Africa Geographic magazine relaunch

Africa Geographic magazine relaunch:  Update from the CEO

Many of you will have heard that our outsource print publisher Black Eagle Media has gone out of business and that we are going to relaunch Africa Geographic magazine in the first quarter of 2014 after a short enforced break. Here's a blog post about the situation: http://blog.africageographic.com/africa-geographic-blog/travel-trade/print-magazine-to-take-a-break/. The blog post contains the basic information, but I thought I would add my personal thoughts for Atta members.

Africa Geographic magazine has walked a long road for over 20 years, and along the way we have seen things change immeasurably in Africa. Amongst other things we have seen the fantastic growth in tourism on the continent and the rise in truly sustainable practices in the industry, with resultant benefits to communities, culture and biodiversity. We have also lived through a complete evolution in how people consume information, make travel plans and share with their friends and networks. And Africa Geographic has evolved to become a social brand - providing an online place to learn about and celebrate Africa and to share their content and views. Our mission is to educate and inspire every person about Africa and ultimately to get them to visit this great place.  

To date we have used our print magazines to communicate to a relatively educated group of converts, and we have done so via Peter and Sarah Borchert and the team at Black Eagle Media.  On our side (at Africa Geographic Holdings) we focus on our online.social.mobile communities which are growing exponentially (currently numbering more than 300,000 people across multiple social media platforms, and increasing by about 1,000 per day).  As many of you are aware, social media is a mixed bag with strong and weak points, but for us its a wonderful way to spread the word and recruit readers for our online content. Our web site is attracting increasing traffic thanks to social media - this past month saw a record 105,000 unique people on the site - largely internationals. On the other hand our print magazine circulation has reduced from a high of 25,000 copies sold per month to approximately 15,000 per month. The Black Eagle Media team have battled to stay afloat in these trying times, and along with many other print publishers, they eventually succumbed to the pressures. I and my team feel desperately sorry for Peter, Sarah and the team - they have worked so hard for so long.  

So Africa Geographic no longer has a print publisher. Do we find a new supplier, do we bring print publishing in-house, do we do away with print entirely? Do we evolve the print magazine - take it to a place where print is a natural fit with online.social.mobile and once again used for its strengths and not as a channel for updates and expendable news? Perhaps you can see where I am leaning? These are the issues we are applying our minds to. In the meantime we have to deal with fallout from the demise of Black Eagle Media and the inevitable gap between the last issue of Africa Geographic magazine (November 2013) and the next issue of the new evolved Africa Geographic magazine. I want to request Atta members with commercial arrangements with us to be patient with us, and to drop me an email if you want to chat (before I actually get to you).  

Thanks for reading this, and for your ongoing support.  

Simon Espley - CEO, Africa Geographic Holdings

simon@africageographic.com