Bliss: another makeover in 2002
Emap has poached Cosmopolitan’s deputy editor, Helen Johnston, to be editor of Bliss in a bid to clinch leadership of the teen magazine market.
The move coincides with work on a relaunch for Bliss, whose sales fell 15 per cent in the latest ABCs. From the February 2002 issue it will be repositioned as the "ultimate baby glossy", competing head-to-head with recent launches Elle Girl and Cosmo Girl! Marina Gask, editor-in-chief of the youth group at Emap Elan, said she interviewed 12 candidates for the Bliss job but chose Johnston because of her background in glossies.
Johnston, previously deputy editor of Marie Claire and commissioning editor on the Daily Mail’s Femail section, said the opportunity to be an editor had attracted her to the job.
"The aim is to make Bliss the market leader," she told Press Gazette. "The teenage market has just exploded with the introduction of new titles and everyone is raising their game."
Gask said: "There will be a lot of changes and we are very much looking at the content. The team is already in place and it will be up to Helen to make any changes."
Johnston will be Bliss’s sixth editor in the past three years and will take over from Liz Nice, who quit to go freelance earlier this year.
The teen sector, which recently saw the closure of BBC Worldwide’s Star: The Celebrity Magazine, suffered a decline across the board in the latest ABCs with no titles recording a rise for the six-month period up to June 2001. Bliss retained second place behind Sugar with sales of 255,251.
February’s relaunch will be the latest in a series of makeovers for Bliss. In 1999 it was repositioned as a "young Marie Claire", devoting half its editorial to shopping. A year later, Emap promised to invest £500,000 and repositioned it again as the "mag that makes you famous", targeting fame-hungry teenagers.
By Ruth Addicott