Seven and BBC set for battle of garden mags

Seven’s Garden Life will go head-to head with BBC Gardeners’ World

 

 

 

 

 

 

The battle between BBC Magazines and Seven Publishing moved into the garden this week as it emerged that Seven is about to launch Garden Life, a direct rival to BBC Gardeners’ World.

It is the second title from Seven aimed directly at BBC Magazines in the past six months.

Competition began in the food market when Seven launched the UK edition of Australian magazine Delicious after an unsuccessful pitch by the BBC to publish the title under licence. The BBC responded with the launch of another food glossy, Olive.

Seven has now set its sights on a new generation of “lifestyle gardeners” aged 35 to 44. Seven managing director Seamus Geoghegan is a former director of BBC Worldwide and was responsible for the launch of BBC Gardeners’ World magazine, the current market leader. He has poached Gardeners’ World features editor Martyn Cox to be deputy editor on Garden Life, which is due to make its debut on 26 May.

The 12-strong editorial team is headed by editor Paula McWaters, former gardening editor of Good Housekeeping.

“There is a whole new generation of 30 to 40-somethings out there that find the garden is something they want to spend more time in. They are spending more money on it and regard it as an outside room,” Geoghegan said.

“Gardening has never been more popular than it is now in the UK. The gardening magazine sector, however, has lost some ground and is not reflecting consumers’ enjoyment of their garden. What we want to see is a growth in sales and the sector is capable of being broadened further.

“There are a lot of people out there who don’t watch Gardeners’ World or don’t feel Gardeners’ World is for them. I think there is room for something different, rather than another ‘me too’.”

According to Seven, there are more than 4.1 million lifestyle gardeners in the UK. The company is also hoping to capitalise on the growth of organic food and the popularity of farmers’ markets. The 140-page monthly will have a print run of 300,000 and a cover price of £2.90. Geoghegan said he did not anticipate Garden Life knocking Gardeners’ World off the top spot.

The launch will coincide with the Chelsea Flower Show and is backed by an extensive advertising campaign in the national and regional press.

By Ruth Addicott

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