The new editor of IPC Music & Sport's Loaded has hinted that the circulation gap between the men's title and deadly rival FHM is not recoverable.
Keith Kendrick, who is currently editor of IPC Connect's Chat, takes up his new role in mid-March. He said of Loaded: 'I will make it the best-selling magazine - well, maybe not the best-selling magazine - but the best on the market.'
Kendrick has never edited either a men's magazine or a monthly title, but said that 'knowing what makes the readers tick' would be vital. He pledged to grow circulation.
Loaded's star has waned over the last few years while FHM's has soared, to the extent that the emap title, with a monthly circulation of 715,700, now outsells Loaded more than two to one.
Kendrick admitted that the Loaded team has been 'in limbo' for the last year. As PRWeek went to press, John Perry, who had been acting editor on the title for ten months, was reported to have submitted his resignation. Kendrick said he had been looking forward to working with Perry.
External pressure will come from James Brown's IFG group and Dennis Publishing, which are both launching men's titles this year. And Dennis' Maxim, with an ABC of 326,000, is already pushing Loaded's 350,000 circulation.
The Loaded strapline - 'For men who should know better' - will be retained, as will the cover pictures of women, Kendrick confirmed. His experience is in newspapers, including the Birmingham Post and Daily Mail, and women's magazines. He said: 'I have proved my adaptability throughout my career.'
Kendrick refused to be drawn on comments by James Brown, Loaded's founding editor, that the whole men's magazine market was stale. But he did say: 'To compare the Loaded of today with the Loaded of James Brown's era (mid-1990s) is like comparing George Best to Ryan Giggs. It's a completely different game.'