“From the makers of Maverick ” the posters announce, “Empire, coming soon” – to a newsstand near you that is, writes Bate Felix.
Empire, described as a magazine that will focus on everything a media empire would be interested in, is the latest brainchild of Branko Brkic , the founder and editor of Maverick magazine. He’s been joined in the venture by Kevin Bloom, former editor and founder of The Media magazine, who joined Brkic and the Maverick team last year as editor-at-large. He will jointly edit Empire.

Late in 2005, Brkic caused some ripples in the business magazine publishing world with the lunch of Maverick, which he described then as a magazine for people who don’t see the upside of being bored, a magazine that is informative, engrossing and good-looking.

The magazine did set new standards with its bold looks, feel and story telling ideas and might have influenced other established business magazines to go back to the drawing board.

It is this same attitude that Brkic said will drive the new publication.

“Maverick is a herald of great things to come” he said, “It is the showcase of our approach to publishing.

“The overwhelming positive response we have been having told me that there are people who care about what they are reading.”

Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figures put Maverick at about 3,397 sales (and 20,458 free because of an in-flight magazine deal with Kulula.)

“When you look at the current magazine readership, you realise that people don’t read, they mostly browse through them. I am obsessive about getting people to love your read and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

A publication must lead the readers and surprise them, if they don’t get new insights, surprise and pleasure, he said, the magazine is not doing its job.

“Being an eternal optimist and opportunist, we saw a gap for a maverick-like magazine whose field of play would be everything a media empire would invest in.”

Empire magazine will cover everything and every aspect from journalism to publishing, editing and communications, advertisement and marketing, theatre, cinema and television to music and the arts.

He said the reasons for the new publication are not just commercial, but also for the greater good of the society, and he hopes it will serve as a tool to stir debate about issues affecting media in the society.

It is for these reasons that many high end writers and columnist have signed up to write for the magazine.

Brkic said they are targeting a print run of about ten to fifteen thousand, with the core going to subscribers while also placing some on newsstands. The price will be comparable to that of Maverick, which sells for R 27.50.