Starlog magazine…

The problems of repurposing content from the US for UK newsstand.

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Starlog magazine was my first gig in an art editor role – so apologies for the rough/formulaic cover style. I’d previously worked as a designer in a small b2b design firm and this was the first chance to spread my art editing wings.

At first glance it seemed like an inspired choice – I love movies and sci-fi, so the content suited me right to the ground – but there was a problem. After the excitement of the first issue had passed, I soon realised that this wasn’t an ordinary magazine.

The content was bought by my publisher as a license from the US (where Starlog had been a successful brand for 20 years). There’s nothing unusual in that I hear you cry? Well there isn’t – my current publisher has licensees for a great many mags in it’s portfolio, but there is a difference.

Usually when you launch a licensed product in your locale, the overseas edition isn’t on sale the month beforehand (if at all). However, StarlogUS was on sale in the UK – with almost identical content) a month before the UK edition. As you can imagine, this hampered the UK sales in the long term. We tried short term fixes such as changing the logo, fonts and look of the magazine, but, we were undoubtedly fighting a losing battle.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of my time on Starlog. It was my first exciting job, the editorial team was fantastic and but I’ll always have that nagging in the back of my head, wondering just how much better the magazine could have been.