News International gears up for 'celebrity' launches

By Alyson Fixter

News International’s new magazine division is stirring up
established publishers with the rumour that it is planning to launch
several new weekly magazines in the true-life/celebrity arena.

The Sun and Sunday Times publisher has made its first official
editorial hiring in the form of the News of the World’s Sunday magazine
editor, Judy McGuire, who is to become editorial director under chief
executive Camilla Rhodes.

McGuire is reported to be putting
together teams for a number of consumer launches, and the companyhas
applied for trademarks on eight possible magazine titles, including
Game, Juicy, True Lives and Treat!.

One industry commentator said
the rumoured theme for the titles was “downmarket, celebrity-type
magazines, possibly also some in the horoscopes/ new-age kind of area”.

News
International was reportedly forced to abandon a planned weekly launch
in 2001 because of the advertising climate following the 9/11 attacks,
and has not ventured into the sector since, with its one title, Sunday
Times Travel, produced by contract publisher River.

One senior
publisher said: “If NewsInternational decides to start publishing
magazines, we would all be well advised to take them seriously.

“It
has an enormous amount of money and a fantastic track record of doing
things well if it puts its minds to it. News International is starting
from ground zero, but Camilla Rhodes knows her way around the magazine
industry.

It’ll be interesting to see what sort of titles it wants to launch.”

News
International has refused to comment on the speculation, confirming
only that the company is planning to launch some magazine titles and
that Rhodes and McGuire have been hired

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