields were familiar with the brand even though it was not readily available locally,” says Stammers, who believes the business magazine market can certainly squeeze in a title that will resonate with a younger business readership.
“I have been involved with many business magazines in South Africa, and although they certainly serve their purposes, I feel that many of them cater for an older market.” Stammers says. “Many of them are rather stiff and antiquated. With FAST COMPANY, we are reaching a younger audience – more innovative and creative thought leaders who are actively inventing the future of business.”
Stammers says FAST COMPANY South Africa does not fall into the usual business magazine “The content expands across business, entertainment, technology and creative design to name but a few. It is also a brand that motivates readers to think beyond traditional boundaries and more importantly embrace change. There is no other magazine in the country like it,” he says.
FAST COMPANY, which won the prestigious US Magazine of The Year at the National Magazine Awards in May, was launched in 1995 by two former Harvard Business Review editors. It has , and has a total circulation of over 800 000 and a readership of more than three million per month in the US. It will start with a 20 000 print run in South Africa, targeting newsstand sales and subscriptions.
“We have some exciting partners on the subscription front, which will shortly be revealed and this should hopefully mean we can increase the print run quite substantially in a short space of time. We are also in the process of speaking with all the major newsstand and retail outlets and the feedback has been very supportive. Other distribution we are looking into are to all the biggest Business schools and Graduate schools in the country,” he says. It will retail for R35.
Stammers sealed the deal in New York, and has returned to SA with the magazine in the bag. “It is a substantial investment, which is never helped by the rand’s dismal exchange rate to the dollar to be honest. However, FAST COMPANY’s holding company in the USA have been very supportive and acknowledge the title will require time to build it here. I have also brought in a BEE partner that has given us a much needed cash injection to that we can successfully launch the FAST COMPANY brand here. More details on that will follow in a few weeks,” Stammers says.
The magazine also has two successful brand extensions, Most Innovative Companies and the Most Creative People in Business. South Africa will publish these lists, and also generate a South African version, giving the title addition legs in terms of marketing the brand.
Stammers, who will be the publishing editor of the title, has hired Evans Manyonga as editor of FAST COMPANY South Africa. He is hiring staff ahead of the October launch date. “We have also put together an incredible local editorial board, who will contribute and be our experts in different spectrums and fields from within South Africa,” he says.
FAST COMPANY is renowned for its content and to start, Stammers will use 60% international content and a 40% local content. But by next year, that will become 50/50. “The international content means that local readers will be able to read exclusive interviews with the CEOs of company like Google, Facebook, Amazon, NIKE and Twitter, to name but a few. All these are relevant in in today’s global village and we will combine these with local equivalents that speak the same language as the international leaders do,” Stammers says.
Of course, advertising is key and Stammers says the news that the magazine is launching a South African version has been “extremely positive”.
“We will be doing a road show next month to all the big agencies around the country and will be holding a launch in September in JHB. It also doesn’t hurt that most of the top guys across most of the advertising agencies are very familiar with the brand from the US, so they are very excited to see us bringing it to our shores,” he says.
FAST COMPANY is renowned for its digital presence and Stammers says he intends emulating htat in South Africa. “ We will tailor the international content for our local market and include a full digital version of the South African edition across all platforms. We are also very excited about the mobile market and it’s growth in South Africa and we plan to definitely look at how best to corner that market in the new year, once the magazine has got some traction here,” he says.
But for now, he has to launch the first issue but, he says, the response to the news has been “overwhelming and beyond our wildest expectations so we cannot wait to get our launch edition out and get FAST COMPANY South Africa successfully established as a brand everyone wants and needs to read”.
FAST COMPANY recently launched an edition in China, and the South African version will be its first global edition in English outside the US.
Robbie Stammers, from Insights Publishing in South Africa (3rd from right) pictured with the Fast Company team in their New York office in the World Trade Center.
From left: Bill Shapiro, Director of Editorial and New Business, Stammers and Robert Safian, editor and managing Director of Fast Company USA.
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