MEDIA: Health and Fitness Titles - A sector maintaining its physical peak. The last five years have witnessed a huge growth in health and fitness magazines, as more people become concerned with leading a healthier lifestyle

Next month’s relaunch of Good Health magazine by Attic Futura demonstrates the growing maturity of the health sector and the increasingly specific niches that magazines within it occupy.

Next month’s relaunch of Good Health magazine by Attic Futura

demonstrates the growing maturity of the health sector and the

increasingly specific niches that magazines within it occupy.

The new Good Health is being positioned as a health magazine for older

women - up to 55 - with families and responsibilities, but who are still

prepared to work at looking and feeling good. Attic Futura acquired the

magazine from Cabal Communications which ran it as a more general title

carrying, for example, fashion content.

In its new guise the tone will be more serious with the emphasis firmly

on providing information to help its readers maintain good health. The

move towards more focused titles stems from the need to find readers in

an increasingly competitive market.

It is not a trend welcomed by advertisers however. As Adam Skinner, a

media buyer working on the Boots account at media buying agency OMD UK

says: ’What we want are bigger numbers. I really wonder how many

advertisers care about the niche that Good Health is going for.’

Advertisers - or at least their agencies - are much more approving of

another trend within the sector - that of an increasing crossover with

lifestyle titles. For example, the younger titles Shine and Zest are

really lifestyle magazines aimed at a particular niche (25- to

34-year-old ABC1 women) which are given increased currency with the

addition of health and fitness content.

The idea is a popular one. Skinner says: ’What all publishers are trying

to do is launch something with a health focus which also has enough

lifestyle content to attract the big numbers. If you can attract the

niche, as well as the mainstream advertisers, then you are on to a


Agencies believe that these two titles still have significant room to

grow beyond the 100,000-odd circulations they currently achieve and

point to the men’s market as evidence of this. Men’s Health, a

well-established US-originated title, attracts readers with its health

focus and then keeps them by delivering strong lifestyle content


But as there are fewer specialised health products for men to buy and

therefore less advertising to support the development of niche titles,

Men’s Health has little competition. The action in the men’s health

market in recent years has been big publishers trying and failing to

launch successfully against the title.


Position: Editor

Publisher: Nexus Media

Circulation: 50,000 (unaudited)

Frequency: Monthly

’Our core readers are mostly ABC1 women between 25 and 35, with a bias

towards the south of England. Most exercise three or four times a


We have been established in our current form for eight years - the

magazine started 20 years ago but it has changed since then.

’We carry information on nutrition, workouts, and healthy eating - not

on dieting and beauty. People look to us for serious information but we

also carry details of events.

’We deliberately take the tactic of not promoting stick thin models or

faddy diets. Our models are spirited - the same as the women we appeal

to - they have an active life.’

MEN’S HEALTH - Ralph Boon

Position: Publisher

Publisher: Rodale Ltd

Circulation: 233,653 (July - Dec 1999)

Frequency: Monthly

’Men’s Health is an active lifestyle magazine and is part of the men’s

lifestyle market alongside GQ and FHM. There is no visible men’s health

magazine category.

’Men’s Health has tapped into an attitude. It services cash-rich,

time-poor professionals who want a great quality of life with positive,

personal and practical information on ways to look after yourself -

fitness, sex, career, fashion and grooming - delivered with a sense of

humour. Readers are well-educated, affluent and quick to adopt new

ideas, with an average age of 32. We maintain a strong cover identity

giving it instant recognition.’

GOOD HEALTH - Penny Dash

Position: Editorial consultant

Publisher: Attic Futura

Circulation: Not available Frequency: Monthly

’Good Health was always a slightly older read than others in the


Readers will be 35 to 55 and Good Health will be family-orientated and

practical - we see ourselves as the guardians of family health.

’It will provide a magazine format for the same kind of content as that

on the Daily Mail health pages.

’What we are doing is toughening up the title. It was a mix of things

before including fashion and lifestyle interviews - these have no place

in the Good Health magazine I envisage. Good health does not stop at 25

- many 50 year old women are looking incredibly young and vital.’

SHINE - Lucy Bulmer

Position: Editor

Publisher: Attic Futura

Circulation: 103,347 (July - Dec 1999)

Frequency: Monthly

’The average age of our readers is 28 but they span from 25 to 34. The

main defining characteristic is that they are young in attitude. We are

targeting women for whom buying a health and beauty title is not done

because of body deterioration, but because they want maximum


It is a positive, upbeat thing.

’It does suggests ways to eat more healthily, but is not about repair

work. We are not as focused on fitness as others. It is not about being

desirable for the opposite sex, it is about feeling good - something

which touches women more deeply. One thing we never do is bang on about

weight and diets.’

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