Inside Soap goes weekly as rival looms

Hachette Filipacchi has said it will take on more journalists for the relaunch of TV title Inside Soap, which is increasing its frequency to weekly.

The plans were announced as speculation mounted that Emap is also close to launching a weekly dedicated to soap stars, real life and TV entertainment. Emap has hired a team with a strong background to work on its launch, codenamed Project Star, including former Bella editor Jackie Highe, art director Ian Blom and senior journalist Tammy Cohen.

Highe edited Bella in its heyday when it was selling more than one million copies and Cohen has written for The Guardian, The Independent, Good Housekeeping and What’s On TV. A source said: “Emap is really determined to get a slice of this market after the success of Heat and Closer. It is basically doing what Bauer did 10 years ago, sticking its neck out and saying, ‘Sod it, we know it’s a tough market but we’re going to do it’.”

Inside Soap editor Steven Murphy said the weekly frequency was discussed three years ago but plans were put on hold after the title’s previous owner, Attic Futura, went up for sale. He is now looking for half a dozen new staff to cater for the pagination increase and wider remit to cover TV dramas such as Casualty and The Bill.

“We’re going to expand the team because it’s going weekly. It gives us a chance to bring in more lifestyle, fashion and beauty with a soapy twist,” he told Press Gazette. “With a fortnightly, we still had to be newsy but we couldn’t be reactive.”

The switch will make Inside Soap the UK’s ?rst weekly soap magazine. The title reported an ABC of 247,699 this week. It changed its frequency from monthly to fortnightly in 1996, doubling its circulation in two years.

Former Emap chief executive Kevin Hand, who is now chairman of Hachette Filipacchi UK, said: “Now Hachette Filipacchi is ?rmly established in the UK we are uniquely placed for this sort of initiative.”

By Ruth Addicott

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