By Alyson Fixter
German publisher Burda has launched a monthly home-interest and lifestyle title — Living & Gardens — in competition with News International title Inside Out, despite a difficult year with Full House, its debut into the British market.
Both new home magazines are versions of existing overseas titles: Inside Out is already published by Murdoch in Australia, while Living & Gardens appears as Wohnen & Garten in Germany, Vivere La Casa in Italy and Maison & Jardin Passion in France.
Burda launched its first UK magazine, women’s real-life title Full House, in March last year, and now claims the magazine is "firmly established in the women’s weekly market", despite delisting by Tesco and Asda.
Sales are thought to have picked up to more than 200,000 a week, following an extremely shaky start.
But the firm, which is a publishing giant in Germany, seems determined to make use of its deep pockets to crack the UK market.
It poached staff from the British arm of German rival H Bauer — CEO Alan Urry and publisher Simon Hesling — for its British venture amid much secrecy last year.
Living & Gardens, edited by former Real editor Sian Rees, will "celebrate the charm of English ‘rustic-chic’ style", according to the publisher, targeting 30-something readers and also focusing on cooking, entertaining and luxury travel.
Despite problems in the home-interest market in recent years, a string of new ventures have hit or are due to hit the sector this year.
As well as NI’s title, Channel 4 launched its first branded magazine, 4Homes, last month; NatMags’ She recently rebranded with a stronger homes emphasis; and Hachette Filipacchi — which bought struggling Real Homes in the Highbury House sale last year — has announced a relaunch.
Urry said: "Hubert Burda Media publishes titles across a broad spectrum of market sectors. This variety will be the model for the future development of the UK publishing operation."
Editor-in-chief Rees added: "We know issues such as urban escape, nesting and creating a relaxing and beautiful home environment are increasingly important to women.
"We therefore expect to attract both new magazine readers, as well as those willing to buy a number of titles, that reflect their lifestyle interests.
"It’s the perfect time to launch, as most traditional home interest titles are now more than 20 years old."
Meanwhile, Hachette’s Real Homes, which relaunched with its 1 February issue, now promises readers "a makeover for every room, every month", and has been given a bigger size and pagination.
Editor Lisa McFarlane, who transferred from Highbury with the magazine with four other staff — two of whom have since left the company — said the title was "more focused on its reader" and that the price had been frozen at £2.50.