MEDIA: Women’s Magazines - Women’s titles fighting their corner - Latest ABC figures show women’s lifestyle titles losing readers to customer magazines. Despite this, more launches are planned in the sector this year

While heavy circulation falls in the men’s magazine sector helped to bring the likes of Loaded and FHM down to earth, the latest ABC figures for women’s lifestyle magazines reveal a sector just about holding its own in the face of strong new competition from in-store customer magazines.

While heavy circulation falls in the men’s magazine sector helped

to bring the likes of Loaded and FHM down to earth, the latest ABC

figures for women’s lifestyle magazines reveal a sector just about

holding its own in the face of strong new competition from in-store

customer magazines.

But despite the evident maturity of the market (Cosmopolitan and Marie

Claire recorded ABCs of 470,000 and 450,000 respectively), this year

will see more major launches - at least six are planned.

This week Dennis Publishing launched PS. Parkhill Publishing will launch

Aura - previously known as Project Verve - in spring, along with IPC’s

Nova. Gruner and Jahr publishes Vital in May, followed by John Brown

Publishing’s Bare in the summer. Then comes a BBC launch, currently

known as Project Irma.

One of the reasons for the renewed vigour in the sector, says Steve

Goodman, press director at media planner Mediacom TMB, is the recent

success of revamped Woman’s Journal - an IPC title aimed at the

’prime-time woman’, or what used to be called the middle-aged woman.

’IPC has invested heavily in that magazine and has seen a big increase

in circulation. Other publishers have been keeping an eye on that and

now think ’we fancy a bit of that’,’ says Goodman.

Woman’s Journal was redesigned in September 1999 to attract a

youngerreadership - 30 to 40 years old rather than 50 to 60 - and ended

the year with circulation up 20.4 per cent to 133,077. Now at least

three of the new launches - Bare, Verve and Vital - are targeting this


It is a market that has been neglected previously with readers expected,

as one editor put it, ’to go from Cosmo to Good Housekeeping’. Now, not

only are women putting off getting married and settling down but also

still want to feel sexy and smart once they are married. She, which

claims to have been covering this market for some time, is about to come

under siege.

Among the other launches, Nova is targeting a younger audience with a

retro look, the BBC is yet to reveal its hand and PS, is trying

something slightly different - targeting readers who want to buy goods

direct and need a magazine to help guide them towards what is


Goodman believes it will be hard for so many titles with the same idea

to generate enough advertising revenue to survive, but from the

advertisers point of view, he says, it is great to have the choice. A

point PR agencies are likely to echo.

SHE - Alison Pylkkanen

Circulation: 226,086

Frequency: Monthly

Position: Editor

Publisher: NatMags

’Our readers are thirty-something but that is more about a lifestyle

than an age. Most are in a couple, but not sharing a flat. They may be

trading up to owning a house, they work and they are quite established

Maybe they have kids, maybe not.

’They are quite self-aware and self-confident. They have worked hard for

what they have got, and want to enjoy it, valuing time more than money.

Other publishers have woken up to what is going on. Before there was

coverage for this group but not the focus we offer. It is because they

have money and are an attractive target. They have also been round the

block with women’s titles and are media-literate.’

PS - Rachel Shattock

Print run: 200,000

Frequency: Bi-monthly

Position: Editor

Publisher: Dennis Publishing ’Everything in the magazine should be

available to readers direct - whether it is a lipstick, a duvet,

fashion, or personal finance. You can pick up the phone or go onto the

net and get it - it all has to be accessible, in terms of price too.

’About one-third of the magazine will be fashion, then there is beauty,

travel, homes, gardens, some healthcare and some foods. We also dedicate

about a third of our pages to things such as horoscopes and

relationships. All of it should appeal to the post-Cosmo readers. They

are time-pressed, maybe working mothers or career women. It is a

middle-class woman we are talking about although I want the appeal to be


RED - Sally Brampton

Circulation: 180,403

Frequency: Monthly

Position: Editor

Publisher: Emap elan

’Red established itself quickly. I think its readership could certainly

grow to 200,000. The readers are 30-plus women who are urban,

sophisticated, probably quite cynical, visually-literate and very

articulate. These women want to feel glamorous, clever and smart.

’They have grown up on the glossies and are very discerning, making huge

demands on their magazines. You have to edit the world around you to put

a magazine together for them. For example, you might do a piece on the

must-have read of the month, the one health issue, and the one social

issue. We have to focus clearly on this and put it into a package. It is

a question of doing it in every area of her life.’

COSMOPOLITAN - Mandi Norwood

Circulation: 470,280

Frequency: Monthly

Position: Editor-in-chief

Publisher: NatMags

’The Cosmo reader could be anything from 18-35 years old. She loves men

and fashion and beauty and is obsessed with relationships with friends,

work colleagues, men and with herself. From the magazine she gets as

much self-confidence as she can cope with.

’Cosmo is not afraid to give advice. The Cosmo woman is changing in her

aspirations for the future, but fundamentally what she wants is to have

a great relationship and to feel wonderful about herself. Cosmo is the

market leader because it has incredibly powerful branding and we have

remained true to things that truly affect our reader. Cosmo has its

finger on what young women are feeling.’

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