The editor of Shortlist has said he doesn’t think a paid-for men’s title will be launched again in the UK.
Speaking after the publication of Shortlist’s 400th issue, Martin Robinson said print still has a future if magazines adapt to their audiences' tastes, but warned starting a new publication would be “a bit of a challenge”.
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The editor of the UK’s most read men’s lifestyle magazine said: “It’s difficult to imagine another men’s magazine launching into the paid-for sector, put it that way.”
Shortlist launched in 2007 and has a free circulation of just over 500,000 copies a week. Robinson said that last year it acheived record profits (but declined to give details).
He said: "People don’t want to pay for anything these days.
“Also I would say that you can have a great model, but unless your magazine’s any good, no one’s going to pick it up. We put across a quality publication every week, so that really makes a difference.”
With lads’ mags Zoo and FHM set to close before the end of the year, Robinson believes male attitudes are becoming increasingly in line with his magazine.
“People don’t want to be seen with those magazines anymore. We consciously don’t have any of that.
“It’s eight years since we came to be and I think things have shifted more in our direction than anyone else’s in that time.
“I do think tastes are changing, men’s role in society is changing, men are much more self-aware these days, they’re much more conscious of how they’re coming across to the world.
“We were invented along the lines of ‘For men with more than one thing on their mind’ and that’s what we’ve always stuck with.”
He also pointed to other publications that are changing the sort of content they produce in order to please audiences.
“Look at it from Playboy not doing girls anymore to Lad Bible, which is doing very well online but has kind of ditched all the girl stuff and switched to more male lifestyle stuff.”
Since taking over from Terri White, Robinson has pushed issues like depression and addiction to the forefront of the publication.
“Men have feelings and they can talk about difficult issues, which is another big change. You would never, back in the glory days of men’s magazines, of which I was a part, you would never admit anything was wrong.
“The old versions of masculinity, which were quite strict and straight about what it was to be a man, have changed. Things are a lot more fluid, there’s a lot more ways you can be a man when it comes to style or grooming or just your interests.
“All that stuff is really healthy. I think it just frees up your experience of being a fella really. It’s a damn good thing.”
Speaking about Shortlist’s 400th issue, which celebrates greatness and places 15 male icons on the cover, he said “I still can’t quite believe it’s all come off”.
“We thought we’d try and gather some of the greats of their field and try and figure out what it means to be great and how men can pursue greatness.
“Once Michael Caine came on board, everyone else was like 'yes we’re involved'.
“We contacted various people who we think are just geniuses and then tried to photograph them wherever they were around the world. Martin Scorsese was in New York, John Cleese was in Mexico.
“We’ve found it’s been so good to have men who’ve been there and done it as people who we can admire and look to and are not worried about what they say.
“They’re not media trained, young people with a lot to lose. These people say, ‘this is the way I think’. It’s just great to have that really honest advice.”