NatMags' new weekly pins hopes on happier stories

By Alyson Fixter The National Magazine Company has put together a
launch team for its delayed true-life weekly – and plans to challenge
existing titles by featuring more “happy” stories than its gorier
rivals, according to industry insiders.

Publishers are gearing up
for a flurry of activity in the women’s weekly market from the
beginning of next year, starting with the NatMags launch, thought to be
titled Real People.

This will be followed by launches from News
International and Trinity Mirror, rumoured to be called True Lives and
Reality respectively.

NatMags has refused to comment on its new
projects, but is believed to have put together a launch team that
includes three former employees of Bauer weeklies and two former She
staff who lost their jobs when the title was relaunched as a homes
magazine earlier this year.

Publishers have speculated that the
likely editor is Vicky Mayer, an exeditor of Time Out, who has been
working on new launches at ACPNatMag, the partnership between NatMags
and Australian publisher ACP, since March last year.

Names also
floated as being on the staff list include Lucy Welsh, former features
editor at Best, Deborah Doherty, ex-features editor at Take a Break,
Dawn Smith, ex-deputy editor of That’s Life! and Carla Napoleon,
formerly of She.

The sector has seen two true-life launches in
the past year, with widely varying success: IPC’s new generation
true-life launch Pick Me Up, edited by former Chat editor June Smith-
Sheppard, has exceeded sales targets, but Burda’s Full House has
struggled to be stocked by newsagents and was recently delisted by

With market leaders Chat and Take a Break both losing
readers following the new launches, commentators have questioned
whether there is room in the market for more titles.

An industry
insider told Press Gazette that NatMags had carried out “extensive
focus groups” across the UK, and planned to make the editorial core of
the title real-life stories, with more of an upbeat tone than titles
like Chat, famous for tales such as exploding stomachs and brutal

Rival publishers have been reluctant to speak on the
record about the future of the market, but one said: “The market can
always sustain genuinely innovative new magazines which deliver to a
previously untapped audience.”

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