Media Analysis: Room for another women's weekly

As The National Magazine Company launches the latest women's weekly to hit newsagents' shelves, Sarah Robertson investigates how consumer PROs can sell-in to the expanding, saturation-defying sector.

The women's weekly magazine market may seem saturated to the untrained eye, with an increasing number of titles battling for attention on newsagents' shelves. But with 20 per cent growth in the women's weekly arena over the past three years, there would appear to be plenty of room for the latest addition, launched this week by The National Magazine Company.

Reveal is a cross between celebrity-based Now and real-life-based Chat, and promises to offer yet more rich pickings for consumer PROs. 'There is untapped potential in these magazines for PROs,' says Cake account director Greg James. 'The biggest misconception is that their readers are unwealthy mums, but actually they are Mrs Average. The impression is that these women are not sophisticated, yet they are the key-holders to good-quality brands.'

Open to offers

Travel specialist McCluskey International group PR director Suzy de Carteret says: 'Women's weekly magazines are a very valuable media, and their editorial teams tend to be accessible and open to offers.'

Contact between PROs and women's weeklies is frequently based on reader offers and competitions, and their substantial travel coverage opens up good opportunities to that sector, says de Carteret. 'Their readers are looking for everything from weekend breaks to quirky holidays such as floral shows in Guernsey,' she says. 'We don't do competitions but base our PR around press trips, which give us straightforward editorial.'

De Carteret adds that the low-cost air-travel market has also opened up fresh opportunities to travel PROs: 'Women's weekly magazines have become more adventurous and accepted that their readers have become more adventurous too.'

The fact that NatMags has launched a title in an already bustling market hints at the sector's potential. With the leading women's weekly Take a Break currently boasting a circulation of 1.2 million, PROs ignore the arena at their peril.

REVEAL

Publisher: The National Magazine Company

Circulation: n/a

Editor: Sarah Edwards

How is Reveal different?

Reveal is a four-in-one package, offering celebrities, real life, lifestyle and TV.

Who are you targeting?

We are aiming at a broad range of women; we are not defining it by age or demographic because it has a huge appeal to women everywhere.

Will you be working with PROs?

We work with PROs for celebrities, but also on products and services, interiors, food and travel. We have an excellent relationship with them already, especially in the areas of fashion and beauty. PROs have been helping us put together our first issue, selling-in to the magazine and listening to us.

How should PROs contact you?

By identifying the head of department who is relevant to their sector and contacting them via the details on the masthead in the magazine.

TAKE A BREAK

Publisher: Bauer

Circulation: 1.2 million (ABC)

Editor: John Dale

Do you work with PROs?

I get a lot of emails from people in PR but most are not appropriate for the magazine. We get information about celebrities, music and subjects that are not covered in the magazine. But PROs have got a lot better in recent years.

Who are your readers?

Ordinary working-class women - that's not a PC thing to say, but they are our mass market.

What does Take a Break offer?

Puzzles, true-life stories, cookery, health, fashion and some beauty.

No TV or celebrities.

Is there scope for PROs?

Yes, especially in the areas of food and high-street brands. They could get involved in promotional prizes, such as holidays or cars. Sometimes PR can be cost-effective because our advertising rates are so high.

When should PROs contact you?

We have a lead time of nine weeks and are working for Christmas now.

NOW

Publisher: IPC

Circulation: 580,000 (ABC)

Publishing director: Andrew Kirkland

How would you describe Now?

Good celebrity coverage, plus fashion, health and beauty. We do not offer TV listings and we put our own angle on real life.

How closely do you work with PROs?

It is a two-way operation; there are often celebrities or other people who want to give us stories through their representatives, and we go out and get a lot of stories ourselves. We are very topical.

Are you looking mostly for contact from celebrity-driven PROs?

The amount of space we dedicate depends on how much celebrity news is available that week. It is the editor's discretion how space is allocated.

Will Reveal change what you do?

When a new magazine comes out, you continue to do what you do; we won't be distracted. With a magazine like Reveal, we will have to wait and see.

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