'Asian Heat' secures nationwide distribution

A new British Asian magazine has broken away from the bottom shelf to win a place alongside other celebrity titles on the newsstand.

Ikonz, a Birmingham-based glossy monthly, launched its first national issue last month. A mix of mainstream and Asian journalism, the magazine looks at music, fashion and showbiz from various communities, from Bangra and Bollywood to chart music and Hollywood.

Editor Reena Combs told Press Gazette: "We didn't actually go out there for it to become an Asian Heat, it's just turned out that way which is good for us, because it's given us quite a lot of publicity.

"It's very positive as Heat is a fantastic celebrity magazine to be compared with and it's an honour, although we're trying to create our own little platform."

Combs said she felt that current publications did not satisfy the needs of young British Asians, and that Ikonz had found a gap in the market.

"We've got fashion, beauty, showbiz — everything put into one magazine that saves a British Asian like myself having to go out and pick up two or three magazines.

"In terms of Asian magazines, I only know two kinds available at the moment — fashion-based magazines or Bollywood magazines. We've got a good mix, and the response so far has been very good."

Combs works with a small in-house team of eight, but has reporters around the UK, including Manchester and London, as well as international reporters. The magazine tested the mar- ket in December, distributing through universities and Asian music shops, and succeeded in making the first national issue available across the UK in mainstream distributors, including WH Smith, Asda and Tesco. Iconz's print run is currently 35,000.

Combs, 25, has been working in Asian media for 10 years, having worked on Asia Today and helping Urban Media to launch Desi Xpress. She said securing big name distributors was easier than they expected.

"We thought it was going to be very difficult, but it's not — distributors have seen the gap and haven't been reluctant in taking it on.

"And the position they've given us on the shelves is great — they're sitting us next to Heat and OK! — we're not on the bottom shelf along with Asian bridal magazines."

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