Friday, February 16, 2007

Formula

It was a bloody day in the men's market and the writing is clearly on the wall for some.

Never before have we seen such serious plunges in the glossy men's magazine market, with falls of close to 30% for Loaded, Maxim and FHM.

Emap's FHM fell to 371,263 copies, a year-on-year fall of 25.9%. It was worse still for rivals. Loaded was down 29.9% to 162,554, making it the biggest loser and Dennis Publishing's monthly Maxim was down to 131,497 copies, a drop of 29.3%.

Even the boys weeklies suffered a little. What it seemed to suggest is that finally the bottom has literally fallen out of the market.

Clearly, it isn't all about readers suddenly tiring of the acres of flesh and the paucity of ideas that these magazines display week in and week out, but that has to be part of it.

The internet has played a part in the downfall of these magazines, but I don’t think that it should be overstated.

There is a desperate need for an injection of new ideas into the men's market and I am not talking about the launch of e-magazines such as the Dennis-owned Monkey, which slips even further downmarket than its printed rivals and whose survival is dependent on the amount of flesh it features. The trouble with Monkey is that its readers are those who do not have access to their parent's credit cards.

Maybe this is part of the reason why Dennis is to sell off Maxim. Perhaps, having looked at the title it has no ideas whatsoever to do with it.

It will be interesting to see who buys it. Whoever snaps it up will not get it cheap and the task ahead is not small. The title needs to be relaunched and shunted in a new direction, otherwise it will close.

The same is true for Loaded, but with a title so dedicated to... well being loaded, it is difficult to change course.

These magazines are like big ships, changing direction takes a long time and it is not necessarily something they can do easily.

FHM clearly has a little more time, but for a magazine that once sold around 700,000 it is a shadow of its former self. The editor Ross Brown has already lost his job and where that title goes is a huge worry for Emap, which has already closed the title down in the US.

This all brings us back to Emap's talked of men's version of the all conquering Grazia: an intelligent men's magazine. It sounds almost like an oxymoron (OK, I know there is GQ, but there are only so many Piers Morgan articles you can read) and maybe it is.

Look at Emap's ailing rival Arena. That has in its past been described as an upmarket men's title. And you know what happened to that, don't you? That's right, it is also down 29.9% year on year to just 34,556 copies. The editor got the chop yesterday and the title itself can not be long for this world.

Grazia for men? Good luck with that one. That rumour started doing the rounds last year and has popped again over the last week. Amusingly it has been dubbed "Project Dizzy". Dizzy trying to work out how they can make it work without Emap losing its shirt.

2 Comments:

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Lads Mag said...

I have read FHM since it started and can say that even though they keeping trying new things there is simply too much flesh...

Don't get me wrong I like flesh, but FHM used to have a good mix of wakey and factual content that is now missing or reduced to a single page article, they should look at a more mature content and leave the tacky flesh to Nuts and the rest of the OTT weekly's.

 
At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started with loaded left that as it was a bit chav, moved onto FHM and then GQ/Maxim. Havent bought any of these mags in the last 5 years. Saw Maxim the other day for the first time in years and bloody hell its like razzle!

 

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