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Johnson celebrates 50th.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Johnson Publishing Co., the nation's 2nd largest black-owned business. Starting with its first publication, Negro Digestin 1942, Johnson. Publishing has expanded into new markets while remaining the nation's premier black-owned media company.

According to Johnson Publishing Chairman and CEO John H. Johnson, the BE 100s company is drive, n primarily by its three magazines: Ebony, Jet and Ebony Man. It's top publication, Ebony, has a worldwide readership of 10 million and will turn 50 in 1995. The media company also owns and operates three radio stations, produces two television programs and coordinates a book publishing division. And through' Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Supreme Beauty Products Co., Johnson Publishing has established a strong presence in the cosmetics and hair care industries. The company's diversity has helped its revenues climb continuously from $81 million in 1981 to $261 million last year.

Johnson says that although the company's magazines have accounted for most of the company's success, a new route will be needed to remain profitable. "I see us moving further into television programming and emphasizing greater development of cosmetics and hair care products," he says.

In October, the company introduced "Ebone," a new line of cosmetics for women of color targeted for the mass market. There are also plans to market a three-part videotape series called The Ebony/Jet Guide To Black Excellence, which profiles black leaders, entrepreneurs and entertainers. And through a licensing agreement, in the fall of 1993, Johnson Publishing and Spiegel Inc. are expected to introduce "E-Style," a fashion line and mail-order catalog aimed at black women. Johnson says his company will handle the marketing, promotion and mailing list for the joint venture. Spiegel will oversee production.

Johnson's daughter, President and Chief Operating Officer Linda Johnson Rice, says the company's philosophy has been to "build off our own power base to reach our growth potential." The 34-year-old, who has an MBA from Northwestern University's J.L. Kellogg School of Management, is betting that Johnson's cosmetics division will drive the company's growth in the 1990s because, "we've done terrific domestically and I think there's even more potential internationally."

Eventually, Johnson Rice will take over the company her father says "gave black people a better image of themselves."

"She has good instincts about the business," he says, "and she has the energy and motivation to carry the company into the next century."
COPYRIGHT 1992 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Johnson Publishing Co.
Author:Scott, Matthew S.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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