T H E  M E D I A  W E B S I T E   O F   B E N T O N   P A R K   S C H O O L
home MS4 Exam Questions MS3 Specifications media texts representations audience



This unit contributes to synoptic assessment. It is designed to develop candidates' understanding of the connections between different elements of the specification and to develop their knowledge and understanding of the relationship between media texts, their audiences and the industries which produce and distribute them.

Progression from AS is demonstrated through this emphasis on the relationship between text, audience and industry and the debates surrounding the nature of that relationship. Candidates' understanding of the media will also be more informed by appropriate theoretical perspectives.


Centres will be required to select three different media industries from the list below to study with their candidates.

• Television

• Radio

• Film

• Music

• Newspaper

• Magazine (including comics)

• Advertising

• Computer Games

For each industry, three main texts should provide the focus for candidates' study.

At least two of the chosen texts must be contemporary and one must be British.

Centres are advised to select contrasting texts so that candidates acquire as wide an understanding of the media industry as possible. What constitutes a 'text' will vary depending on the industry.

MS 4


[ad. Gk. synoptikos]  /si NAHP tik/

1) affording a general view of some subject; spec. depicting weather conditions over a broad area  <a synoptic study of polar air masses>

2) chacterized by a comprehensive mental view of something  <the synoptic genius of Einstein>

Mrs Symons’ group will be investigating these three magazines  in terms of their actual texts,as part of a larger magazine/publishing/multimedia industry and the ways in which audiences possibly use them.

Clicking on the covers should bring you to their respective web sites.

Mrs Symons has chosen these texts to offer research into a wide range of significantly different magazine material in terms of possible reader demographic and use of text as well as differing marketing styles and “business plans”

Web sites are increasingly important for the marketing of magazines. They are part of a process known as synergy whereby a mix of media makes for a wider reach for magazine texts and for some consumers appears to “add value”

The web sites often offer forums (strictly fora ) to the readership which offers excellent marketing feedback as well as “free” material to the publishers.

Most importantly all the “extra” media that make up the synergy package all carry advertising.

Horse and Rider have a dedicated You Tube site.This is an important development, for reasons you might like to think about...

Synergy in the media*

In media economics, synergy is the promotion and sale of a product (and all its versions) throughout the various subsidiaries of a media conglomerate, e.g. films, soundtracks or video games. Walt Disney pioneered synergistic marketing techniques in the 1930s by granting dozens of firms the right to use his Mickey Mouse character in products and ads, and continued to market Disney media through licensing arrangements. These products can help advertise the film itself and thus help to increase the film's sales. For example, the Spider-Man films had toys of webshooters and figures of the characters made, as well as posters and games.


Social media uses Internet and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many).

It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.

Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content"[1]. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM).

The Board offers us this helpful,if daunting, diagram to show us the extent of the overview required when tackling our three texts above. I have coloured it maroon to make it less frightening.

Please remember the examination proper is only two and a half hours long and there are three questions to answer.

Massive detail will not be required but the examiner will want the sense that a candidate has a real synoptic overview, so the use of lists cunningly used to illustrate you understand the full scope of the question will go down well. This is called in examiner’s parlance touching the bases.


In terms of marketing and promotion,distribution and exhibition it is immediately clear that “The Big Issue” differs from “Horse and Rider” and “Men’s Health” so it will be interesting to see if, in terms of its representation of people,places, events and issues, it differs from the other more conventionally marketed magazines yadda, yadda....


So it might be an idea to have the lovely maroon diagram tattooed on your inner eyelid or failing that learn the names of the bases by heart...Oh Yes

Also titles of magazines, films and TV shows should all be put between inverted commas or speech marks...hey! call me old fashioned..

We may as well begin with the board (WJEC) guidelines as to the sort of questions we should ask of our chosen texts and what areas of investigation we should explore.


Big Issue: Skeleton outline



How is Big Issue different to other magazines? Compare and contrast with other magazines

studied and its front cover and contents page with a range of other front covers and contents



Analyse at least 3 editions to ascertain typical structure, special and regular features, with a

particular focus on contents pages.


To what extent are representations of social issues, especially homelessness and poverty,

realistic? How might this compare to representations in newspapers and other media forms?

Investigate positive representations of homeless people: students may wish to focus on the

Street Talk feature, usually on the last page, or on Streetlights and Mr Big Issue Man,

usually found on p.6.



Who owns The Big Issue? Introduction: a rare example of a successful independent


Read the about us and how we work sections on the website.


Research background and history:

http://www.bigissue.com/magazinesite/introduction.h tml


Discuss the magazine’s house style with particular reference to the Badger feature on the

contents page and the editorial overview on the website.




How are the advertisements carried in Big Issue different to those in other magazines you

have studied?

How does Big Issue advertise itself?

Find and print off the magazine’s rate card and compare it to the rate card for another

magazine you have studied. How can you explain these differences?


Search the Press Complaints Commission website for any adjudications against The Big

Issue. (there aren’t any. Why?)

Global Implications

Research the International Network of Street Papers:


How does Big Issue distribution differ from that of any other magazine? Students may wish

to use the website or to chat to a vendor.


Target Audience

Who are they? Ways of classifying the Big Issue audience.

Discuss demographic and psychometric profiles and apply audience theories, then look at

the reader profile on the website.


How does this magazine attract different groups within the target audience? (e.g. editorial

content, Big Scene “what’s on” feature, film, book, music and art reviews, featured

subscriber, competitions, letter, crossword..)

Investigate the magazine’s use of stars and celebrities with a particular focus on covers and

the This Is Me feature usually found on p.20.


What assumptions does this magazine make about its audience that set it apart from other

magazines ?


Given stereotypes about the homeless, how do the students feel about Big Issue vendors?

Look at the Big Issue code of conduct. http://www.bigissue.com/magazinesite/conduct.pdf

To what extent is The Big Issue a “pro-social” text? Discussion of the idea of positive effects.


Look at the ABC data on the magazine and at the blurb which is usually found on page 4 to

establish how many copies it sells.

http://abcpdfcerts.abc.org.uk/pdf/certificates/139933 53.pdf


International Network of Street Papers:

http://www.bigissue.com/intl.html (links to the excellent Big Issue website.)


Vendors’ Code of Conduct:


Audit Bureau of Circulations:


National Readership Survey:

http://www.nrs.co.uk/open_access/open_topline/Gene raMagazines/index.cfm

Press Complaints Commission Code of Practice:


The Big Issue is one of the UK’s leading social businesses, which seventeen years since its inception continues to offer homeless and vulnerably housed people the opportunity to earn a legitimate income.

The organisation is made up of two parts; a limited company which produces and distributes a magazine to a network of street vendors, and a registered charity which exists to help those vendors gain control of their lives by addressing the issues which have contributed to their homelessness.

The Big Issue Company publishes a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, which Big Issue sellers (or vendors) buy for 75p and sell for £1.50, thereby earning 75p per copy. Any post investment profit generated through the sale of the magazine or the sale of advertising is passed on to our charity, The Big Issue Foundation. The Foundation is also reliant upon donations from the public to fund its crucial work with vendors.

The organisation currently supports over 2900 homeless and vulnerably housed people across the country. The magazine is read by over 670,000 people every week throughout the UK*

Personality types, behavioural styles theories, personality and testing systems, really great stuff HERE

Positioning is often used nowadays as a broad synonym for marketing strategy. However, the terms “positioning” and “marketing strategy” should not be used interchangeably. Rather, positioning should be thought of as an element of strategy, a component of strategy, not as the strategy itself.

The term “positioning” is, and should be, intimately connected to the concept of “target market.” That is, a brand’s positioning defines the target audience. For example, an airline might position itself against other airlines, which defines the target audience as airline travelers. Or, it might position itself against all modes of transportation between two destinations, which then defines the target audience as all travelers between those two markets. The second positioning reaches out to a much larger target audience.

Another example: A brand of peanut butter could position itself against all competing brands of peanut butter, which defines the audience as peanut butter users. Or the brand might position itself against margarine and butter, which defines a very different target market. Positioning, then, is analogous to aiming an artillery field gun. How you position the cannon defines who and what the target is. So, the term “aiming” is not a bad definition of positioning, and the term “targeting” is not a bad definition of positioning. MORE HERE

Circulation & Readership




FEMALE: 56% MALE: 44% ABC1: 75%




It’s important that a company acts ethically – 84%

It’s worth paying extra for quality goods – 82%


   * Readers spend £3.8M on albums/singles per year

   * 71% of readers say music is an important part of their life – 475,000 readers

   * Total volume of nightclub visits per month is 377,000 – over three times more than Time Out

Arts & Culture

   * Readers visit the theatre a total of 1.4M times per year

   * Readers make a total of 886,000 visits to art galleries per year

   * Total spend on paperbacks £3.3M per year


   * 68% of readers are more aware of personal finance than they used to be – 453,000 readers

   * 52% of readers say it is important for everything to be insured – 343,000 readers

Charitable giving

   * Total spend per year £40.8M

   * Readers spend £78 each on charity per year

The Environment

   * 87% say people should recycle

   * 64% say you should pay more for environmentally friendly products


   * 44% of readers always check the nutritional content of food - 295,000 readers

   * 174,000 readers ALWAYS look for the Light/Diet version of food & drink


   * 252,000 of readers say it’s worth paying extra for good quality beer

   * 337,000 of readers are prepared to pay more for good quality wine

   * Total volume of wine bought for home consumption – 1.2M

   * Readers drink 3.1M fizzy soft drinks in total per year

   * Total volume of yoghurt drinks per month 2.4M


   * Buy an average of 5 DVD’s per year each, more than the Guardian, The Independent and Time Out

   * Readers buy 2.1M DVD’s in total per year

   * Readers make over half a million cinema visits a month.

The Big Issue readership has a denser population of Main Shoppers than readers of the Independent on Sunday, Independent on Saturday, Independent, Guardian, Times and Telegraph

Source: GB TGI Q2 2008

Looking for a specific audience?

Call us and we can tell you exactly how we fit in compared to other print media.

Email advertising@bigissue.com or call 020 7526 3240

Read below how “Big Issue” defines its demographic especially their likely consumer choices, is it a good proposition for advertisers? Who actually advertises in “Big Issue”?


                 C L I C K

Editorial Overview

The Big Issue is a weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine. The Big Issue group magazines have a shared aim - to produce consistently exciting, engaging and entertaining content, including stories relevant to the local communities in our regional editions in the North, South-West, Wales and Scotland.

In every edition we publish a broad and balanced selection of articles, from investigative news features and in-depth pieces on international issues, to reviews by leading critics of the week's must-see film, theatre, music, DVDs, gigs and visual arts, alongside challenging social comment and exclusive celebrity interviews.

Over the past 17 years The Big Issue has built up a strong reputation for journalistic integrity - our name is one which the readers, contributors and interviewees alike can trust. This reputation is a key factor in our continued success in attracting such a wide range of stars, whether they come from the world of arts, politics or sport, to grace our covers on a weekly basis. Sir Paul McCartney, David Beckham and George Michael are just a few of the celebrities who have chosen to talk to the Big Issue first over the years.

The content of the magazine, with the exception of the Streetlights Pages (our dedicated space for homeless contributors) is written by highly experienced journalists. They work alongside a professional production team that design the look of the magazine - and source pictures from top photographers and illustrators to accompany the stories.

The finished product is one that everyone involved in the Big Issue firmly believes should be one that our vendors are proud to sell and the public are keen to buy - a good-value read that has earnt its place alongside rival national magazines and papers. In the words of Founder A. John Bird: "We want to make something that flies out of vendors' hands."

“Men’s Health”,of the three magazines you are researching has probably the most dynamic web space and its navigation bar (see below) while echoing the standard content of the magazine proper it also offers video and forums which are quite extensive.It is published by Hearst whose other major titles are listed above. Below is the navigation bar which if clicked will give you a chance to rummage round the site, perhaps sign up for the newsletter?

This web space might be perceived as adding value for the reader but, of course, it  is also carrying advertising which is a valuable income source for the publisher.

Signing up for full access to the site will enable the publisher to harvest your personal details and, almost certainly, give them access to your e-mail address,so future e-mail pestering becomes possible.

A thorough look at the web site is advised noticing and noting down the advertising it is carrying as well as the links to other  product/service advertising sites.

It is worth clicking to these sites and thinking how they differ from advertising image and copy in the magazine proper.

All the advertising material on the left was on the front page alone.

Check out the behaviour of the masthead beside the web title.

Now it may be that users of the site ignore these ads and get right onto new info about six packs, but this is worth researching even if only in an informal way, talk to some lads, honest types preferably, who might describe for you their web page surfing behaviour. In any event even if you only see these brands “out of the corner of your eye” they will have been noticed at some level.

All of this possible interactivity might be termed the synergy of cunning navigation cues or prompts.

“Horse and Rider” has a site too but is it as extensive or interactive? A basic content list analysis of possible interactivity would yield an answer of sorts.

Apart from the navigation bar how many clickaways does each front page have?


Issues of REPRESENTATION are import in your research, below is menu that comes up when you you click Sex and Relationships on the “Men’s Health” (herinafter MH) site.

How does MH construct relation ships and sexuality  on their web site and in their magazine?

Are they sexist in a pejorative sense? are they homophobic,ageist,racist or worst of all laddish?

Is the imagery designed to render the women as objects.

Are the templates of beauty/fitness impossible for most women?

Are all the women white? young? thin? and air brushed/photoshopped to a mere fantasy representation?

Mrs S will take you through the basic interrogation of the magazine for constructions of men or women which may be socially unhealthy.

Is a six pack really necessary?

Must men love cars and footie?

Must men binge drink?

Are gay chaps men?

On these great questions of our time there will be hand outs.....

And what on God’s earth class of thing is that Touch O Meter ???

Check it out HERE

The images below are on a single page of MH’s site, it is easy to see how easily much of the content becomes advertorial in a way which is not as easily done in the magazine proper. The menu on the left hand side is clearly in some instances hosted by some product so that content can be produced outside the magazine imported thereby saving MH’s staff the effort and so cutting staff costs.

The same is true of the forum,in green on the right. This is reader generated copy and so cost free.


a form of print advertising that is designed to mimic the editorial content, style and layout of the publication in which it appears.

It possible that people give more credibility to editorial content than to paid advertisements. After all, anyone can claim that their own product is the best. But editorial content suggests that someone else has endorsed your product or service.

Masculinity has its roots in genetics (see gender).[7][8] Therefore while masculinity looks different in different cultures, there are common aspects to its definition across cultures.

Some gender studies scholars will use the phrase "hegemonic masculinity" to refer to an ideal of male behaviour which men are strongly encouraged to aim, which is calculated to guarantee the dominant position of some men over others.

Western trends

According to a paper submitted by Tracy Tylka to the American Psychological Association (APA), in contemporary America: "Instead of seeing a decrease in objectification of women in society, there has just been an increase in the objectification of both sexes. And you can see that in the media today." Men and women restrict their food intake in an effort to achieve what they consider an attractively thin body, in extreme cases leading to eating disorders.[10] Thomas Holbrook, also a psychiatrist, cites a recent Canadian study indicating as many as one in six of those with eating disorders were men.

"Younger men and women who read fitness and fashion magazines could be psychologically harmed by the images of perfect female and male physiques," according to recent research in the United Kingdom. Some young women and men exercise excessively in an effort to achieve what they consider an attractively fit and muscular body, which in extreme cases can lead to body dysmorphic disorder or muscle dysmorphia.

Although the actual stereotypes may have remained relatively constant, the value attached to the masculine and feminine stereotypes seem to have changed over the past few decades. Men commit 90% of violent crimes as well as a majority of other crimes. The social cost for males is more than twice the cost for women in terms of prisons, vandalism, addictions and domestic violence.

Recent work in the study of masculinity from a philosophical perspective, views masculinity as an always unstable phenomenon, never ultimately achieved.

Media encouragement

According to Arran Stibbe (2004), men's health problems and behaviors can be linked to the socialized gender role of men in our culture. In exploring magazines, he found that they promote traditional masculinity and claims that, among other things, men's magazines tend to celebrate "male" activities and behavior such as admiring guns, fast cars, sexually libertine women, and reading or viewing pornography regularly. In men's magazines, several "ideal" images of men are promoted, and that these images may even entail certain health risks.

However, perhaps MH helps to counter the masculine phenomenon outlined below:

Health care

Men are significantly less likely to visit their physicians to receive preventive health care examinations. American men make 134.5 million fewer physician visits than American women each year. In fact, men make only 40.8% of all physician visits, that is, if you include women's visits for pregnancy, childbirth and associated obstetrical and gynecological visits.

A quarter of the men who are 45 to 60 do not have a personal physician.  

Many men should go to annual heart checkups with physicians but do not, increasing their risk of death from heart disease. Men between the ages of 25 and 65 are four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than women. Men are more likely to be diagnosed in a later stage of a terminal illness because of their reluctance to go to the doctor.

Reasons men give for not having annual physicals and not visiting their physician include fear, denial, embarrassment, a dislike of situations out of their control, or not worth the time or cost.

Below an article from good old Wikipedia on the nature and possible construction of masculinity.To read the full article click on the Wiki logo on the left

Pejoratives are words or grammatical forms which denote a negative affect; that is, they express the contempt or distaste of the speaker.


Centres may wish to encourage their students to examine a range of positive and negative representations across media forms. In examining the nature of representations (how they have been selected, constructed, mediated and anchored) and exploring how they are

interpreted and responded to by audiences, students may develop an understanding of ideologies, for example:

• Ways of seeing the world – ideologies as values, attitudes and beliefs

• How ideologies are conveyed through texts

• How ideologies have affected the production of the texts

• How dominant ideologies are reinforced and/or challenged by texts.

Key Questions:

What kind of world is being constructed by media texts?

Students might consider the following points:

• That the “reality” of the world presented by texts is constructed

• That audiences respond to texts according to their experience and knowledge of the world presented to them

How are stereotypes used as a shorthand to represent certain groups of people?

Students might consider the following point:

• That makers of media texts use audience recognition of types to transmit messages rapidly. Most media texts (e.g. films, magazine articles, television programmes and advertising) only have a short time to establish characters and as a result offer limited representations.

Who is in control of the text? Whose ideas and values are expressed through the representations?

Students might consider the following points:

• Texts are constructed and often manipulated by the producers (and organisations behind them). For example: newspaper articles, films, television programmes

• A process of mediation occurs in the construction of media texts, for example a news report.

How will audiences interpret the representation within texts? Who are the texts aimed at?

Students might consider the following points:

• That an understanding of representation is linked to the cultural experiences and the backgrounds of the audience.

• It is also affected by the audience relationship with, for example, the individual star/ event /environment etc.

What ideologies / messages might be contained within the representation/s?

Students might:

• Be aware of the view being presented through the text.

• Question whether the particular interests / views of the world are being challenged, reinforced or promoted.

• Consider whether the texts are promoting, challenging or judging the roles of

gender / ethnicity/ age etc.


Media Pack

What is Men’s Health?

Men’s Health is the magazine

for active, successful, intelligent

men who want to make the most

of their physical, professional and

emotional lives.

We give men the tools they need

to make their lives better.”

Morgan Rees, Editor

Men’s Health provides an upmarket premium

environment with mass numbers

We are the number one magazine for the

affluent 30 something man

We reach more AB 25-44 year old men than

GQ and Esquire added together

Circulation & readership


MORE THAN 1MILLION (1,151,000) Male 88%

Total circulation


Source: National Readership Survey

January - December 2008

ABC July - December 2008

Total Circulation Men’s Quality

Lifestyle Magazines. Six year trend


MH total

13,082 other


GQ total


Esquire total


Esquire total


GQ total


MH total

MH has a larger circulation

than both GQ and Esquire

put together MH Solus Readership

vs FHM 50% GQ 34% Esquire 15%


2003 2009 2003 2009 2003 2009

65% of Men’s Health readers

don’t read any of

men’s lifestyle magazines:

(FHm, Maxim, Loaded,

Front, GQ and Esquire). Fourteen

MH’s readers recognise that

health isn’t just about physical

concerns. It’s about a

lifestyle in it’s own right

MH’s readers see the big

benefits in making small changes

to their everyday life

Social Status

ABC1 769,000 70.4%

AB 369,000 33.8%

C1 400,000 36.6%

C2 188,000 17.2%

15-24 30.2%

Marital Status Single 43%

Married/living with partner 51.5%


or widowed 5.7%

Median age 31

Average age 33


15-24 330,000 (30.2%)

25-34 323,000 (29.6%)

35-44 250,000 (22.9%)

45-54 128,000 (11.7%)

55+ 61,000 (5.6%)

Promotions &

special projects

The Men’s Health bespoke

team work with you to produce

engaging promotions and special

projects – both in print and online

– to deliver your commercial

messages in classic Men’s Health

style and tone.

Whether it’s on the page,

using paper technology,

online, at events or otherwise,

promotions in Men’s Health

are a very effective way to

communicate complex, stylish

or aspirational messages to

our readers in a focused and

effective manner.

Visit mhbespoke.co.uk to

see over 100 examples of

our creative work.

as ics - April 2008

menshealth.co.uk is one of the largest

websites for upmarket men in the UK.

With a broad range of channels from

health & fitness to style, grooming and

gear, menshealth.co.uk provides a fully

interactive lifestyle offering, and extends

online the content formula that has

made Men’s Health, the magazine, one

of the publishing success stories

of the last ten years.

In addition to editorial content

updated on a daily basis,

our website offers users a

host of interactive tools (such

as our bespoke Workout Generator), picture galleries,

self-tests, surveys, competitions, workout videos, and

user forums.

We can provide a number of integrated

and flexible advertising solutions which either work in

tandem with print campaigns or communicate purely

with our online users on a number of different levels -

including display inventory, advertorial, e-newsletter

sponsorship, and video pre-rolls.


Vital Stats (ABC audited)

Unique Users 700,000

Page impressions 5.3 million

Time spent on site 25 mins

Our users are

Targeted 82% of users are aged 18-44

Affluent The average household

income is £53,277

Upmarket A huge 47% are AB

56% are single, 24% are in a relationship and

17% are married/living as married

The internet

Heavy users 12.7 hours per week for

personal purposes

Frequent 86% access the Internet daily.

They use the internet more

than any other media source

E shoppers 86% have bought something online

Big spenders Average £313.13 spent online

in the last three months

72% use it for business & personal purposes with

24% just for personal reasons

Weekly emails

Our weekly editorial newsletter is sent out every

Tuesday to almost 60,000 subscribers.

Target audience

25-44 professional men

74% of users agree that advertising on the site creates

a positive brand image 70%

73% say they are constantly looking for new ways to

better themselves

47% say they will not be affected by credit crunch

Source: UK User Internet Monitor Q4 2008 |

Net Observer Autumn 2008

Rate card

Banner @ £20 CPM

Skyscraper @ £30 CPM

MPU @ £40 CPM

Super MPU @ £60 CPM

Newsletter @ £50 CPM

Competition £5,000

What is CPM?

All our prices are priced per thousand impressions.

CPM is the price for the ad to be viewed 1,000 times.

Accepted Formats

Expandable Banners

Expandable Skyscrapers

Expandable MPU

Animated gifs


Video formats available on request

Bespoke Packages

Bespoke packages can be created depending on

budget and will vary from brand to brand.

For more information on bespoke opportunities visit


This is where advertorials are produced,well worth a visit...click the banner above

Note how these promotions are in the style and mirror the ethos of the magazine

MH is owned by Hearst, digital see banners above

March 2010 issue – out now

p28 Weight-Loss Special

Why eating fat is the key to your weight-loss goals

p36 Sex Magic

Forget the rabbit; here’s how to pull a sex kitten out of your hat

p48 Boom And Best

Tune in to the best audio kit around

p55 Gym-Free 6-Pack Cheats

Get “rock” hard abs, courtesy of Metallica’s fitness guru

p58 Show Me The Monet

How to turn canvas into hard cash

p74 Log On For Love

Fine-tune your e-dating profile to guarantee online love

p77 How Much Is Enough… Chicken?

Is your poultry consumption paltry or are you over-egging the bird?

p78 Bullet-Proof Your Brain

Act now so you can forget about Alzheimer’s in the future

p84 Earn Rock Star Money

Want a wallet fatter than Meatloaf? Here’s how to attain it

p90 The Best Lunchtime Workout EverPerfect your physical performance in under an hour

p96 Become A Sex LegendLove tips and tricks from the world’s greatest ladykillers

p102 The Fast Of The Curious Fasting has many detractors, but could it really improve your life?

p110 Fight Fat And Win Smash through your personal goals, just like our writers did

p139 101 Fitness Challenges For You In 2010 Make like a ninja and use this Japanese secret to awesome abs

p140 Future Muscle

Tap into the future of working out for immediate muscle gains

“Horse and Rider” (herinafter H&R) is obviously a niche magazine so you should first research just who that niche readership are. This information can often be gleaned by a careful study of content as well as observing just what advertising the magazine or web site is carrying.

However possibly the fastest and most reliable way of learning exactly who is buying and reading a magazine is by getting your hands on the company’s media pack. These packs are targeted on potential advertisers and can indicate the precise demographic that reads the magazine. Below you will find the current media pack for H&R

Like MH H&R’s web prescence is very important to the magazine’s reach and hence its attractiveness to advertisers and readership. Visit the site HERE

Here is the all important reader profile.Some of the detail revealed here will be very significant for advertisers. Which,in your opinion would be the crucial details?

The Horse&Rider story

A family-run business grows into a leading equestrian publisher - D J Murphy (Publishers)Ltd

D J Murphy (Publishers) Ltd was founded in 1949 by David J Murphy, who spotted a gap in the market for a magazine for young horse enthusiasts.

He started publishing PONY Magazine, and for many years it was the only title dedicated to young equestrians. Since then, generations of pony-mad children and teenagers have grown up with PONY, in the UK and all over the world. The title continues to inspire each new generation and PONY is firmly

established as the UK's number one equestrian teen magazine.

In 1950, Murphy added Showjumping to his stable of equestrian titles, but soon renamed the title Light Horse, to reach more owners and riders. Light Horse became Horse&Rider in 1981, is now the UK's No1 best-selling equestrian monthly.

D J Murphy (Publishers) Ltd was a family affair, managed first by one of David Murphy's daughters, Marion O'Sullivan, and then by her daughter, Kate Austin until January 2006, when it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Signature Publishing. Today, the ethos of the company remains the same - to provide readers with advice from leading experts in riding and horse care, in a lively, informative and entertaining way, and especially to promote horse welfare and humane horse care management techniques.

In addition to publishing equestrian magazines, books and websites, D J Murphy plays an active part in the equestrian world.

As a company dedicated to equine welfare, D J Murphy publically supports equine charities. Beneficiaries include the World Horse Welfare, Riding for the Disabled Association, The Brooke, HAPPA, Redwings, The Donkey Sanctuary, The Blue Cross, and the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust.

Horse&Rider March 2010

Join Nicky Moffatt as she goes behind the scenes at Laura Collett’s Membury Estate - and follow Horse&Rider's great training tips to help you perfect your position and improve your confidence.

Horse&Rider February 2010

Discover more about the winning formula behind Sea the Stars - the horse who won over £4 million aged just three - and follow Horse&Rider's great training tips to make sure 2010 is your winning year, too!

Horse&Rider January 2010

Improve your riding out of the saddle, try Sharon Hunt’s simple grids and plan your best horsey year ever. It’s set to be a wonderful winter with the January issue of Horse&Rider Magazine!

Horse&Rider December 2009

Prepare for riding success with Michael Peace, be your horse's personal trainer and learn to love winter. Save time, feed well and train right with the December issue of Horse&Rider Magazine!

Horse&Rider November 2009

Try spook busting with top tips from Carl Hester, enjoy jumping without the rush with Ben Maher, and five hacking problems: sorted!

Horse&Rider October 2009

Stretch your horse with Carl Hester and go inside your horse's guts with a pull-out-and-keep poster. Plus, come to grips with a five stage vetting, clip happy with Michael Peace and understand what horses really do when we turn them out

Horse&Rider September 2009

Prepare for great cross country jumping with Oliver Townend in the September issue of Horse&Rider! Make your horse a hero with Michael Peace and watch your horse go from scaredy cat to brave boy. Plus Laminitis test breakthrough - is your horse at risk?

Horse&Rider August 2009

Ride out with style and confidence with the August issue of Horse&Rider! 29 hot hacking tips will help you put your best hoof forward.

A brief content analysis of the magazine is advisable as well as a check on its generic style see the WJEC advice above.

Below are some of what the editor of H&R perceive as highlight content from previous months.

This is the final draft of Claire Kempster’s opening "chapter" on genre, she has been researching “Your Horse” magazine, a magazine with almost exactly the same demographic as H&R. Click on the front page opposite and you will see the generic similarities straight away.much of what claire says is true of your magazine.The aim in this essay is to acquaint the examiner with the area of research and to demonstrate one's grasp of how genre "works".

One cannot, for reasons of space, offer the examiner everything one understands about genre but one can touch most of the appropriate bases.

This Claire does admirably. She demonstrates a clear grasp on the way readers (consumers), producers, institution, and advertisers interact.

Genre Considerations

'Your Horse' falls into the generic category of 'equestrian magazine'.  It builds its image for the reader through the application of a clear generic formula.  The generic formula employed by a particular magazine is of utmost importance in terms of audience recognition.  'Your horse' is targeted at a very specialised audience, and therefore has a relatively small circle of competitors.  Still, the magazine must construct itself as something original, with its own distinct style and content, in order that it may sell to its chosen audience.  We see that delicate balance of similarity, yet difference.

'Your horse' places its average reader as 32 years old , although the target audience is of a fairly wide age group, yet clearly not inclusive of children.  This is signified by the layout and chosen fonts.  They are clear and uncluttered in style, unlike equestrian magazines aimed at younger children, who are more concerned with impressive, eye-catching presentation rather than textual content.  This is backed up by the cover price of £2.60, which, it would be expected, is a little too expensive for those relying on 'pocket-money' as their only source of income .  

This price tag correctly suggests the magazine is a glossy publication.  The presentation is of high quality, with clear, crisp printing on high-grade paper.  These elements enable the magazine to tell its audience that it is aiming for sophisticated readerships, who are serious about their equestrian interest .

In terms of advertising content, 'Your Horse' contains advertisements for a wide variety of equestrian products, from horse clothing and feed through to insurance and health improving supplements.  An average of two advertisements per issue are for Internet websites offering advice on veterinary and general care issues, as well as mail order and horses for sale, presuming their audience have Internet access readily available.  

These advertisements again reinforce the idea that the target audience of 'Your Horse' must be serious about their interest, and eager to offer their horse the best standard of care they can.

'Your Horse' has secured for itself an unusually high spending target audience .  Further to this, due to the nature of the hobby, there is a definite commitment of audience to long term spending.  Consequently, the selling of readership to advertisers is highly appealing and also highly lucrative.

'Your Horse' addresses its readership in a direct manner throughout the magazine.  The audience is addressed as "you" in a majority of the articles, although the language used is not particularly colloquial.  The direct mode of address could be attributed to the style of article included in 'Your Horse'.  

The magazine's primary aim is to inform and educate, and therefore offers advice to readers, "You may think that your horse's mouth is no different to that of his predecessors."  The lexical choice of the magazine is quite advanced.  In the above example, we see the word "predecessors" is used.  This word would not appear in a magazine aimed at a younger or lesser-educated audience, adding a further specification to the audience profile of 'Your Horse' - that of readers being in possession of a fair degree of intelligence.

In terms of the content page, 'Your Horse' splits this double page spread into four sub-titles ("Features", "Regulars", "Products" and "Competitions and offers").  Further to this, there is a separate content list, bordered off from the main list, which is devoted to the "22 Pages of Horse Answers".   This 'problem page' style section begins on page 30 every issue, and opens with the "Horse Care" advice.  Although the other sub-titles remain the same each issue, their order is changed.  However, the consistent positioning of this part of the magazine ensures the reader can become quickly familiar with the publication.  Reader friendliness and accessibility are signalled, in that, for example, a reader will soon learn that she can turn to page 30, and be sure to find her "Horse Answers", complete with their own 'mini' contents page.

The overall 'look' of 'Your Horse', is simple at one level, and at another, sophisticated.  In terms of the cover, chosen fonts are all simple and extremely clear, and anything other than very simple graphics and imaging are completely avoided.  With such a simple and basic cover, how, then, does 'Your Horse' attract its readership (one of moderately high income and a serious equestrian)?  To answer this, one must consider the other styles of equestrian magazines available.  

Many of these (such as 'Pony Magazine' and 'Horse and Pony') are aimed at children and young teens.  These can be distinguished by common use of garish colours and complex fonts, combined with more 'flashy' looking graphic effects.  In terms of generic formulae, these ingredients have come to signify to the equestrian readership a certain type of magazine (i.e. one for the stereotypical 'pony-mad girl').  'Your Horse', it could be said, have tried to suggest their relevance to the 'serious equestrian' through lack of 'flashy', 'show-off' ingredients.  

They are saying to the reader, "We know that your priority lies with practical care and learning about your horse, not with what the magazine looks like.  'Your Horse' has the same priorities."  Here, then, form is dictated by content, and consequently a certain sophisticated 'less is more' elegance ensues.

Average article lengths in 'Your Horse' are three single pages, where text and images take up around 50 percent of the article each.  However, although the text to image split is roughly equal, the magazine is still quite text intensive, with font size being quite low, and large blocks of text not uncommon.  This clearly signifies that the publication is for people who want to learn something from their magazine, rather than simply 'look at the pictures'.  

It could, then, be presumed that 'Your Horse' does not have a 'pick-up-and-put-down' quality.  This, I feel, would be an incorrect assumption.  Due to the publication's huge content in terms of advice and information, they have adopted a wide variety of presentational techniques.  

The magazine contains, as previously mentioned, a 22-page section of 'question and answer' style letters, which can be read individually, or in the topic-divided groups of two to four pages.  'Your Horse' also makes use of 'photo guide' style articles, where step-by-step photos are accompanied by small textual captions or paragraphs.  

This method helps to reduce the concentration of text, giving an article its full information intensity, while the amount of text used is far less daunting.  This variation in display methods also gives the magazine a sense of 'easy reference'.  Readers feel they can keep the magazine to refer back to, like an 'equestrian encyclopaedia'.  This also explains the perfect-bound format of the magazine in terms of improved durability when 'thumbed through' time and time again.

We can now suggest the precise generic formula of 'Your Horse' magazine.  It is an equestrian magazine, aimed at the ABC1 social group .  The magazine combines ingredients in the following ways to create its successful formula: the use of high quality, glossy paper to suggest quality and sophistication, direct mode of address (use of the pronoun "you") to encourage a sense of reader-magazine interaction, repetitive positioning of question and answer pages, enabling familiarity and stressing the main topic of the magazine (that of information/education for the reader), and a range of highly varied article display methods to give the magazine its 'keepability'.  When 'mixed' together, these ingredients form the successful formula that has led to 'Your Horse' becoming "Britain's best-selling horse monthly" .

Representation Issues

The issue of representation is central to any magazine, as it is through this that the publication builds up the “world” of its readers.  'Your Horse' is no exception.  As discussed in the 'Genre' section above, the magazine is aimed at those in the ABC1 social category, who have an average household income of £29,000, therefore, the magazine's representational outlook, it stands to reason, must reflect this.

The magazine features pictures that are a mix of posed models, and 'real' people.  The models featured are 'made down' to look as if they spend their time 'on the yard' tending to their animals.  However, as many horse owners will testify, these images are not those of real horsewomen.  

All this aside, though, the magazine could not realistically feature unkempt and filthy women, who look like they've never seen a hairbrush.  This is for the simple reason that images of such women would break the norms of magazine publishing;  “You do not publish images of untidy/dirty people in your magazine, unless the article is about such issues."  

The images of 'real' people in the magazine are in the form of competition winners or those in the “Private Lessons” feature of the magazine, where three readers are given a problem-solver lesson.  Even here, though, the readers are well presented, and certainly do not look as though they have just groomed, mucked out a stable and cleaned their tack.

The other photographic images to consider, of course, are those of the horses.  Needless to say, they are all of well groomed, shiny-coated animals.  It is an unspoken rule in the world of 'Your Horse' that you do not harm your animal, rather you give him the best possible care you can.  The featuring of advertisements for equine charities backs up this 'rule'.  Here, we do see images of emaciated animals, however, these images are usually shown as the initial photograph in a “before/after” combination, and the horse is shown looking healthy after a complete recovery.  Further to this, the animals featured are all athletic looking; there are no 'heavy' or draught horses, or tiny, tubby-looking ponies.  This suggests that the 'Your Horse' reader is encouraged to be one who requires a horse fit for competing.

To assess the representational content of 'Your Horse', one must also look at what is not there.  There is no mention of fox hunting at all, and through this omission, the publication expresses its lack of support for this activity.  However, by choosing to take an 'impartial' approach (i.e. not included anti-hunting features), 'Your Horse' avoids giving rise to complaints and debates being put forward by readers.

It can also be noted that there is a distinct lack of males featured in the magazine.  This is actually highlighted by a reader in the letters section of one issue.  Here the reader correctly points out that there are no images of men other than those of vets, and a regular feature by Ross Simpson (“The Parelli Natural Horsemanship System”).  He then goes on to acknowledge that a female on the front cover may sell more issues, and also that there are more female riders than male.  However, as there are male riders out there (this letter proves this), perhaps 'Your Horse' should consider using male images more consistently within their publication.

In terms of age representation, there seems to be a lower age limit on those featured in the magazine.  There is no evidence of anyone unde the age of 20 years being featured, although (and I am an example at the age of 18) there are readers under this age.  20 years is also a reasonable distance from the magazine's average reader age of 32 years.  

The upper age limit is less easy to see, although there is certainly nobody above the age of 40 in the magazine, although one could be quite sure there are readers above this age.  So, then, it would seem that 'Your Horse' is, through its selection of (roughly) a 20 year age bracket, discriminating against those outside of this age group.  However, this could be counter-argued through noting that this is the age bracket approximately ten years either side of the average reader age, and therefore the magazine's target audience; they cannot include everyone in their magazine, and must (like all magazines) make a selection.

Like all hobby magazines, 'Your Horse' takes it as normal for a reader to go out at the weekend and spend £150 on a rug for their horse. However, to anyone outside of the 'hobby' this may seem like a huge sum of money to part with for something, which is, at the end of the day, a glorified raincoat.  This allows for advertisers to move in and place advertisements for expensive items such as this.  It is also seen within the magazine, that the horse is subject to fragmentation.  He is broken down into a number of parts, and the items required for this part of the horse are targeted upon the reader.  For example, 'the head' may be one part, and for this, the rider requires a bridle (cue bridlework companies), a headcollar (cue headcollar manufacturers), and leadrope.  Further to this, the bridle is made up of six individual pieces, four of which offer the reader a selection of choices, depending both upon needs and also taste.  So we see how the gap for advertisers is quickly widened.  And all the while, the reader has it suggested to them that this type of extravagant spending is 'the norm'.  This could be seen to connect to the commonly seen fragmentation of the female body in women's magazines.  

This is even more justifiable when you consider that the target readership for 'Your Horse' are female, and so the concept of fragmentation (whether they realise it or not) is not alien to them.

In terms of selling to the reader, it could be felt that 'Your Horse' pushes grooming strongly.  Featured horses have gleaming coats, and a whole feature is dedicated to testing grooming kit boxes.  While domesticated horses are endlessly groomed, their semi-wild relatives on the American plains, Mustangs, rarely even see a human, let alone are they touched by one.  These Mustangs seem to remain seemingly well looking, with shiny coats, and healthy hooves.  Perhaps, then, in this area of equestrianism, 'Your Horse' is aiming its attention more towards the benefit of the advertisers (and therefore the magazine's profits) than towards the reader's welfare.

Overall, then, 'Your Horse' constructs a world for its reader in which her friends are majority female, she buys for herself an athletic horse, with stamina and the ability to jump.  This reader has a relatively large disposable income with which to indulge her horse, she is aged 20-40 years, and does not agree with hunting.  This woman, the magazine implies, does not argue that her 'hobby' is of unjustified expense, and therefore leaves herself open to any number of advertisers trying to sell her everything her horse could ever need (or that the advertisers would like her to think her horse needs).

According to the 'Your Horse' ideology, a good horsewoman (note woman, not 'man' or 'person') takes her 'hobby' seriously, her horse is the most important thing in her life.  She is prepared to spend if it means a better quality of life for her horse, and, perhaps more importantly, considers this as 'normal'.  

The magazine's ideology also stretches to include the 'good horse' as well.  This horse is one that is athletically built, muscular, with a shiny coat.  The animal is well schooled, but by no means perfect.  The pair live in a world that is clearly idealistic, with the optimum care routine a requirement, not a possibility for only the lucky ones.  In reality this cannot be true, as, for example, not everyone has a flat, surfaced, well-drained arena in which to school their horse.  Still, 'Your Horse' pushes this 'rose-tinted' image of horse ownership, and is the readership perhaps, subconsciously, seeing this image as a mirror reflection of themselves?

Audience Considerations

It would seem that the audience most likely read 'Your Horse' because they get something out of it.  It meets their 'needs' in some way.  

This would illustrate 'Uses and Gratification Theory', in that the audience are an active (not passive) group of consumers.  

The audience chooses to buy the magazine, and do not buy it purely because the media tells them to.  Although the audience is a group, they are not clones behaving in the same way.

 There are a huge number of individual, varied repertoires of reception.

 After brief but intensive research into the methods by which people read their copy of 'Your Horse', I have found that, while some read the magazine thoroughly from cover to cover, others begin at the back, and some 'pick' their way through, selecting things from the contents page that they find interesting.

I did find that one particularly common thing amongst readers was to store copies of the magazine for the long-term.  These receivers said that they found the magazine had a sort of 'encyclopaedic' quality, and they could refer back to it if and when they had a problem that had been covered by the magazine.  This 'hoarding'/archiving results in a good selling point for the publishers.  They know that their magazine is often guaranteed a long-term stay in a home, and this is attractive to the potential advertiser.

As the main selling point for the magazine (especially for new readers) is its front cover, it is no surprise that the first pages turned to are those of the featured articles advertised upon the glossy sleeve.  Another popular page given first priority by many readers is page 30.  As I mentioned in the 'Genre' section of this essay, this is where the '22 Pages of Horse Answers' begins in every issue.  This would indicate some sort of co-dependence of this feature with the audience.  If the audience did not read these answers, the magazine would not place them in an easy to locate, priority position (which is also colour-coded in purple).  Likewise, if they were not so easily located, then the chances are that they would not be as commonly read, although circumstances do not allow me to prove this.

'Your Horse' magazine is offered with some sort of 'freebie' in all three of my selected issues.  This could be an incentive to the audience to buy, but as the majority of 'Your Horse' buyers (96%) are regular readers of the magazine, perhaps this is not such an important issue for the publishers.  However, it could be that these 'freebies' (often a mail order catalogue) are what some readers feel they need, whether consciously or not, and these are therefore a contributing factor as to why a consumer chooses to buy.

As I mentioned in the 'representation' section of this essay, there is a complete lack of racial variety within the magazine.  

Is it that there aren't equestrian people who are not Caucasian (a highly unlikely prospect), or that the magazine simply chooses not to represent them.  Either way, the lack of inclusion of members of other racial denominations is probably reflected quite clearly in the magazine's audience, although I cannot prove this.  If this is true, the cause is probably a mixture of both a real lack of Asian or black riders (I myself know of only one black professional show jumper), and a lack of interest due to no representation of themselves within the pages of the magazine.

 If you were to look in a mirror and not see yourself, would you bother to look in it again?

The audience of 'Your Horse' then, is, like many audiences, an example of the 'Uses and Gratification Theory'.  They purchase for a reason, individual to themselves, and are therefore an active group. It is only with this established that we can begin to understand why the publication does some of the things it does, and why it does them in the ways it does.

This is clearly an excellent analysis it touches the bases demanded by the board,it is clearly structured and well "evidenced". It is often eloquent and always academically "correct" and suffers from no lapses from the  logic of a clear "reading" of the evidence. Her use of Media Studies language is confident and appropriate. This adoption of an appropriate discourse is something Claire had to learn and familiarise herself with. It comes with reading Media Studies texts and practice

Claire knows her mag; Claire knows her media studies theory and puts forward a cogent and insightful argument.

This is an excellent summary and a useful model for your revision and consolidation of material in readiness for the exam. You should all attempt something like this for each of the three magazines you are researching as an invitation to compare genre is a likely exam question....

Claire’s inverted commas caution around the word real is to be praised.The same caution should be exercised around natural as often people use natural when they mean learned

EXCELLENT point, absence is a huge signifier or you could even say “Absence is as much a signifier as presence”

Where are the ordinary pot bellied spotty balding un hygienic, spindly legged, un sporty blokes in MH?

Another perceptive section

Body fragmentation is at the centre of MH where every portion of the anatomy presents as a problem so the mag or the advertisers can offer/sell a solution

A nice aside here from Claire aimed at women’s mags that invented total fragmentation of a woman’s body parts.Below you will find a brief critique of body fragmentation.It relates to a girl’s mag but could it relate just as well to MH?

Claire never had any time for hypodermic syringe models of communication,she prefers to insist on an active model and a repertoire of possible readings. Students must be familiar with this basic divide between the silly passive model and the more likely active model of media effects and affects.What people do with media rather than what it does to them.

An interesting article here on lad mags in general, very useful quotations Click the theory logo


The text and photographs found in “19” also seem to emphasise a woman's appearance. By putting a large accent on an image “19” magazine eclipses other parts of femininity. There is nothing in “19” to suggest that intelligence is important. The language is simple, the articles relatively small and the topics of debate limited to the superficial and shallow, such as " The #1 sex trick" and " How to look cool when you've been stood up". There is no mention of politics, education, careers or environmental issues. “19” breaks down the female body into parts to be looked after and maintained. By fragmenting the body in this way “19” is helping the cosmetic and fashion industries  to sell products.

In one issue they had a “Hair special”, advertising “the hottest hair products on the high street”, from which the reader could buy the “best”, conditioners, hairsprays, mousses, serums, shampoos, hair masks, curl developers, smoothing milks, waxes, relaxers, gels and straightners for everything that might be wrong with their hair, such as needing it smoother, curlier, fuller, thicker, softer, straighter or wavier and that perhaps it “needs” correcting, shaping, moisturising, protecting and repairing.

Readers may feel insecure about  their appearance, the adverts are there selling beauty and fashion products, offering them relatively cheap ways to improve their looks. (See Appendix 3) Occasionally there might be an article that contradicts “19”'s body maintenance ideology such as an article in last Octobers issue called “Could you live without your beauty routine?”. Of course, the answer was no!!!

The magazine plays on its readers' insecurities and then offers to help in the shape of products. They sell the idea that if you improve yourself you can become more like this mythic ideal and therefore be happier. Notions of lifestyle and culture link representation to ideology, as they are formed by values, beliefs and attitudes. The dominant ideology found in "19" magazine promotes self adornment and body maintenance consumerism.

Another excellent summary her intro line “A good horsewoman is

might be used to outline the man in MH. A man is under 35 usually white.......etc...etc