Agencies say First magazine has a future despite rival's closure

The women's news weekly First still has a future, despite the closure of Bauer's similarly targeted title In the Know after less than a year, media buyers claim.

Bauer suspended publication of In the Know last week, blaming lower than expected sales. It was launched in August 2006, three months after Emap's First, with both publications combining the true-life staples of the women's weeklies with a current affairs agenda.

Dominic Williams, director of press at Carat, said that Bauer's lack of investment in editorial content was the main reason for the failure of the magazine.

"I think for any crucial magazine they have to have a vision and editorial content, and if you look at it there was no need for that type of magazine in the market place," he said.

"First launched at the same time and Emap put a lot of money behind it in marketing and editorial content, made changes, refined it and got a new editor. However, In the Know didn't.

"From my point of view, buyers have got a lot of choice out there at the moment and every magazine needs to refine to the behaviours and habits of what the consumer is looking for, and I don't think In the Know did."

Mark Gallagher, executive director of press at Manning Gottlieb, said that Emap's "never say never" attitude will ensure First's survival.

He said: "There's a huge amount of supply and limited demand. I suspect what Bauer have done is look at First and they've tried to mimic something that is still trying to find its niche.

"They've looked at whether there's a gap in the market, which is fine, but was there a market within that gap? I don't think on that occasion there was."

Dan Pimm, press manager at Universal McCann, said that launching a magazine in such a crowded market is always going to be difficult.

"It's really difficult to produce a weekly news content provider for women without it coming across as patronising.

"I'm not convinced there's a need for a magazine that's going to give you news snapshots of the past week. People buy magazines to chill out and relax, they want a bit of escapism."

In the Know's launch was supported by a £10 million marketing investment and it had a newsstand price of £1.

The launch was the first from Bauer's project development team, headed by ex-Loaded and Chat editor Keith Kendrick. It had been 11 years since it launched in the women's weekly market.

In a statement, Bauer said: "This concept, with topicality at its core, has failed to capture the interest shown during extensive research, which has translated into a poorer than expected sales level."

Redundancies are expected from within the ranks of its 21 employees, who have entered a consultation period with the publisher.

Emap's First hit its revised circulation target of 100,000 in February, after launching in May 2006. In the Know was selling an average of 107,000 copies each week, according to Bauer, who claimed in February this figure was "a sustainable business model", in an audited publisher's statement ahead of the magazine circulation results.

The publisher said the audited figure covered September to December 2006 and included newsstand sales only.

Bauer also publishes real-life market leader Take a Break, Bella and That's Life.

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