Technology, organisation and innovation: the historical development of the UK magazine industry
For most of the twentieth century, the publishing of magazines was technologically and organisationally embedded within the printing industry. By charting the origins and evolution of Britain’s principal magazine publisher, IPC, this paper demonstrates how these organisational inflexibilities served to constrain new product development and promoted a competitive regime based upon mass production coupled with a low pricing strategy founded on cheap weekly magazines. During the 1980s, however, radical changes in working practices within the printing industry, stemming from the political reforms to trade union power, paved the way for a revolution in publishing technology. The introduction of desktop publishing (DTP) packages after 1985 thus heralded a new competitive phase in the magazine industry, promoting a much greater emphasis on innovation as a competitive weapon and supporting enhanced forms of product differentiation and organisational flexibility.