Pinpointing exactly how far IPC's roots stretch back into the midst of publishing history is a complicated business. The International Publishing Corporation Ltd was formed in 1963 following the merger of the UK's three leading magazine publishers - George Newnes, Odhams Press and Fleetway Publications - who came together with the Mirror Group to form the International Publishing Corporation (IPC). And IPC Magazines was created five years later, in 1968. But those three original magazine businesses each had their own illustrious history, having been established in 1881, 1890 and 1880 respectively, with a number of the titles they launched in the late 19th Century still being published today under the IPC umbrella. And when The Field, launched in 1853, joined the IPC stable in 1994 following the acquisition of Harmsworth Magazines, it saw our family tree reach back even further.
The IPC story has taken many fascinating twists and turns in that 150-year period, as our timeline below reveals.
• The Field launched in 1853 and within a year became the largest newspaper in Europe, with 24 pages. It had its own correspondent throughout the Crimean War and its November 18, 1854 issue ran a series of personal narratives of those who took part in the Charge of the Light Brigade.
• Eight further IPC titles that are still thriving today were launched in the late 1800s: Country Life, Horse & Hound, Shooting Times, Yachting World, Amateur Gardening, Cycling Weekly, Amateur Photographer and The Railway Magazine*.
• Competitions played a key role in sales promotions for all early IPC titles, and none more so than the sensational prize offered by the fledgling magazine, Answers, in 1889 - the then unheard of fortune of £1 a week for life to any reader who could guess the amount of gold and silver in the Bank of England on a given date.
The early 1900s
• The first of IPC's four traditional women's weeklies, Woman's Weekly, launched in November 1911 under the editorial banner "our motto - practical and useful". The same year, golfers north of the border got the first copies of their own new title, Golf Monthly.
• Homes & Gardens became one of the first magazines to be published after the First World War. Its early issues were distinctly down to earth, with features ranging from how to 'Wash at home with a machine', to the shrewd idea of 'combining the kitchen with the scullery'.
• Odhams launched the new monthly Ideal Home in opposition to Newnes' Homes & Gardens. Its first editor, Captain GC Clarke, wanted it to strive against "the erection of hideous houses which go to mar the beauty of what would under any other circumstances be the most ideal and beautiful environment," referring to the government's promise in 1921 to build 100,000 houses as part of its post-war planning.
• woman&home entered the market in 1926, and by its third birthday in 1929 had grown to a steady 144 pages, majoring on fiction.
• The 1932 launch of Woman's Own heralded the arrival of one of IPC's traditional 'Big Two', with the appearance of Woman following just five years later. Newnes promoted its first issue of Woman's Own with a free cover-mounted gift - three skeins of wool with every copy! The first issue of Woman in 1937 cost 2d and was the first full-colour magazine at that price.
• Other titles launched in this decade included Caravan*, Stamp Magazine* and Prediction*.
• A key wartime role was played by IPC's women's weeklies, keeping up the morale of Britain's women and supplying an essential information service on behalf of the Government. Many of the Woman covers from the wartime years are regarded as classic works of art in their own right, while wartime Woman's Own covers played their own part in rallying women to the wartime cause.
• The upsurge in the music scene heralded the arrival of New Musical Express in 1952. Launched amidst the heady days of Radio Luxembourg, NME set the ball rolling with its compilation of the first official UK record chart - topping that bill as Britain's very first number one was Al Martino's Here In My Heart.
• Following the arrival of ITV in 1955, TVTimes, operating out of a tiny office in High Holborn, published its first issue - in black & white - covering the new commercial stations. The cover stars were Lucille Ball and Patricia Dainton, star of the 15-minute daily soap opera, Sixpenny Corner. Originally published by the ITV companies, TVTimes was acquired by IPC in 1989 in the run-up to the deregulation of the TV listings market.
• Life for magazine staff would never be the same again following the 1963 formation of the International Publishing Corporation, bringing together the three rival magazine companies, Newnes, Fleetway and Odhams Press. Traditional competitors found themselves all working for the same parent company - Ideal Home and Homes & Gardens, Woman and Woman's Own, to name but a few.
• 1969 saw the birth of a new football weekly - Shoot!* - launched to capitalise on the upsurge of interest in the game generated by England's World Cup victory three years earlier.
• The Reed Group acquires IPC in 1970 to form the giant global corporation, Reed International.
• IPC welcomed the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to its King's Reach Tower HQ. HRH drops in on Horse & Hound, Country Life, Woman and Woman's Own, while Prince Philip makes a solo visit to Angler's Mail and Yachting Monthly.
• Not a lot of people know it, but IPC was at the forefront of the pre-recorded video market with the formation of the IPC video division in 1976. One notable early launch was the home video of Joan Collins' The Stud.
• Succesful launches included Aeroplane Monthly*, Sporting Gun and SuperBike*.
• IPC announces the formation of European Magazines Ltd., a joint venture company with Groupe Marie Claire to launch the UK edition of the international title Marie Claire in 1988.
• In a scheme to encourage and honour editorial excellence within the company, the IPC Editorial Awards are introduced, now a key event in the company calendar.
• IPC embarks upon the biggest sales campaign in its history, spearheaded by 21 of its top editors - the first ad features 'Four of Britain's Most Influential People' - the editors of its women's weeklies.
• The launch issue of Essentials is a sell-out, and after just six issues launches in France as Avantages, in conjunction with Groupe Marie Claire. Other new IPC titles on the newstand include 4x4*, Eventing, Chat, Mizz*, Motor Caravan Magazine*, Wedding & Home*, Country Homes & Interiors, Classic Boat*, Model Collector*, Motor Boats Monthly, Practical Parenting*, VolksWorld and Bird Keeper*.
• With the deregulation of the TV listings market, What's on TV makes its triumphant entrance onto the scene in 1991. In the face of fierce competition, it goes on to become the UK's best-seling magazine, a position it still enjoys today.
• In one of the most dramatic arrivals in publishing history, revolutionary lads title Loaded* hits the newsstands in 1994. Hailed as the outstanding launch of recent years, it spawns countless clones and opens up the whole young men's market.
• The women's weeklies go into overdrive, with IPC acquiring Here! from Gruner & Jahr and merging it into Now, launched in 1996.
• IPC Magazines is sold to Cinven for £860m in 1998, one of the largest management buyouts in UK history.
• IPC Magazines continues to evolve still further in 1999, with the formation of five limited companies based on the former publishing groups - IPC Connect, IPC SouthBank, IPC tx, IPC ignite! and IPC Country & Leisure Media.
• New millennium, new name - IPC Magazines is renamed IPC Media in 2000, a new identity to go hand-in-hand with a strategy based on being a brand-centric business.
• Time Warner acquires IPC Media for a cool £1.15bn in October 2001 - the biggest magazine deal ever seen in the UK and the biggest transatlantic media deal of our time.
• ignite! launches Nuts, the world's first men's weekly magazine, in January 2004. Backed by an £8 million marketing investment, it's the biggest launch in IPC's history.
• After 30 years in King's Reach Tower, IPC announces in May 2004 that it is to move into brand new offices next to the Tate Modern in 2007.
• IPC Connect unveils the new generation Real Life weekly for women - Pick Me Up in January 2005. The launch is backed by a £6million marketing investment and with the largest sampling exercise in UK magazine history.
• IPC tx unveils TVeasy in April 2005 - the third major launch in 16 months from IPC Media's innovations programme, initiated by chief executive Sylvia Auton in 2003. The magazine is Britain's very first compact paid-for TV Listings weekly and is backed by a £10million marketing investment.
• In Feb 2007 IPC Connect launches Look - the UK's first glossy high street fashion and celebrity style weekly magazine. In a joint venture with Groupe Marie Claire, and backed by an £18m investment, LOOK is IPC's biggest ever launch.
• In November 2007, IPC Inspire acquires TrustedReviews.com - the website that delivers original, expert reviews about consumer electronics & IT equipment across 21 different product categories.
• In January 2010, IPC Media restructured around three key audience groups: men, mass-market women and up-market women.
• In June 2011, IPC Connect launches a major new brand - Feelgood games - targeting mass market mums with the very best games and rewarding them with real gifts.
*No longer owned by IPC Media
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