Editor Hillary Buckman leads the magazine as the boating industry booms

Property is something that unites many in lists of Australia’s richest people, a subscription to Ocean magazine could be another. the magazine has just celebrated its 100th edition with a special volume.

Sydney’s indie title covers the world of yachting for luxury vessels and its pages are full of pricey options, from editorials to advertising pages trying to tempt readers with a purchase or a luxury upgrade.

The initial idea was conceived at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show (SCIBS) in 2004, with Ocean launched exactly one year later at the 2005 show with a specific market in mind. “We focused on content and advertising for affluent readership, including prestige products and automotive and travel features to deliver a complete lifestyle destination,” said the CEO and Editor-in-Chief. Hillary Buckman Told Media Week.

The magazine has always been bimonthly. It is a significant newsstand presence averaging just under 200 pages with many editions topping that mark.


Hillary Buckman and Ocean Media titles

“There are major boat shows in May and July and coverage of those increases our page-to-page,” Buckman said.

She added that the cost of distributing these books to subscribers is substantial. “I just got the bill for the 100th anniversary edition and it would make your eyes water,” she explained.

“We’ll just take the hit. We wanted to highlight the magazine with the anniversary and show off a bit.

The size of the latest edition indicates that the business model is working, with hard-to-reach high-end audiences loving its print editions.

We are a niche publication and niche magazines seem to be surviving very well in the current environment. The boating industry is also very strong at present.

The boating industry, like many others, came to a halt when Covid first hit. “But at the end of the first year, the industry exploded. People realized that boating was a way to isolate themselves as a family,” Buckman said.

Buckman aboard METIS the superyacht Benetti during the Monaco Yacht Show

“Very high-end, ultra-luxury boats are going through a bit of a crisis with the Russian boycotts, but that’s not a part of the market we’re really touching.”

The fundamental interests for Ocean readers are boats starting at $1 million+, Buckman said. Judging by some of the 100th Anniversary Edition boats, although many of them are +++. “It can be boats in the 50ft+ range, all very high-end luxury.”

Much of the boat building takes place in Australia via Riviera and Maritimo on the Gold Coast. “In Western Australia there is also the superyacht industry with companies like Silver Yachts and Echo Yachts. There are also a lot of bespoke boat builders around Australia working on one boat at a time to customers.

Ocean prints approximately 7,500 copies in addition to the digital copies it distributes. The split between subscribers and newsstand copies is 50/50. Some of the latest draws also went to the Qantas Chairman’s Club and Business Class lounges.

Distribution is handled by Are Direct of Are Media, the rebranded company Ovato Are Media acquired last year.

Printing is handled by Impact in Sydney, Buckman noting that they have always wanted to keep the printing contract local. That would be a hefty printing bill given that publishers don’t skimp on paper. Something the impressive roster of advertisers must appreciate.

The publisher won the Superyacht Industry Champion of the Year in 2018

Ocean Media also has two other titles in its portfolio. Sailscovering news from the world of sailing, sport and the art of living, and The Great Southern Roada 300-page directory for superyachts venturing into Australian waters.

Publisher Ocean Media also runs Ocean TV and the Ocean Club Concierge where a private lifestyle manager assists owners with corporate gifts, travel, restaurant and luxury reservations and more.