IPC considers legal action over Now 'clone'

Rivals: magazines New! and Now

IPC Media is considering legal action over the similarities between its flagship celebrity magazine Now and Richard Desmond’s new launch New!.

The design and cover are almost identical and there are fears that there could be confusion at point of sale. The main point of difference this week was the cover price, with New! undercutting Now’s £1.10 by almost half, at 60p.

The ‘Now viewpoint’ is echoed in ‘the New! view’, ‘Now Star Style’ is mirrored by ‘New! Celebrity Style’ and Now’s ‘week in view’ is similar to New!’s ‘the New! week’. The back page of New!, entitled ‘Favourite Things’, is also reminiscent of Now’s ‘Passions’.

Now editor Jane Ennis said her reaction on setting eyes on the rival was one of “amusement and shock”.

“I despair. I am starting a collection for Richard Desmond so he can go away and lie down in a quiet room and come up with a good idea of his own. Even the logo has two letters the same as we have,” she told Press Gazette.

“It doesn’t surprise me. The Express is like the Mail, Hot Stars is like Heat and New! is like Now. What has he got outside his porn mags that is original? And even they might be copies, I’m not finely tuned in enough to know.”

Now has been a major success for IPC, breaking the 600,000 sales barrier in the last ABCs and outselling Heat, Hello! and OK! on the news-stands. It is also believed by some to have been the source of inspiration for the successful repositioning of Heat.

Emap considered similar legal action against Desmond after the launch of Hot Stars, which it considered to be almost identical to Heat. “We’ll be keeping a close eye on what is happening. If it comes to lots of reader confusion, that will be a worry,” Ennis said.

But Now will not get an overhaul. Ennis said IPC was happy with the product: “You can take a formula but it is all down to the execution.”

New! editor Kirsty Mouatt hit back and defended the launch by branding the claims “ludicrous”. “It is much better designed than theirs, it’s far superior. As with all magazines, it is going to have some elements in common.”

By Ruth Addicott

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