The Hearst Corporation is a large conglomerate involved in various areas of communications such as magazines, newspapers, internet businesses, television and radio broadcasting, operating six television stations and seven radio stations. The Hearst Corporation was founded by William Randolph Hearst, who was a proprietor and editor, in 1887 when he revived The San Francisco Examiner by investing in talented journalists and modern printing techniques.
He entered the magazine business by introducing Motor magazine in 1903 which today is a magazine published for car-care professionals by Hearst Business Media. He went on to aquire Cosmopolitan magazine in 1905 which at the time was a popular fiction monthly. The National Magazine Company Limited was established in 1910 and went on to aquire many other magazines to become one of the United Kindoms leading publishers at the present time. Today The Hearst Corporation is under the leadership of Victor F. Ganzi and includes more than 100 separate businesses.
The company as a whole has the values of public service broadcasting to inform, educate, entertain and inspire millions of readers, viewers and listeners in virtually every area of communications. 2 The National Magazine company is a small conglomerate in itself having a dominant share in AIM Publications which was renamed NatMag Specialist Media Ltd and also owning NatMag Contract Publishing.
COMAG is jointly owned by The National Magazine Company and Conde Nast Publications Ltd. Since May 2004 The National Magazine Company also owns 51% of what is now called NatMag Rodale Ltd. which publishes Mens Health and Runners World. In total the company publishes seventeen titles including, Company, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, She, Zest and Esquire. Each are branded by creating a separate image or personality and so are individually strong and successful due to careful market targeting and product positioning.
Therefore The National Magazine Company is very successful, being a dominating company in the market, one in three women and one in seven men in Britain read a magazine published by The National Magazine Company. The content of womens magazines varies from title to title, but they all share a common aim to guide women on how to be better. 3 This statement is very true and can be seen in the very early womens magazines to the magazines aimed at women these days, however the idea of better has changed with time. Womens magazines have influenced generations of women providing an aspect of self help and improvement.
This tradition is evident in womens magazines today, especially in Cosmopolitan, however the advice is very different to what it was in early publications of womens magazines due to changes in society. The Ladies Mercury was one of the earliest articles on home management and fiction. The contents of early magazines were rather dull and reflected the editiors views on how young women should behave. The editor of The Ladies Diary determined that his magazine should advice his readers: What all young women ought to be- innocent, modest, instructive and agreeable.
This is far from what womens magazines present today, due to feminists fighting for and obtaining equal rights for women, allowing them to gain more dominant roles in society and move into the workplace resulting in most womens magazines being edited and published by women themselves, so presenting the dominant values and ideologies believed by women to produce what women want to read. However, it could be said when considering the hypodermic needle theory that it is the values put forward in the media that influence women, which I will discuss further.
Developments in printing technologies and distribution made magazines more available. There became a new audience of working women who read all-fiction weeklies and the new magazine industry was supported by companies who realised they could advertise in these magazines read by the new audience who had their own money to spend. In the second world war these magazines became noticed as an important form of communication with the female population and began to provide advice such as how to stretch food rations. After the war the fictional content of magazines was mixed with fashion, furnishing and food.