Hello! could be about to revolutionise the weekly sector with the switch to a new ‘mini’ size.
Publishing director Sally Cartwright said she was seriously considering changing the size to a smaller A5 format, in line with Glamour, and it was just a case of "persuading the proprietor".
"I would love to see a mini Hello!. I am absolutely for it. I think if we had a miniaturised Hello! it would do stupendously," she told Press Gazette.
If the proposal is given the go-ahead, the new format could appear on news-stands within the next few months. "Christmas would be easy," she said.
Her comments come on the back of Hello!’s 84 per cent circulation increase and its highest ABC of 842,723 – the result of a £3m marketing drive with the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday in which readers were offered the magazine for 1p. The sampling campaign saw Hello! regain the lead over OK!, which was also sold for 1p with Express Newspapers, and was up 43 per cent year-on-year.
Cartwright said Hello!’s ABC was helped by a 26.6 per cent rise in the number of younger readers aged 25 to 44 and "sharper" editorial under new editor Phil Hall. "We have been completely upfront and said we do not expect that sort of figure next time because we will not get it," she added.
Although ABC has since changed the rules and increased the minimum cover charge to 20 per cent of the cover price, Cartwright claimed there was greater danger of distorting the market with small level bulks which could be overlooked.
Bulks aside, Now stole the lead from Hello! on the news-stand by more than 50,000 copies, while Heat shone again with a fantastic 147.5 per cent rise on the same six-month period last year.
Louise Matthews, managing director of Emap Elan Entertainment, said Heat had been "inundated" with offers to do tie-ups with papers but turned them down. "We wanted to be seen to be the purchase of choice," she said.
Market leader Take a Break turned around its decline and pushed sales over 1.16 million, while the rest of the sector, apart from That’s Life, showed a year-on-year fall. Woman reported sales of 660,781 and Woman’s Weekly, which is 90 years old in November, 503,722.
Overall, the sector was up 8 per cent – despite the closure of Women’s Realm. IPC did not post a figure for its new launch Your Life but said it was on course to reach its target ABC of 125,000 next year.
by Ruth Addicott