Archive for the ‘Bauer’ Category

On this day in magazines: Grazia goes with Kate Moss in 2005

February 21, 2017


First issue cover of Grazia magazine, the weekly fashion glossy. The cover feature for the 2005 February 21, issue was Kate Moss saying she will never marry

First issue cover of Grazia magazine, the weekly fashion glossy. The cover feature for the issue is Kate Moss saying she will never marry

Emap set out to change the face of glossy fashion magazines with Grazia, a weekly glossy, on 21st February 2005. The idea of having the production values of the big fashion glossies on a woman’s weekly is not original, having been tried, in vain, by Home Journal in the 1930s, Riva in 1988 and Real in 2001.

Kate Moss is the cover model, with a newsy story about her views on marriage to provide the topicality – and the celebrity interest – a weekly needs today. Take a look at the Evening Standard, one of London’s free papers, these days and you’ll see there’s barely a story without a celebrity angle.

Inside, Grazia is printed gravure, which gives a silky feel to the matt paper pages, with lots of fluorescent yellow ink and black.

Grazia's contents page shows its signature colour, yellow

Grazia’s contents page shows its signature colour, yellow, with a Tod’s advert opposite

A large format and gravure is the formula that works for Grazia, now published by German-owned Bauer, attracting fashion advertising and selling an average of 117,597 copies of its 50 issues a year, at a cover price of £2 (89.8% purchased).

Grazia‘s success has helped gravure printing become more popular against offset litho, with Cosmopolitan switching over last year when its adopted its ‘midi’ format, and stopped printing at two sizes, handbag and A4. Condé Nast rival Glamour – which popularised the monthly handbag format when it launched – adopted a midi format (276 by 203mm) with its February 2017 issue, and has been printed gravure at Prinovis in Nuremberg, Germany, since 2004. Glamour sells 256,466 copies a month (91.4% purchased; now £1 on the news-stands, against £2 last year); and Cosmo 400,547 (77.7% purchased; £1 on the news-stands).

Bauer has a Grazia data page and Grazia media pack. See Grazia’s ABC sales certificate.

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design



The fall of the lads: Loaded and Clarkson

April 1, 2015
The May 1994 first issue of Loaded - a landmark title under James Brown

The May 1994 first issue of Loaded – a landmark title under James Brown

There’s a certain irony that Loaded, the magazine credited with sparking the lad’s mag boom under editor James Brown, announced it was closing last month, just as the BBC drew the curtains on Jeremy Clarkson’s tenure fronting Top Gear. Loaded  is closing, with the last issue, dated April,  published on March 26.

Loaded was launched by IPC (now Time UK) with the strap line ‘For men who should know better.’ It seems incredible now, but Loaded and its arch rival FHM once shifted more than a million copies a month between them. The better-selling, babe-infested FHM even topped Cosmopolitan, then the best-selling women’s  monthly, in the sales stakes.

An in-your-face spread from Loaded in May 1995

Influential design: an in-your-face spread from Loaded in May 1995

And Loaded was not just influential in its sector, it rode the wave of irreverence led by Viz (1979) and TV series such as Men Behaving Badly  (1992) to help pave the way for the likes of Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC’s TV mega-hit Top Gear (2002). Emap furthered the trend not just by buying up and relaunching the 1985-founded FHM but also by bringing out Minx in 1996 – ‘For girls with a lust for life’. Furthermore, Loaded‘s design attitude spread throughout the magazine industry, both in the UK and overseas.

However, IPC sold Loaded in October 2010 to Vitality. Although its sales once regularly exceeded a quarter of a million, IPC offloaded Loaded as part of a sale of several ‘niche’ titles. In truth, Loaded had been dead on its feet for a long time, the latest in a line of lad’s mags to bite the dust. Yet, they helped expand the mainstream men’s magazine sector, which is now more vibrant than at any time.

At the lads’ end of things, the two survivors are Bauer’s monthly FHM – selling about 75,000 copy a month, a tenth of the total at its peak in the mid 1990s – and the weekly Zoo, selling 30,000.

It just seems a shame that, even as Clarkson goes out with a bang, the equally loud-mouthed Loaded is going out with a whimper.

Grazia in price cut to £1

August 7, 2012

Grazia has almost halved its price for this week only in a last-minute change to £1 from the usual £1.95. The issue – dated 13 August – goes on sale today with an off-sale date of 14 August. Bauer says it ‘periodically promotes issues of our magazines with price changes.’

Tit-bit: the magazine sees itself as published from’Grazia towers’.

Grazia briefing

August 11, 2011
Kate Middleton's image was manipulated to remove Prince William

Kate Middleton's image was manipulated to remove Prince William

Grazia has admitted digital manipulation of images of the royal wedding, says the Guardian. Kate Middleton’s image was manipulated to remove Prince William and she was ‘touched up’ in the process.

The magazine responded to a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, saying:

‘… we asked our reproduction house to remove him from the picture (common practice among glossy magazines). This would have left the Duchess with only one arm, so they copied over her arm to complete the picture. We would like to reassure all our readers that we did not purposely make any alternations to the Duchess of Cambridge’s image to make her appear slimmer, and we are sorry if this process gave that impression. Grazia takes the issue of women’s body image very seriously and we would never “slim down” a picture of a female role model.’


Split cover problem for Outdoor fitness

July 19, 2011

Split covers can be a devil to get right – when used well, they really stand out, but a publisher can be at the mercy of its printer, as demonstrated by this example of Bauer’s latest launch Outdoor Fitness.

Dummy cover for Outdoor Fitness from Bauer

Dummy cover for Outdoor Fitness from Bauer

Cover of Outdoor Fitness, as it should look

Cover of Outdoor Fitness, as it should look

Matching colour is one problem but then register is another. Joanathan Manning, editor, and art director Mark Tucker will have been spitting at this result from the presses at Polestar Chantry.

Outdoor Fitness split cover

Outdoor Fitness split cover ruined by poor registration and/or binding

The colour effect is deliberate (I assume!) but the register or binding is way out – a good 2-3mm. Hopefully, it only affected part of the run, but in this case it was all the copies in WHSmith at Euston I could see.

Still, Outdoor Fitness is a rare launch these days, attempting to segment the men’s health and fitness sector so dominated by NatMag/Rodale’s quarter-of-a-million-selling  Men’s Health. In this case, carving out ‘Middle-Aged Men in Lycra’, apparently known as MAMILs.

Magazine cover secrets

Who could buy Radio Times and Loaded?

September 29, 2010

It seems like some of the jewels in the crown of British magazines are up for sale – from BBC Worldwide’s Radio Times to IPC’s Loaded.

But who could buy them? The future for Loaded is tricky with the Guardian talking of alarm at the offshore companies with porn links seemingly lined up as a buyer by IPC. But IPC’s future is undoubtedly being driven in the US with owner Time-Life’s need to generate cash.

Radio Times has long laid claim to two records – as Britain’s most profitable title (over £20m a year is the figure touted) and the record best-selling magazine (8,832,579 copies – ‘the largest sale of any weekly magazine in the world’ in the period coinciding with the launch of ITV in 1955).  Even with all the launches in the TV listings sector, it’s still a top 3 seller and the upmarket readership ensures high ad rates, as former Radio Times editor Gill Hudson pointed out at the weekend.

Whoever took over the title – or took an equity share – would need three things:

  • big financial resources;
  • expertise in weeklies;
  • experience in running a joint venture.

The biggest companies – Bauer and IPC – have their own listings titles and a tie-up or share of Radio Times going to these companies would probably be politically difficult. IPC is trying to find cash rather than splash out, though German group Bauer is very much a long-term operator and has experience of running listings magazines in continental Europe.

Next up is Cosmopolitan publisher National Magazines. It has a similar market share to BBC Magazines, but might be able to call on the resources of Hearst, its US parent, and has weekly expertise in Best, Real People and Reveal – though even their combined sales do not match the 947,131 a week of Radio Times. NatMags has also run joint ventures with other US and Australian groups. There is also the other US offshoot, Conde Nast, but it has no weekly credentials and has been having a torrid time in the US and money would be tight.

Future has refocused in recent years and shows every sign of sticking to its last.

Another name jumps into the frame though. The Guardian Media Group has a 41% chunk of Seven, whose founder, Seamus Geoghegan is a former BBC Worldwide director who launched Gardeners’ World and ran other titles; it also has a stake in Word and has long controlled the Auto Trader group. But what about the money? The Guardian Media Group called on private equity group Apax to put together a £1bn deal to take over Emap’s trade titles.

Private equity has played a big role in the past couple of decades, of course, with Cinven buying out IPC from Reed before selling it on to Time.

The Guardian and the BBC both have ambitions in the US but GMG has seen recent changes at the top – would this deter a Radio Times move, or proffer a chance for reecently installed chief executive Andrew Miller to make his mark?

Bauer’s Carvosso in fiery debut

February 11, 2010

Bad taste joke of the month – or possibly just a very old one – from Abby Carvosso, new head of magazine sales at Bauer Media, in a Media Week interview with Harriet Dennys:

‘High praise is also reserved for Heat, which Carvosso describes as “on fire”, before cackling with laughter at her own, unintended, pun.’

In the run-up to Emap’s launch of  the magazine 11 years ago last week, television advertising showed people reading the magazine and bursting into flames. This led to 150 complaints to the Independent Television Commission from viewers who said it was ‘distressing’ and totally inappropriate’. The Fire Brigades Union said at the time: ‘It is wholly inappropriate and totally insensitive to use these images in this way. People who have lost a family member in a fire could be grief-stricken by these advertisements.’

Emap tried to defend itself in Scotland’s Herald, saying: ‘We have taken a surreal approach to the creative idea of reading the “hottest” new weekly entertainment magazine which covers the burning issues of the week.’ Also, it told The Independent: “The scenes involve a lot of water or situations which make it obvious that it isn’t real. It is not our intention to offend and we don’t feel we have.”

This seemed a strange defence – if any of its magazines had 150 letters on a single topic it would certainly have taken notice.

Publishing companies tend to have relatively high staff turnovers and so have short memories, but the value of a trawl through the archives should never be overlooked (or perhaps Carvosso did look at the cuttings and decided to dust off the joke).

Heat first issue cover – and cover for test issue, Pulp.

Hello! and Mail take on OK! / Express

May 31, 2009
Hello cover

Hello cover

Celebrity weekly Hello! has signed a distribution deal with Daily Mail owner Associated Newspapers so it will appear in newsagents on Monday, a day before arch rival OK! – owned by Richard Desmond alongside the Daily and Sunday Express – and its other competitors, including Bauer’s Heat and IPC’s Now!.

Publishing director Charlotte Stockting tells the Observer it should boost Hello!‘s 420,000 weekly sale by 20,000-30,000 copies.

Celeb mags have long fought using cover price, and by buying up big wedding exclusives; now it’s a race to get on the shelves.

Maxim closes – but don’t mourn the gonners

April 4, 2009
Issue 4 of Maxim under editor Gill Hudson carried a CD-Rom on the cover

Issue 4 of Maxim under editor Gill Hudson carried a CD-Rom on the cover

Maxim has followed Arena into the great paper recycling bin in the sky. Well, it’s no surprise; the title had been dead on its feet for a couple of years. What is surprising is the health and breadth of the men’s lifestyle sector.

Back in 1985 there was nothing. As Brian Braithwaite, a former publishing director of National Magazines, said:

‘I was told quite positively in the mid-70s by the Men Who Must be Obeyed from America that men’s magazines were a dead duck. My attempt to produce more than one edition of Cosmopolitan Man [with Paul Keers, who was later to head the launch of GQ, as editor] in 1978 was quashed by top management to make way for yet another women’s title, Company.’

That was eight years before the debut of  Arena, which sparked today’s lifestyle titles – and James Brown’s reaction to them led to Loaded.

Today, there is FHM, Loaded, GQ, Esquire, Nuts and Zoo for the mainstream sector; Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Bizarre, Stuff and T3 taking a specialist slant;  and a raft of quarterly or biannual niche titles, from the recently launched Buck, to The Chap, Another Man, Blag, Fantastic Man, Man About Town, Notion and Wonderland.

Then, there are the freebies – Shortlist, Sport and (digital only) Monkey.

And, like any sector, men’s lifestyle is littered with bodies – Later, Cut, Deluxe, Eat Soup, Ego, Front, Ice, Mondo, Sky, Untold and Jack, to name a few.

So, don’t mourn the gonners, go out and buy The Chap and learn about Steam Punks; compare your moustache with the lads in Buck; see how many fewer nipples there are in FHM these days. Pip! Pip!

History of men’s magazines

History of Maxim

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out for my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

Bauer bets on Eat In

April 1, 2009
Eat In first issue

Eat In first issue

Bauer’s Eat In appeared on the shelves this week (May cover date; on sale first Tuesday) and it will be interesting to see how it fares.

The company has spent the last decade closing titles, first  its failed launches between 2002 and 2007 – Cut, Real, Lounge, Three-Sixty and In the Know – and then several of the Emap titles it took over 18 months ago, the most recent being Arena.

Bauer shook up UK women’s weeklies in 1987 with Bella and it made a similar splash with Take a Break in 1990. However, its string of failures saw the company’s market share being slowly eroded, despite it publishing Take a Break, Bella and That’s Life. It started to look like the sort of long, slow decline that IPC’s women’s weeklies Woman and Women’s Own have suffered – until Bauer made its move for Emap.

Eat In sees Bauer on what should be safe ground for it in the form of  ‘service’ features, and it’s a pretty big sector to go for.

The BBC’s Good Food and Sainsbury’s Magazine (Seven) each shifts more than 300,000 copies a month, with Australian-licensed Delicious (Seven), Olive (BBC) and Easy Cook (BBC) in at 105,000 to 80,000.  However, freebies abound here. Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Somerfield Morrisons give away a combined total of about 9 million copies and the most upmarket of the lost, Waitrose Food Illustrated (John Brown), another 300,000.

The recession may be a boon for eating in with Bauer saying: ‘As we continue to be inspired by top chefs and TV personalities, Eat In captures this enthusiasm by showing how to create simple, delicious dishes using quality, affordable and easily accessible ingredients.’ However, the TV seems laden with adverts for eat-in ready meals at £5 or £10 for two.

The first issue felt light to me with 84 pages on thin stock (a minimum 100 pages has been the pattern for many monthly launches). However, it looks pretty packed with an impressive ‘our dishes at a glance’ spread on pages 4 and 5 to push its wares. Easy Cook, which put in a 20% rise in sales last year and costs £2.60, looks like the target for Eat In‘s print run of 120,000. At £2.50, Eat In is 70p cheaper than Good Food, which is nudging its price up by 10p from its May issue.

Bauer profile

Eat In fact file