Plenty have tried - and failed - to publish a magazine in Thailand. And they include the BigChilli
Magazine publishing reached its zenith in Thailand in the early 2000s, with every Dom, Tik and Hari believing they could, and should, get into a business they really didn’t understand.
Not surprisingly, most quickly went of business, a lot worse-off than they ever thought possible. One would-be lady publisher lost her house and land to pay off debts amassed in her pursuit to become Thailand’s version of Conde Nast, while others kissed goodbye to lifetime savings – and their partners in a couple of cases.
In the last issue of the BigChilli, we featured the front covers of some of the English language magazines that once graced the shelves of Bangkok’s bookshops. Here are few more:
Clearly, publishing isn’t as easy or rewarding as many imagine. And nobody knows that better than the BigChilli, so we’re not gloating.
Gone but not forgotten
Magazines published by the BigChilli over the past 20 years
• JOURNEYS IN ASIA, a glossy magazine for the travel industry, which was put on hold only because we wanted to focus more on The BigChilli. Unfortunately, we never got around to reviving the mag, which is a shame as it was proving very popular.
• THAILAND CATERER & HOTELIER, a trade magazine aimed at the F&B business. We quickly realized that the catering ‘trade’ had their own, very Thai way of twisting arms and securing lucrative contracts!
• ZONE, launched in 2002 and focusing on Bangkok’s booming live music scene. The title was inspired by the then government’s plan to create various zones in the city according to usage, including entertainment. Featuring great design, funky graphics and cool columnists, the magazine was probably too risqué and too far ahead of its time. Even by today’s standards, it’s a good-looking publication.
• COAST, so named to distance this beautiful magazine from its main target market – Pattaya – which didn’t enjoy a particularly good reputation at that time. Rival publishers in the resort proved ruthless with their massive undercutting of our ad rates.
• HUA HIN, another quality travel magazine that proved very popular. Logistically, a difficult business proposition that stretched our resources.
• PULSE, a racy tabloid newspaper for Bangkok and “guide to the city’s heartbeat” including our second stab at the music scene. Bangkokians never did take to tabloids.
• VISITORS’ GUIDE, offering tourists all they needed to know about Bangkok’s exotic nightlife. Another tabloid that hit the dust, killed off by dozens of cheaper guides.
• HOMES, launched as a tabloid to capture the boom in Thailand’s real estate scene in the early 2000s. Advertisers preferred to be in the glossy pages of the BigChilli.
• GOLF, a newspaper hoping to cash in on the sudden and massive increase in the game. It should have been in Thai or even Japanese.
• THAILAND TRAVEL & MICE UPDATE, Created specifically for travel companies based in the UK and Ireland. Supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, which ran out of budget.
We have also produced quality magazines for the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT), the British Club Bangkok, various embassies and private companies. Other publications include a guide to Thailand spas and a review of the country’s golf courses.
Over to you, Mark Zucherberg!