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In the UK, yet more women’s weeklies

It’s like deja vu. Just over a month ago, Britain was awaiting the launch of two new women’s weeklies. Now, just as they’ve arrived on newsstands, two more publishers have let out word that they too will be launching two new women’s weeklies.

On Monday, British publishing giant Emap said that it will spend more than $21 million on launching a magazine into the sector early this summer. And yesterday, the Mail on Sunday, a national British newspaper, began selling You, its Sunday supplement, as a stand-alone weekly magazine.

So that makes four new weekly women’s magazines that have been either announced or launched so far this year, and it’s only March. What’s more, last year and the year before also saw a good number of launches into the men’s and women’s weekly category.

Weeklies, it seems, are where it’s at these days with the likes of British publishing powerhouse IPC Media and even Rupert Murdoch’s recently created News Magazines division launching weeklies. “It is definitely the big battle ground,” says Tony Evans, managing partner at MindShare, the media arm of WPP.

Indeed. And as the battle intensifies in Britain’s increasingly crowded weekly magazine sector, it is reshaping the magazine industry in Britain, casting a long shadow over the fortunes of the traditional glossy monthly magazines. Some of the major men’s and women’s titles have suffered circulation declines in recent years, and analyists are inclined to peg the trend to the rise of the weeklies.

EMap is not saying much at this point about its upcoming launch, which has the working title of Project Jackie. But what it has said is that the new magazine will target women at a more mature life stage than the current raft of weekly real-life and celebrity titles.

It will be for thirtysomething mothers whose children have emerged from the time-consuming toddler stage and who are likely to be heading back to work. As such, they’ll be interested in a more mature magazine, a more intelligent read providing a broader perspective on the world. Or so the thinking at eMap goes.

The magazine isn’t revealing its initial target circulation, but Evans believes it could eventually achieve 200,000.

To illustrate the kind of things that will be covered, the company’s PR people point to TV shows like “Jamie’s School Dinners,” in which top chef Jamie Oliver has done an expose on school food, and “Super Nanny,” a show in which a child care expert helps parents learn to discipline their children.

EMap has turned its focus to the weekly market in recent years and has launched three weeklies since 2001, including big-selling titles like Zoo, a men’s weekly, and Closer, a celebrity title.

Last year the company launched Grazia, a more upmarket glossy women’s fashion weekly that expanded the weekly market beyond its celebrity and real-life roots. Grazia has amassed a circulation of about 170,000, a substantial figure in the UK.

Says a spokesperson for the company: “We still have monthlies, but the weeklies are where the growth is at the moment. With the culture of immediacy, people need a weekly fix.”

In the case of Project Jackie, many analysts see another success.

“The concept of the magazine is brilliant,” says Evans. “We believe the market is there for it, and we believe it will be successful.” Echoes London-based Blue Oak Capital analyst Derek Terrington: “EMap has a fairly good track record for being radical in the industry.”

Evans, however, is skeptical about You magazine, which, as it will still be available free in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, may be a harder stand-alone newsstand sale.

Date posted: March 8, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 281