MEDIA: WOMEN'S GLOSSIES - Real competition hits women's mags. The launch of H Bauer's Real magazine has already created ripples in the top end of the women's glossy market, with Marie Claire changing editor, says Ed Shelton

Having established magazines at the lower end of the women's

market, German publisher H Bauer this month is making a play for the top

end with the prosaically titled fortnightly Real.



Bauer, which 12 years ago launched Bella and Take A Break against IPC's

long-established stable of titles positioned around Women's Weekly, is

targeting the more sophisticated female reader, currently catered for

by, among others, IPC's Marie Claire, EMAP's Red and the BBC's Eve.



Once bitten - Take A Break is now the market leader, selling 1.1 million

copies weekly - IPC has reacted by appointing a new editor at Marie

Claire with a brief to stem the year-on-year circulation slide of 11 per

cent in the last round of ABCs.



Red, meanwhile, is also on the back foot, having lost 14 per cent of its

circulation over 12 months.



It now plans a defensive marketing spend to regain the lost share.



All these titles are seeking to mix fashion-oriented and voyeuristic

'one woman's story' content with challenging current affairs from around

the world. At stake is the grown-up female magazine reader. It is a

market Bauer thinks could be as huge here as it is in Germany, where its

Brigitta magazine, the model for Real, sells 900,000. Real will have the

same initial print run.



In attempting to interest these readers, Real has signed up Channel 4

News' Kirsty Lang, controversial columnist Julie Burchill and Trudi

Wallace, Daily Mail style editor (whose Femail readers Bauer hopes to

attract).



More importantly, the company is said to have put pounds 10m behind the

launch.



There is rarely clear air in which to launch a mass-market title, but

Bauer does seem to have picked a particularly turbulent time, coming

just weeks after two other big launches - Time Warner's US import

InStyle and Conde Nast's handbag-sized Glamour.



But Real has its own gimmick in coming out fortnightly, rather than

monthly or weekly, and this could help determine its success, according

to Dan Sinfield, media manager at media buying agency OMD UK.



Sinfield says: 'Bauer always launches intelligently, with a great amount

of research, and always spends a lot of money.



'But will a fortnightly title sell in the UK? And do enough 30-something

women want to read magazines to reach Real's target? Those are the big

questions.'



REAL



Editor: Janice Turner



Position: Editor



Publisher: H Bauer



Circulation: 300,000 (target)



'We believe real women are more interesting than celebrities. Real will

contain the passion, humour, complexity and drama of real women's

lives.



'The magazine will deliver intelligent writing about subjects at the

heart of women's lives. Other glossies are just a treat for the eye and

Real will be that too, but we are also a feast for the heart and the

mind.



'Having spent four years talking to women about what they want from a

glossy magazine, we think there is a gap in the market.



'What they want is a beautiful magazine, but one that relates to their

lives. Real will combine style with substance in this way.



'In terms of who we are targeting, it is more to do with life-stage than

demographics or age. Our target reader is enjoying the summer of her

life. She has more going on - marriage, children, work, home - than she

will ever have again.



'In my experience, and that of all my friends, this is the best time -

far more satisfying than your early twenties. Real will celebrate

this.



'As for the competition, I think we are different from others as we have

a unique fortnightly format. This means there is more pace in the

magazine. It does not have the languidness of a monthly.'



MARIE CLAIRE



Editor: Marie O'Riordan



Position: Editor



Publisher: IPC



Circulation: 400,543 ABC July-Dec 2000 (down 11 per cent

year-on-year)



'I was always a Marie Claire reader. I saw myself as the target, so this

job is great for me. The typical Marie Claire reader has eclectic

interests and recognises that intelligence, fun and glamour are not

mutually exclusive. She likes Marie Claire because it gives her

something meaty to think about and entertains her.



'Fashion and features have always been of equal importance in the

magazine, which makes it a unique offering; other glossies focus on one

or the other. Editing is very personal and I am looking forward to

playing with the mix; serious journalism mixed in with much lighter

stuff. I am happy to have voyeuristic real people-type features married

to upmarket glamorous fashion stories.



'Our readers are professional. They have a huge curiosity and an

insatiable thirst for information on broad cultural events - from high

culture to low culture and fashion. They are between 18 and 40-years-old

and are urbane and independent.



'The market has never been this tough, so it will be a bunfight. We have

to be different and better at the same time.



'I think PROs have more and more power in the magazine industry. They

used to be selling us stories - now the magazines are fighting over

access to the same people.'



RED



Editor: Trish Halpin



Position: Editor



Publisher: Emap Elan



Circulation: 155,083 ABC July-Dec 2000 (down 14 per cent

year-on-year)



'Ours is a beautiful and lush magazine - an indulgent treat rather than

a fast read.



'When it was launched, it defined a new generation of women - the middle

youth market, women who grew up on glossies and were smart, stylish and

intelligent.



'The main change I have made is that I want to have more balance between

style and substance. The magazine has always been very visually led. I

want to add more substance to features.



'For example, we can have features on health from a broader point of

view - emotional and spiritual health maybe, or looking at relationships

in a broader sense - families and friends.



'The thing about women at this stage in their lives is that they are

very confident and happy - it is a time to celebrate. I want the

magazine to be positive and celebratory.



'The market is more crowded than ever, but it is an exciting time for

us. We have to increasingly own this market.



'Emap has a lot of commitment to the title and we are to spend as much

this year in marketing as we did in our launch year.



'Our ABC dropped for the last period by some 14 per cent, but sales

figures for three issues show that we are on target to get back to where

we were.'



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