Hepworth plans to take on Emap with rival to Q

Hepworth: "launches a priority"

Two of Emap’s longest serving magazine gurus, David Hepworth and Jerry Perkins, have set up a new venture and plan to launch two titles – a rival to music title Q and an official magazine for Paul McCartney’s world tour.

Hepworth, credited with launching Q, Mojo, More!, Heat and Just Seventeen, said the priority of the new company, Development Hell, was launches.

He has poached Mark Ellen, his co-founder on Q and Smash Hits, from Emap. Chairman is Peter Strong, former chief executive of Archant.

Hepworth said his new company, based in a small room in Islington, North London, was the total opposite to Emap. "I can assure you that this is not a multimedia company. We don’t believe in media neutralities. We’re media partisans.

"Major publishers are doing fewer, bigger things and that’s why we think there are opportunities for magazines which will probably get by on smaller circulations for some time but actually grow into bigger things.

"I’ve had a lot of experience in the business and I have come to the conclusion that if you have got a really good magazine it will work."

He anticipates sales for his new music title of between 35,000 and 40,000 a month in the first year.

Sources say the move reflects growing dissatisfaction among some Emap staff, fed up with the company’s focus on multimedia branding, TV, digital and radio rather than magazines.

Another source said Hepworth, Ellen and Perkins used to be "absolute stalwarts" of the music division. They  are reluctant refugees."  

By Ruth Addicott

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