In this week’s episode of Media Voices, Peter talks to Chris Phin, Head of DC Thomson’s Scottish Wedding Directory, about the best ways to monetise a niche vertical and switching from tech journalism to covering the bridal scene.

In the news round-up, the team discuss Amol Rajan and Farhad Manjoo’s points getting lost in controversy, Trinity Mirror’s rebrand to Reach, and, surprise surprise, ‘fake news’.

Our full archive of interviews is available on the Media Voices Episodes Page.

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In our own words: Peter Houston

I first met DC Thomson’s Chris Phin at a Digital Magazine Awards ceremony several years ago. At that time, he was working for Future Publishing in Bath and very much in the vanguard of digital magazine development. Using the company’s FutureFolio platform, he and his colleagues were putting out some of the most innovative tech titles in the early days of iPad publishing.

Over the years we’ve met at conferences, shared the stage in panel discussions and Chris even wrote something for my old blog. In his guest post he ran through a range of possible answers to that age-old publishing conundrum ‘What is a magazine?’ before concluding, ‘Fuck knows, go and make it up.’

Chris has since swapped the world of technology journalism for weddings, that’s right weddings. I asked him to be a guest on Media Voices after Esther and I blundered into a publishing cul de sac unable to agree whether readers of wedding magazines readers would tolerate a paywall.

In our chat we talked a fair bit about the pros and cons of reader revenues and advertising in a niche title like the Scottish Wedding Directory, the similarities between working for Future, Dennis and DC Thomson, and the differences between Bath, London and Dundee. But I couldn’t resist starting out by asking him how he made the switch from covering Apple developer days to wedding fayres.

His response, as always, was straight to the point: “Publishing is publishing is publishing”. He explained that he had to rely heavily on the experts on his team, the people with the market insight. But for him, the essence of successful publishing is market agnostic.

“The models and the learnings, all the different things that go into making media brands successful, can be applied across any sector.”

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