Monocle expands to Hong Kong, shuns social media

Monocle expands to Hong Kong, shuns social media

Tyler Brûlé makes Monocle magazine profitable by selling tote bags, CDs and BlackBerries and -- gasp -- not through social media
Monocle in Hong Kong
(From left to right) Monocle founder Tyler Brûlé, his assistant Alexander Mills, and editor Andrew Tuck get their mug shots on J. Crew's website.

Tyler Brûlé is funding the expansion of Monocle magazine to Hong Kong through branded merchandising. The global affairs, culture and design glossy magazine has sold some 8,000 Monocle branded bags in the past three years at its retail shops in London and LA, the proceeds of which are going to support the move.

Despite many predictions of the magazine's demise, Brûlé says to the Guardian that the company is making profit ahead of schedule. While many publications are floundering, Monocle is staying in the black by charging US$112 for ten issues a year sent to its 15,000 global subscribers. Its retail stores stock $1,425 branded BlackBerries as well as $30 CDs, and Monocle staff moonlight as J. Crew models.

Although Brûlé is on the board of directors for social networking service Dopplr, he only has this to say about jumping on the social media marketing bandwagon:

"Media owners don't want to be seen as old farts and feel they need to be Twittering under the table. If you want journalism across six different platforms then something's got to give and there's a lot of mediocrity across six platforms."

The future Monocle bureau in Hong Kong will most probably have a retail store attached.

After traveling around the world on a fistful of dollars, Zoe returns to Hong Kong, where she grew up, to discover and write about all the inspiring stuff that happens here on a daily basis.

Read more about Zoe Li
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