Maxim editor calls trade journalists 'wankers' after report of April sales dip

Maxim editor Michael Donlevy has sent an email to staff to boost moral after it was reported that the magazine sold just 24,000 copies of its April issue, claiming that a drop in sales was necessary to move the title away from its lads mag reputation.

It was reported today in Campaign and on its website, Brand Republic, that the magazine’s sales had hit an all time low for the April issue. Its average circulation for the last six months off 2007 was down 40 per cent year-on-year to 78,463.

Press Gazette has obtained an email in which Donlevy gave staff a few key points to boost moral.

And he dismissed the report saying: “Trade journalists are wankers. They don’t like Dennis – never have, never will. So they will give us a kicking instead of reporting that Esquire sold 15,000 or Arena sold four fucking copies.”

Donlvey said the article was ‘scaremongering’and that parent company Dennis Publishing and its owner Felix Dennis were backing his plans for Maxim.

He said: “Basically, we’ve taken a bit of a kicking, but I want to make a few points to reassure everyone. And if any of your contacts or friends ask, this is how to shut them up.

“We don’t have the final sales figures for the Mischa issue. But it’s fair to say it didn’t do very well. However, this story doesn’t include the likes of subscriptions, so it’s fair to say our next ABC will not be this figure!”

He added: “There’s a reason for that. I hope that everyone is well aware that we are trying to change the perception of the magazine from what it was before.

“It was made very clear to me before I started that this would involve taking a hit in sales to convince agents that we were the right magazine for their UK celebrities. Mischa [Barton, star of US teen drama the OC] was clearly not a cover that made consumers grab it, but agents likee it. So this part of our long-term plan.”

Donlevy took the helm at Maxim in September last year, moving from the deputy editor’s post at Dennis stablemate Men’s Fitness. He told Press Gazette at the time that he wanted to move the magazine away from its lads’ mag reputation.

Donlevy said in his email that the April sales figure was a one-off. ‘And as Simon [Clark, Maxim publishing director] told the journalist (although it wasn’t printed) no-one should judge a magazine on one issue. I am well used to, for example, the Men’s Fitness Jan/Feb issue selling shitloads and, say, May selling fuck all.

“Our ABC over six months is what’s important. In fact, our next ABC is not *that* important, in the grand scheme of things. What we’re doing to change the magazine will take time. We should be judged on, say, the ABC after the ABC after the ABC after next, not the sales of the April 2008 issue.”

The Brand Republic article suggested that the Maxim sales figure could mean it being delisted by major retailers. Donlevy rubbished these claims, and said that retailers backed the changes made to Maxim.

He said: “I don’t want to baffle everyone by getting technical but we are not at risk of being delisted by retailers, as stated in the story. The major retailers ¬ the likes of WH Smith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, etc back what we’re doing (let’s face it, our new covers are less threatening to their wholesome image than Lucy Pinder with her tits out). We won’t, for example, have to hide our covers in supermarkets wny more.”

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