BBC news magazine launch pencilled in for autumn

BBC Magazines’ much anticipated current affairs weekly Newsbrief is to launch this autumn with a subscription drive targeting international and women readers.

The title has been worked out in close co-operation with BBC News and has been through extensive consumer research, which revealed the current affairs title found favour with 30-something mothers, a demographic much sought-after by magazine publishers.

BBC Magazines has previously expressed its keenness to move into the global arena and Newsbrief is expected to have a subscription drive in the USA.

Though Dennis Publishing recently sold a number of its US titles, it retained its weekly news digest The Week, which is likely to reach a new circulation high of 500,000 in its next audit.

Felix Dennis this week reiterated his commitment to the title and to Dennis’ ambitions in America. In a letter to Press Gazette the company chairman said that Dennis’s US arm will be launching or acquiring further media in the future.

According to insiders, the new BBC magazine will be more than just a digest of other BBC content and will take a more analytical look at weekly current affairs. It is also like to benefit from the ability to draw on high profile BBC News names like John Simpson for commentary.

Originally dubbed Project Phoenix, the working title of Newsbrief is intended describe the way the mag briefs the reader, in a digestible fashion.

It is understood Newsbrief will be under the same editorial control as BBC News and there has been an extensive period of consultation with the broadcasting division to ensure it maintains and complies with its editorial standards.

Head of press for BBC Magazines Philip Fleming refused to comment on any of the details of Newsbrief but said that the project had not yet been fully approved. The company is planning a number of launches scheduled for autumn 2007. Its Bristol division is to launch Countryfile in September, linked to the TV programme.

In the Night Garden, a children’s title based on the popular Cbeebies television programme is also to launch.

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