DC Thomson’s ‘freemium’ Living magazine grows to nine editions

DC Thomson’s ‘freemium’ Living magazine grows to nine editions

Just six years after Living was first unveiled, DC Thomson’s free, luxury lifestyle magazine adds a ninth edition with the launch of Ness & Moray. The new addition, covering Inverness and surrounding areas, takes the number of separate regional versions of Living published to nine and the number of copies to 187,000 each quarter.

First published in spring 2016 with Perth & Kinross, the glossy title is distributed to homes, high-end business and hotels across much of Scotland.

Sitting at five regions before pausing in 2020 due to lockdown, it subsequently bounced back with four editions launched since then.

Editions now include Tay & Forth (Fife and Tayside); Capital and Capital South (Edinburgh/East Lothian); Kelvin & Clyde and Clyde & Cart (two Glasgow editions), Allan & Forth (Stirlingshire); Dee & Don (Aberdeenshire) and the new Ness & Moray (Inverness/Highlands) edition.

According to Living’s editor, Chae Strathie, the magazine aims to celebrate the very best of each of its edition areas. “We focus on the people who make the areas what they are, with particular emphasis on lifestyle, arts & crafts, culture, food and business,” he says. “We highlight artisans and artists, those who create luxury products and people who work in high end roles in fields our readers will find fascinating.”

Aimed at the highest demographic households in each area, readers are nearly twice as likely to have £100K+ in savings/investments than the average Scot. Family income is 30% higher than the Scottish average.

The magazine provides national-quality writing and design – led by design team Aileen Wilkie and Ailsa Smart – while running area-specific features. Likewise, the design ethos is to create a luxury and creative look and feel that encourages people to keep the magazines in their home for longer than would normally be the case with free titles.

The approach has attracted high-end advertising clients who recognise the value in targeted advertising in such a good-looking title. The magazine’s reputation for excellent content alongside big name advertisers has allowed it to attract clients in new areas and grow the brand to its current level.

“We aim to take ‘freemium’ to a new level,” says Chae. “The key to our success – and what sets us apart, I believe – is the quality of our writing, our stylish design and the stunning achievements of our sales team, led by Pauline McCart, in attracting such high-end clients to a free title.

“Editorial and commercial work hand-in-hand and have a very positive, mutually respectful relationship. However, although our revenue is 100% advertising driven the editorial content is completely independent of that, so our readers never feel they are simply being fed puff pieces. Advertisers of the quality we aim for appreciate that and want to be part of something that is widely distributed, highly targeted but is also a great read and looks fantastic.

“A regular comment we get from readers and clients alike is ‘I can’t believe this is free’ – which means we must be doing something right!”