Ex-FHM chief to lead free men's mag launch

Former FHM editor Mike Soutar is fronting a new men’s weekly title which will avoid having to “bow to the rules of the news-stand” by joining the growing free magazines market.

The half-million circulation title will launch this autumn, to form part of an integrated print and digital offering (including social networking features), with the print magazine being distributed to commuters in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and West Yorkshire.

Soutar explained that the decision to follow in the footsteps of London’s weekly free magazine Sport and launch as a free was to escape the frustration of the congested news-stand.

He said: “Sport has done a terrific job of proving you can be free and quality at the same time. The idea of direct distribution seemed to make the most sense and be the most efficient way to do it. You have a very congested news-stand, and with so many similar products it’s difficult not to slip into a formula and I think that’s a frustrating thing on a creative level. We can create a distinctive product.”

The content is aimed at 18 to 35- year-old ABC1 men, and will be a mix of entertainment, sport, travel, news, as well as weekly listings.

Soutar told Press Gazette that the weekly lifestyle title will “sit outside anything that exists in the men’s paidfor market”, sitting between the “lad” titles such as Loaded, FHM, Nuts and Zoo, and the more upmarket niche titles such as GQ and Men’s Health.

Phil Hilton, who launched Men’s Health and formerly edited Nuts, will edit the title. Former director of News International’s News Magazines Karl Marsden takes on the role of managing editor, while former creative director for Emap’s men’s portfolio Matt Phare is the creative director.

Tim Ewington, who worked with Soutar at Crash Test Media – the media company that Soutar left his editorial director role at IPC to start – takes on the position of strategy and digital director in the new, yet-to-be named company.

Ewington said: “When you read the likes of Nuts or Zoo you feel a bit dirty – we want young men to be able to sit on the train with a young girl on one side and a grandma on the other.”

The title is backed by a claimed £2m marketing budget, with investors in the new company headed by former IPC chairman and Emap group managing director Sir David Arculus.

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