The editor who bought his own magazine and made it profitable

“Only a few editors-in-chief can really think entrepreneurially,” asserts German magazine editor Nikolaus Förster. He bought Impulse a year ago in a management buy-out from publisher Grüner + Jahr and the move is proving profitable.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | March 3, 2014

Following radical changes to the print edition, advertising and marketing, last week the magazine reported profits before tax of 228,000 euros on a turnover of 5.17 million euros. We spoke to the editor who successfully became his own managing director.

WAN-IFRA: Why did you buy your own magazine?

Nikolaus Förster: I believed in the strength of the magazine and of the impulse team.

Are you investing your own money?

Yes, in addition minority partner Dirk Möhle has invested money.

You made a profit, how did you managed to do that in the current economic climate (especially given the situation in media in general)?

Despite declining proceeds from advertising in comparison to the 2012 year, we succeeded in staying in the black in our first business year 2013 due to good sales figures and lower costs. In a medium sized publisher you can work much more flexibly, quickly and efficiently than in a large corporation.

Are there examples of other editors-in-chief, who are doing the same thing?

It is extremely rare. One example is Gabriele Fischer of “Brand Eins.” That (Brand Eins) economics magazine was founded approximately 15 years ago.

What are the obstacles that prevent others from doing so?

Only a few editors-in-chief really think entrepreneurially. It is not just about the content, but also about the structure of a firm. Often capital is also lacking. And you have to be convinced that your own title really does have a future. That’s not the case with every magazine – but was with Impulse, a business magazine with a clear focus.

Read the second instalment here.

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