If you happened to be in London at the very start of this month you might have noticed a lot of activity around the courtyard at Midori House. Aside from the usual comings and goings of staff, contributors, radio guests, UPS men and curious tourists (could there be a fresh revenue stream in offering tours of a facility where they still make good old magazines?), there was a whole logistics exercise underway as our design and café colleagues prepared pallets for shipment to a furniture fair in Milan. While we’re quite good at deploying various elements of our business to conferences and trade fairs (many of you will know us from Maison et Objet in Paris), this year we have decided to up our game in terms of scope and ambition.
Aside from our special Salone newspaper that was at kiosks in the run-up to the fair (if you missed a copy on newsstands or in Lufthansa’s lounges you can always order one online or visit our shops), we also moved a fair portion of our broadcasting operation to Milan. From a well-positioned plinth at the heart of the Tortona district we anchored a series of Monocle 24 radio programmes spanning most of our schedule, including some special-edition bulletins developed for our partners at Hyundai. This exercise marked a fresh shift in our audio ambitions and you’ll be hearing more tweaks and improvements across our audio line-up over the coming weeks and months, not least more reporting from North America’s West Coast and hosting from our Los Angeles space in Culver City.
Back at our base and in our bureaux we’ve been limbering up for a few other tweaks to our editorial calendar, both in print and digital. On screen we hope you’ve caught our refreshed Monocle Minute and are also receiving our new Weekend Edition in your inbox every Saturday morning. If you’re not starting your weekend with Andrew Tuck’s snappy take on the week or my column (yes, dear FT Weekend readers, I couldn’t resist) then you can sign up at monocle.com/minute.
This push to up our weekend coverage is in line with a broader Saturday/Sunday strategy that will see another batch of seasonal papers come out this summer and during the Christmas season. Along with our radio moves, our editors want to ensure that you have plenty to fill your speakers, screen and mind no matter where you spend the weekend. On the magazine side we’re already busy shooting and commissioning for the escapist (on newsstands from 9 May) and this will have a slightly larger format: think more along the lines of a handsome companion for our Drinking & Dining Directory (on newsstands from 27 June).
Joining our family of specials will be a new start-up and business-focused title that will be coming off the presses at about the same time you’re shifting yourself from your sunlounger at the end of summer. This will bring to 14 the number of magazines in the Monocle stable – and no less than nine newspapers. If some of you have been concerned that we might be following other media groups in trimming titles and putting more focus on all things digital, it’s rather the opposite. Not only have we invested in a better-quality product but we also believe there’s room for deeper coverage in our core areas. In many scenarios print is best to tell these stories; in others it might be on screen, via audio or at an event – cue our Quality of Life Conference in Madrid.
We now have a full line-up of speakers for what promises to be our most rounded and sparkiest conference to date. Building on the theme of what makes our cities work and how we improve everything from property development to the state of local media, the Madrid edition in June will start with a sunny cocktail (the city is promising endless sunshine for all delegates) on the Thursday and a full day of speakers and satellite sessions on the Friday, followed by dinner, drinks and a bit of dancing and then an easy Saturday of tours and leisurely brunching. Like last year’s Zürich edition we’re also exploring the possibility of a side event somewhere in the countryside near Madrid. We’ll have more on this in the coming weeks. If you haven’t registered you can do so via conference.monocle.com or just drop a note to Hannah Grundy (email@example.com) if you have any queries or special requests. But before we touch down in Madrid, one more date for the diary. On 18 May we’re having our first Badi Market in Zürich. If you’re not familiar with the term, Badi refers to Switzerland’s bathing club culture and to start the season our offices at Dufourstrasse 90 will be running a Saturday market with a range of stands from vendors who are focused on improving your summer look. We look forward to seeing you in Seefeld then.
All questions and comments can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Hannah, as above. Cheers and thank you for your support.