The Millivres Prowler Group (MPG) was formed in June 1999 when the long-established gay businesses Millivres Limited and Prowler Press Limited merged to form the largest gay and lesbian multimedia business in Europe.
In 2014 we celebrate 40 years of providing information, entertainment and shopping to gay men and lesbians. We have seen enormous changes during those 40 years and been part of the making of history. Our brands, values, products and services reflect that we want to be known for making the world a better place for gay men and lesbians, with the same full human and civil rights as other sectors of the population. 1972 saw the launch of the gay newspaper Gay News and the gay magazine Jeffrey and a small shop in Camden High Street, North London called Modern Books – and the first Gay Pride March in London. Here’s our timeline and milestones:
1974- Millivres Ltd incorporated – at the same time as the first unashamedly Adults Only national news stand gay magazine HIM Exclusive was launched.
1978 – Modern Books became The Zipper Store and home to Zipper, Mister and Ajax-Zipper Books.
1983 – Millivres Ltd bought HIM Monthly and the Gay News title – The Zipper Store became the first licensed gay shop.
1984 – Gay Times magazine launched incorporating the Gay News title.
1984/85 – Body Tech Superstore and Cruisin’ open in London and Birmingham.
1989 – Prowler Press Ltd incorporated and Euroboy magazine was launched.
1991 – MaleXpress Ltd formed as the mail order arm of Prowler Press – Millivres Books imprint established.
1994 – DIVA magazine launched as a baby sister magazine to Gay Times.
1997 – Heart of Soho Ltd founded to open the Prowler Soho store.
1998 – Millivres Multimedia Ltd incorporated to distribute gay and lesbian feature films – independent films for independent minds – Prowler Press Ltd buys the Gay Men’s Press book imprint.
1999 – European distribution partnership established just prior to the merger of Millivres Ltd and Prowler Press Ltd.
2003 - Purchase of long-established leather and rubber fetish business Expectations Ltd.
2004 – Gay Times marked its 20th year of publication, and DIVA had its 10th birthday and published Issue 100.
Purchase of the Pink Paper, long established LGBT community free weekly newspaper; (November) Purchase of highly respected lesbian internet mail order business Libertas.co.uk and Libertas Ltd.
2005 – Prowler Brighton store opens in the heart of Brighton’s gay village – marking the start of the company’s national retail expansion;
2006 - Purchase of AXM magazine, gay men’s youth title, which had evolved tremendously over its seven-year history to become the UK’s freshest lifestyle magazine for young gay men; and purchase of Puffta.co.uk – the leading online community magazine created to appeal to, educate and serve gay youth; and Prowler and Expectations come together to open Prowler Expectations Birmingham store in the city centre.
GT & DIVA launch digital editions for PC & Mac via Zinio.
2008 – Libertas, AXM & Puffta closed, but Millivres Multimedia sold as a going concern to Peccadillo Pictures.
2009 - A year of celebration for MPG as the company reached its 35th anniversary and GT and DIVA hit 25 and 15 respectively.
Pink Paper migrated online and has gone from strength to strength.
2010 - GT & DIVA digital magazine apps launched via Apple Store and PocketMags platforms, as MPG’s fastest revenue/profit generating new business development in the past 5 years.
GT & DIVA Shortlisted for Media Pioneer Awards for the effective launch of our digital magazine apps through integrated digital marketing & social media campaigns. GT celebrates 400 issues.
2012 New Executive team formed to change the performance and culture of MPG.
DIVA awarded Net Observer Excellence awards for site visitor satisfaction.
Launch of U.S. distribution business in partnership with Staxxus USA.
Pink Paper is closed later that year due decline in online recruitment ad sales.
2013 MPG Launches its charity partners scheme.
Expectations.co.uk, ProwlerDirect and DIVADirect home shopping sites redesigned and relaunched.
Simon Topham (CEO) recognised in Independent On Sunday’s Pink List of 100 most influentail gay men and women in the UK (also in 2014).
2014 - DIVA magazines wins the Co-Operative Bank LGBT members RESPECT Award as magazine of The Year and Planet London News Service of the Year.
Kim Watson (Media & Marketing Director) wins IDM CPD award for continuing professional development in the field of Digtial and Direct Marketing.
2015 – GT gets major new investment from our new owner leading to hiring more editorial and design staff, the build of a new website by Coast Digital, a major magazine re-design and a party to remember in October 2015.
Kim Watson and Jane Czyzselksa (DIVA Editor) are recognised in Independent on Sunday’s Rainbow List at number 59 and 27 respectively.