I got my hands on a copy of the media kit for ADV’s new magazine PiQ. Since I didn’t see any note of this over at Brigid’s always-excellent Mangablog (http://www.mangablog.net/), I assumed no one else has posted about this yet. So let’s pour over the entrails together, shall we?
Designed to replace the popular Newtype USA, PiQ (pronounced “peek”) (although I keep saying “pie-cue” whenever I see it) is taking a hard line away from the beleaguered anime industry and branching out to be the high-end American Otaku lifestyle magazine of choice. Why? Well, as I mentioned the anime industry may have had its worst year ever in 2007 (although I see them regrouping and putting it all together in the second half of ’08), and because as Naruto has shown us, Japanese culture is more than just anime (or manga), and with North American iterations of previously Japanese-only endeavours like Capsule Toys, Manga, Gothic Lolita Culture, and anime making their mark on the nerd-culture industry, it looks like a license of a Japanese magazine covering a troubled industry just wasn’t going to cut it, going forward.

But the question is, will PiQ?

The PiQ media-kit I received included a letter from Publisher Gary Steinman, outlining the major changes that the magazine will undergo. It’s very important to note that throughout all of the commentary I’ve seen from ADV on this matter, including the media kit, PiQ is being treated as a name change to Newtype USA, and not as an entirely new magazine. While I have no firm answer as to why this is, I’d speculate that declaring it to be the same magazine but with a name change (not to mention a substantial format change…) means you get to maintain your existing distribution and subscription arrangements. But it’s pretty clear that the new boss ain’t the same as the old boss.

For starters, the magazine will shrink in size, both in physical dimensions and in page count. The new physical size is 8″ wide x 10″ tall, as compared to Newtype’s 9″ x 12″. The latest issue of Newtype weighs in at 160 pages, and the info for PiQ seems to be saying it’ll drop at around 130 pages. The price is also much lower, with the new magazine retailing for US$6.99/CDN$7.99, versus $12.98/$16.98 for Newtype. Oh, and the magazine will be perfect-bound rather than stapled, which means it’ll have a spine! No more free DVDs with each issue either, so far as I can tell. The big format change? PiQ will drop Newtype’s right-to-left Japanese reading orientation in favour of a standard left-to-right orientation. Essentially, the otherworldy Japanese “object” that was Newtype USA is gone, to be replaced by something that very-much resembles Wizard in size… and in tone.

According again to the Media Kit, the new editorial breakdown for PiQ will be:

    • 20% Anime
    • 20% Gaming
    • 20% U.S. Comics / Japanese Manga
    • 20% Genre Movies / TV / Home Video
    • 10% Toys / Collectibles
    • 5% Gadgets / Hi-Tech Gear
    • 5% Lifestyle (fashion, accessories, events)

Apparently PiQ is “entertainment for the rest of us, squarely addressing the needs of a cutting-edge young male audience,” and they’re estimating a 70/30 split in readership, in favour of male readers. This reads to be to be very, very similar to Wizard magazine, a jack-of-all-trades scenario.

Some final stats from the presentation:

    • PiQ is expected to have a 100,000 circulation at launch, with a target circulation of 150,000 by the end of 2008.
    • PiQ will launch with 15,000 subscribers, all of which are former Newtype USA subscribers. So, now you know how many people subscribed to Newtype.
    • The first issue of PiQ goes on sale March 18th, 2008.

Also included with the material I received, twice, was a mock-up of the first issue over. As noted on the cover itself this is a cover concept only, and is not necessarily going to be the final cover. However, it pretty clearly shows where the magazine is headed, and while it may have the bearing of Wizard, it looks an awful lot like video game magazine PLAY (which I love and is awesome). Lets take a look:

PiQ Issue One Concept Cover - Copyright 2008 AD Vision Inc.

PiQ Issue One Concept Cover – Copyright 2008 AD Vision Inc.

So, what do we see here? Well, the first and most telling thing is the comparison between this cover and the most recent Newtype USA. Where Newtype USA Jan 2008 features the names of tons of new anime series (at least two dozen by my count), an anime creator profile, an anime art book, and the words “Anime, Manga, Games, Music, more!” the focus on the new cover is all over the place. A Tokyo Travelogue! Cosplay! Anime! But also video games and LOST and Battlestar Galactica and Red Hulk and the promise of bulleted lists! (No manga?)

So there you have it, the inside scoop on (what might be) the first issue of PiQ. All you have to go on about this magazine being the same one as Newtype USA is the publisher’s say-so, with the magazine looking significantly different, and more generic, than what has come before. But honestly? This is probably a really smart move on ADV’s part, with magazine publishing being almost entirely advertising-driven, opening up your mag to the extremely lucrative advertising of the extremely lucrative video game field makes a hell of a lot of sense, and ending a licensing agreement for a magazine’s name and content that may or may not be contributing to your bottom line anymore? The same. The only thing up in the air is what the fans, anime fans, Newtype buyers and subscribers, are going to think of something that isn’t quite as OTAKU as they were hoping for. Hey, there’s always Otaku USA for you Otaku out there!

Still, I’m looking forward to the first issue. I think that, much like the comics industry needs something like COMICS FOUNDRY, it also needs something like this to supplant the rampant misogyny in Wizard’s magazine… Good luck guys.

- Christopher


32 Comments on “First Look: ADV’s new PiQ Magazine Media/Vendor Kit”

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  1. a geek by any other name » Blog Archive » More On PiQ says:

    [...] Comic212’s Christopher Butcher received a media kit about ADV’s magazine PiQ, which is apparently both just a name change for Newtype USA and, at the same time, an entirely reworked magazine. [...]

  2. Sesho says:

    I predict this book will bomb. I do not trust ADV. (I have still not gotten over its attempted single handed destruction of the manga industry). They seem to be incompetent at anything they do except making anime dvds. I too agree that Play magazine is great and ADV seems to be at the least “getting inspiration” from their cover designs. Its format, feel, and layout make Play one of the best gaming magazines. It also started to include a lot of information about Japan only games in the past year. Wizard magazine straight up sucks, and Anime Insider is not far behind it. Both are written for young boys. Play Magazine tried a similar thing with Rocket Magazine but I don’t remember seeing any issues of it lately. Has it been cancelled?

  3. Halliday says:

    I don’t know… this sort of reminds me of MiXXZiNE (remember that? Anyone?) after it’s transformation from it’s four issues of SHOUNEN JUMP-esque anthology style phonebook to a multi-media nerd-zine. At least that had Sailor Moon and Gundam going for it (though I hated the two-comic-pages-per-page orientation they switched too…). I think this should do well enough.

  4. DFS says:

    A couple of other reasons this is likely a good move. One, it gets them out from under the licensing agreement and content-sharing arrangement with Kadokawa Shoten (the Japanese publishers of Newtype), which was probably pretty expensive and of questionable value given ADV’s existing relationships with Japanese animation producters. Two, downshifting from the oversized ultra-glossy Newtype format lets them drop down to a reasonable cover price. I dunno who was paying $13 an issue for Newtype USA, but it wasn’t me.

    The decision to cover more gaming content is also not especially shocking when you consider that most of Newtype’s senior staff came from the gaming mags at Ziff-Davis. (Before Newtype, Gary Steinman was the number-two editor on Official US PlayStation Magazine.)

  5. Roger Morse says:

    So my question becomes: What makes this any different than “Wizard Anime Insider”, “Wizard Comics Magazine”, or any other assorted magazines that goes scattershot over the geek culture? oh, right… NOTHING!

    I’m rather disappointed by this, but I guess we could have seen it coming. The price point was too high. I could sell Japanese Newtype for less than the American version and still had a few people picking it up. All most people wanted it for was the “free” DVD anyway and a couple of times I found the freshly purchased magazine laying on the ground outside the store with DVD removed. So I guess ADV could have made a killing putting a couple first episodes and a few trailers on a DVD and selling them for $12.

    I don’t know about advertisers, but being in the anime business, I’d want more bang for my buck, so I’d be more inclined to advertise in a place I *knew* anime fans were reading. Thank goodness Otaku USA & Protoculture Addicts are still around.

  6. Chris says:

    Hey guys,

    I appreciate that you have your opinions about this, positive or negative, but lets all remember that we haven’t actually seen the magazine yet, just gotten an idea of what it might include. I can think of lots of great video game, movie, and gadget coverage that would totally appeal to anime fans, let alone otaku.

    - Chris

  7. danno! says:

    What a waste of trees.

  8. Anime Kakumei » Blog Archive » A sneak peek at PiQ! says:

    [...] Via Animeondvd.com, Comics 212 has gotten ahold of a press kit for ADV’s new magazine PiQ (peek). If you’re interested in seeing in full what ADV’s magazine will look like and cover after Newtype USA is done, I suggest you check out the link. I’ll quickly cover some of the bullet points from the piece though. [...]

  9. Chris says:

    I am sad to see Newtype USA go, though admitedly I have not really attempted to purchase or read an issue of it for some time just due to lack of interest. I think a general pop magazine is a much better route to travel, especially as the US Anime industry is crumbling. However, they will have to be careful not to alienate prior readers, especially with the book intending to be 70% male and only 20% anime.

  10. Jevon says:

    How can this thing stop the misogyny of Wizard, as you put it, while ADV is stating that “entertainment for the rest of us, squarely addressing the needs of a cutting-edge young male audience.” I am sorry, but this magazine is clearly more of the same ignorance that permeates most “geek” print media.

  11. Chris says:

    YES. CLEARLY. EVEN MORE CLEARLY SINCE NO ONE HAS SEEN THE MAGAZINE YET. SURELY THE MEDIA KIT AND A MOCK-UP COVER IS THE CLEAREST PICTURE OF THE CONTENT WE CAN GET. THANK YOU FOR PULLING THE WOOL FROM MY EYES, INTERNET VIGILANTE.

  12. ferricide says:

    yeesh, i don’t see any comments worthy of all caps vitriol, and that’s before i even take into account that we’re talking about anime fandom, which produces some of the most retarded posts on the interwebs.

    full disclosure: i’m talking to senior editor kevin gifford in AIM as i type this, so you could say that i am less than objective about the whole PiQ situation in the sense that this relates to the mortgage of one of my personal friends.

    by the same token, i am a reasonably outspoken critic of the anime and publishing industries.

    my reaction is that this is more like stuff or maxim for geeks, minus the breastises, really. just based on the graphic design and the attitude of the faux-cover. i do not have any inside infoz to confirm or deny this, as kevin is correctly circumspect about these things.

    i think that data that has come out publically makes it clear that the newtype USA business model was not working. now, the thing that would interest me is to find out how much of that was related to the obvious things (paying for the NT license, losing geneon as an advertiser) and how much of that was due to its editorial direction. one thing i think was great about newtype was its gender-neutral design; this screams male, though of course, using appleseed as the cover material really helps enhance that, so this could be related only to the sample image to a large extent.

    as was pointed out in the original post, male-targeting the mag really does increase its advertising potnetial. given that geneon going kerblooey was a probable major contributing factor to the death of NTUSA (geneon was its biggest adveritser) creating new baskets for their eggs seems like a great idea from a “keeping the magazine running” perspective. but it does make it seem less interesting.

    but yes, as is rightly pointed out repeatedly, we really do have no clue what the thing will really be like. so that’s something i’m very much looking forward to finding out.

    viva piq!

  13. Chris says:

    Ferricide- I have an exceptionally low tolerance for self-important fan-wank gnashing-of-teeth, and it’s my blog so I get to make fun of them. Hope that doesn’t offend too much.

    That said, your comment is really interesting. I think that, in general when it comes to anime culture, women (females) really do get the short end of the stick, with releases like Princess Tutu seeming like mana from heaven for most avid viewers, when there really is a ton of material out there to be licensed and enjoyed. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy the manga side of things so much more, the diversity of the material is wonderful. I do think it’s unfortunate that something as ‘neutral’ as NTUSA had to go away, but really, it’s NEWTYPE, you know? Gundam nerds and dudes that want to fuck Rei Ayanami are the #1 readership demo of this magazine in Japan, so it was never THAT female friendly. I think that Protoculture Addicts is a good example of something that is truly nerdcore, almost regardless of gender…

    I think Shoujo beat is selling a little under half of Shonen Jump, which illustrates the relative difference in size for the audience of a lot of this material, but both magazines are selling phenomenally well too, so I think there’s room for something on the stands lit NTUSA… OTAKU USA for example.

    I’m really curious about PiQ, more about the tone that the articles take rather than the content. It’s easy to cover boy-stuff without turning away the girls, but it’s even easier to turn your magazine into a toxic wasteland of “match the face to the boobs” articles.

    - Christopher

  14. Shiroi Hane says:

    I’m trying to figure out if 26 pages (130@20%) of actual anime content with no DVD is a good deal at half the price and I’m really not sure.

  15. Nigorimasen! » Untimely Renewal Letter from Newtype USA says:

    [...] That might understandable when you expect the magazine to continue being printed, but you’d think that the subscription division would hear something from management that THERE WILL BE NO MORE ISSUES AFTER FEBRUARY!!! *sigh* I wonder how many of the other 14,999 subscribers also got this letter. [Figure from here.] [...]

  16. Nigorimasen! » Untimely Renewal Letter from Newtype USA says:

    [...] That might understandable when you expect the magazine to continue being printed, but you’d think that the subscription division would hear something from management that THERE WILL BE NO MORE ISSUES AFTER FEBRUARY!!! *sigh* I wonder how many of the other 14,999 subscribers also got this letter. [Figure from here.] [...]

  17. KyokoHunter says:

    I’m prepared to give the new magazine a chance, but I am concerned that it’s going to lose it’s ‘JDM’ (Japanese Domestic Market) feel and will become a lot more generic in it’s style and content.

    Newtype USA stood out for me as a must-have magazine – even having it imported specially as I live in the UK. I particularly liked the Japanese format, the innovative and eye catching design, unbiased reviews, a wider outlook on Japanese culture (with Japanese contributers!) and of course that DVD.

    Naturally, with all those gone I feel it’s going to be a very different magazine. I’m going to wait until I see it in the flesh before passing judgement. I just hope it can retain some of that Japanese ‘uniqueness’ and not just blend into the background – retaining Newtype’s staff should at least help with this.

    On a side note, why not do with anime what Tokyopop does for manga – the Tokyopop Sneak Peeks (peeks… rings any bells?) have a sample of various manga for a reasonable price. Imagine a monthly DVD release in the same vein… I would certainly buy such a thing.

  18. Patrick says:

    This is all kinda crazy. I just got my February issue of newtype and had no idea about any of this PiQ transition. I just happened to catch a thread about in on the anime corner store website. It is very disapointing I’d have to say. I’ve subscribed to newtype usa for three years now and I didnt even get this news from them. I am glad to know that my remaining subscription wont go to waste and I’m even more glad I subscribed to otaku usa. anyway all in all maybe this new PiQ wont be so bad. after the devestating loss of geneon things cant get much worse (knock on wood). Oh well I guess just sit back and enjoy what we have while we got it.

  19. Japan Phile says:

    Newtype was a magazine that specifically targeted people interested in Japanese popular culture. I don’t get any Japanese vibe from the new front cover posted above. The “entertainment for the rest of us” slogan certainly doesn’t make me think of Japan. It will be interesting to see the first issue so we can get an idea of what they are trying to do and who they are trying to target (and how well they do it). I also wonder how many of the 15,000 existing subscribers are going to be surprised by the change.

  20. Keiichi says:

    Sounds like it’s going to be a lot like NEO is here in the UK, with added non-.jp bits.

    I’m told my remaining subscription will be honoured 2-for-1 as well, so I’m happy with that – just hope it’s Any Good…

  21. macdirk says:

    Apparently I am one of the few who has been forking out the $13 every couple months. Admittedly I cringe every time. I finally made the commitment to subscribe and called today to do so. This is how I found out about the change. The web page made no mention of the switch, when I went to subscribe last night. Apparently the system didn’t like my credit card so I called the 800 number today. The lady taking my subscription informed me, although she new nothing more than the name change, dropping the DVD, and the 2 for 1 exchange. She did say the new format was supposed to have more anime coverage. (apparently she was only 75% correct). Anyway I probably should have waited but since it took me over a year to commit to subscribing, I made a spur of the moment decision to go ahead anyway. I hope I like it since I now have a 2 yr subscription to PiQ.

    I have to say even though I haven’t seen the new format I am pretty disappointed. I think NTUSA really was the best out there. Even though I only read about 50 to 60% of each issue. I really like the large design and the Japanese back to front style. The free DVD in every issue was great. It always gave you something new to watch immediately. This usually gave me something to look forward to and start watching, or maybe collecting. This is how I Found Air Gear, which I’m currently enjoying very much. The Kids Love the posters which I usually give them. The mange always reminded me that I need to go buy a couple more issues.

    I have been very impatiently awaiting the Appleseed Ex Machina (March 11th), so it was interesting seeing the sample cover. Well, I may go subscribe to Otaku, but I guess I should see what this 2 yr commitment will bring in.

  22. Brandy says:

    This blows, it’s just another gaming mag with a sligh j-pop flair………..BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
    If they leave out the cosplay, no wait , I know they’ll leave it out. sad day for anime.

  23. tls says:

    It is truely a shame. I had to find out through ANN rather than have them inform me through phone, the website, or in the last issue. That fact the DVD is out almost turns me off from this new magazine. It was why I always thought it to be a worthwhile magazine is that they gave you actually episodes to check out rather than spend the 20 bucks on a dvd. Of course the articles and its sheer gurth was also quite appealing. And I mean ‘come on’. Changing the reading format. I think that is another key thing about the magazine people loved. Despite what is said about it ‘just being a name change’ its obvious the financial situation with the magazine was going down the tube so they are re-vamping 75% of the magazine. But I’m going to give it a few months. Just till the end of my senior year. If I really find it noth worth keeping, I’ll call in to see about getting money back and cancling the subscription.

    A sad farewell to a magazine I have bought and then subscribed to since November of 2003.

  24. fullmetalbunny says:

    Piq’s general attitude fairly screams “hey, let’s mainstream this otaku thing.” Doesn’t it just make you want to sit some businesspeople down and tell them in no uncertain terms that anime/manga already ARE mainstream? Don’t they ever google popular characters, series titles, etc. and see the blogs, the fanlistings, the illegal fansubs, so forth? People who love anime are numerous, and people who don’t by now probably never will. I hate Piq on the principle of it. When I buy an anime/manga magazine, I expect to see big eyes on every page.

    And considering the impressive number of female otaku, the “seventy-percent male” goal flat out bewilders me.

    (Unfortunately, if ADV really wanted to make mad money, they’d open a yaoi magazine. I’m just saying.)

  25. merulaae says:

    I’m really disappointed that NTUSA has cease to exist and this PiQ deal sounds like it will suck but might as well give a try it might not be that bad but I just know it won’t be as good as the original NTUSA because of many reasons inclunding the DVD.

  26. Geek Studies » Blog Archive » Links: Stuff I’m Posting Really Quickly says:

    [...] Rebranding an Otaku Magazine: Kind of in the same tradition of Wizard now openly billing itself as a “men’s pop culture magazine” (as noted here), ADV revamps PiQ to be about geek/otaku culture more broadly, branded as “entertainment for the rest of us, squarely addressing the needs of a cutting-edge young male audience” (link via Chris C.). [...]

  27. PiQ Magazine Debuts » Comics Worth Reading says:

    [...] I’ve been curious to see the response to the debut issue of PiQ magazine (the former Newtype) out now. I haven’t seen it myself, but response has been mixed, with many taking a “wait and see” attitude. [...]

  28. Bob Corrigan says:

    Funny story – I had been a NTUSA reader back when it first came out, but found it was too full of “kid stuff” and gradually stopped buying it.

    Today I was in my local Borders and saw a stack of PiQ not too far from Play and a number of “pop culture” magazines like Hi-Fructose. I flipped through it and bought it. . . not knowing that it was the “replacement” of NTUSA.

    From my first scan, it is superior to NTUSA. I appreciate the editorial mix of PiQ and the more “standard” format. I don’t miss the articles on “how to draw manga” and “what’s going on a CLAMP”, nor do I miss the super-ernest, multi-page stories about anime. Granted, I could have done without the article on Avatar, but that’s just me.

    If I could only buy one magazine of this sort, however, I’d still prefer Blackfish Publishing’s “Deathray”, which can also be found at better Borders. Even with its UK bent, it gathers together all of the topics that seem to be of interest to the PiQ editors, and does it better.

    That said, PiQ is a fun read, and given its focus on “anime plus other stuff”, it gets the job done. Pick it up with PLAY and you’ve got a nice one-two punch for reading on the train.

    bob

  29. NTUSA January Cover Disk | hilpers says:

    [...] to pay Newtype Japan for using the name etc. so they’re going to >produce their own magazine. http://comics212.net/2008/01/18/firs…diavendor-kit/ One assumes with the bubble so thoroughly burst, this is an attempt to attach the magazine to more [...]

  30. Spruch says:

    Hello from Germany! May i quote a post a translated part of your blog with a link to you? I’ve tried to contact you for the topic First Look: ADV’s new PiQ Magazine Media/Vendor Kit at Comics212, but i got no answer, please reply when you have a moment, thanks, Spruch

  31. Chris says:

    Sure, go ahead. :)

  32. Kuriousity | manga reviews and news » Blog Archive » Taking a Peek at PiQ says:

    [...] the looks of the content breakdown, certainly seems an accurate thought. You can read all about it here at his [...]

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