Woman’s Own has been redesigned and has signed up TV presenter Anne Diamond to write a regular diary on dieting.
Backed by a £3m joint marketing campaign with Woman, the revamp features a new red and white logo, increased fashion coverage and a stronger focus on real-life stories.
Editor Elsa McAlonan, who took over from Terry Tavner in January, said the median age of the readers was still 41 but she intended to put a new focus on real-life stories and fashion which she hoped would attract a younger audience.
"We obviously want to appeal to a wider readership but this is not a deliberate attempt to make it younger," she told Press Gazette.
"I think one of the core strengths of Woman’s Own is its real life stories and, as that was my background on the tabloids, that side of the job really appeals to me. It is one thing I’m working very hard at." McAlonan was previously editor of Woman’s Journal, acting editor of Marie Claire and launch editor of the Scottish Daily Mirror.
Before Tavner’s departure, insiders said there was growing conflict over the use of soap stars on the cover – which was dictated by market research.
McAlonan said: "I am not going to do anything that will damage sales at this stage. I would not put models on the cover at the moment – soap stars sell, so it would be silly of me to deviate." Although McAlonan signed up Robin Cook’s former wife Margaret Cook to be an agony aunt for Woman’s Journal and put Monica Lewinsky on the cover of Marie Claire, she said she had deliberately steered away from controversial celebrities in her appointment of Diamond.
"Readers will be able to relate to her and she is a good writer," she said.
IPC will be hoping to strengthen sales of Woman’s Own, which stood at 518,495 in the latest ABCs.
By Ruth Addicott