Loaded's Daubney schemes covers war as Brown leaves FHM

The longest-serving current lads' mag editor has said he's confident his job is safe, after a week which saw a major reshuffle at a rival's portfolio and another round of plummeting ABC figures.

Loaded editor Martin Daubney has said he has a plan in place to turn around IPC-owned Loaded's dwindling ABC figure, which dropped 29.9 per cent to 162,554. Rival Emap's FHM dropped 25.9 per cent, but retained the top spot with 371,263.

Emap has had a major reshuffle of its men's lifestyle section, with the departure of FHM editor Ross Brown and the reassignment of Arena editor Will Drew.

Anthony Noguera has been appointed editor-in-chief of FHM, as well as retaining his position of editor-in-chief of Arena, Arena Homme Plus and Zoo.

Daubney said: "Editors in men's mags are dropping like flies, but I'm not worried about my job. Emap are in a very dark place, they've got Noguera doing three magazines.

"I'm confident that Loaded is still a brand that delivers and we're making plenty of money for the company. The blokes that pay my wages have seen the plan and they're happy with it."

Rob Munro-Hall, managing director of FHM, Arena and Zoo at Emap, said the reshuffle has nothing to do with the drop in circulation of FHM or the weekly, Zoo, which fell 21.5 per cent.

He said: "I'm confident that we've made some appointments that are going to enable us to take our magazines forward in what is clearly going to be a more difficult and challenging media arena."

Munro-Hall said that FHM has a cumulative monthly reach in excess of seven million, which includes 1,753,000 unique web users.

He said: "To put it in context, that means in terms of the overall market we're reaching by far and away the most young men of any publisher in the country. Loaded clearly as a magazine brand is declining at a faster rate than most other lifestyle competitors, and clearly they don't have the same reach digitally as the other players.

"They're also operating as a magazine brand at a far cheaper cover price. I think you'd have to say all told that would be a disappointing result and per- formance for Loaded."

Daubney said the weeklies have changed the landscape of men's titles forever, and it's increasingly difficult to compete with them as their audience are heavily driven by price.

He said: "You can't sit there like FHM and say, ‘we've got an enormous online presence so it's ok'. Their mag sales are down, Loaded's sales are down, and it's my job to put that right. You can't hide behind a smokescreen; you've got to be a man about it."

Daubney said that as part of his plan he's aiming to make Loaded's cover stand out on the newsstand.

He said: "It's all about looking different, we're all the same. Loaded is an award-winning magazine for its writing, but if people don't pick the magazine up then we're failing. The war is about covers. If you're offering the same cover for three times the price, why would anyone buy your magazine? I believe sincerely that we have a plan in place. Let's see what the rest of them have got."

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