Lads' weeklies inspire redesign of Maxim

Maxim's redesign has drawn lessons from the success of the lads' mag weeklies, according to its new editor.

The Dennis men's monthly editor, Derek Harbinson, previously deputy editor on IPC's Nuts, said the monthlies could learn from the weeklies' success, instead of attempting to distance themselves from them.

He said: "The success of the weeklies isn't something you run away from — it's something you embrace. So you look at what the weeklies do well in terms of content and presentation, and you have to learn from that. "And on top of that a monthly, simply by dint of our pagination, can offer more than a weekly can." Dennis entered the online lads' mags market this month, with web-only ezine monkeymag, which is being cross-promoted in Maxim.

Harbinson said the two titles would have a level of cross-over in terms of readership, and he would be taking lessons learned on the weeklies with him, adding: "Something such as Nuts was a triumph of publishing, an enormous success, and based around the idea that you should never ever ignore your readers. This is a reader service industry. We only exist if we're doing things readers want to buy. "An awful lot of people who get bound up in their magazine's culture, lose track of who they are doing it for, put office banter and themselves a bit too much in the magazine. But readers don't really care about that."

The men's monthlies have been busy addressing the circulation declines that saw Maxim's rivals such as FHM down almost 25 per cent, and Loaded down 20 per cent in the last ABCs. In August, FHM editor Ross Brown said the Emap title would shift its tone to distinguish it from the weeklies, Nuts and Zoo, and he added that the monthlies would have to accept the loss of younger readers to the weeklies.

Harbinson, who took over the Maxim editorship from Greg Gutfeld in July, has overseen a shake-up designed to stem the loss in circulation, which saw the title down 35.8 per cent to 146,043 during the last ABC period.

He was poached from the deputy editor's chair at Nuts, where he had been since its launch in 2004. Previously, he was editor of IPC stablemate Loaded, taking over from founder James Brown in its '90s heyday.

Harbinson said his first issue at the helm of Maxim, out on 24 November, would feature "a complete change of content and design inside", but would retain its core fix of gags, girls and gadgets. The front part of the title has been overhauled to become ‘Inbox', a section dedicated to ‘wow factor' pictures with a focus on cars, gadgets and girls — from international celebrities, to British TV stars and "real life" girls.

On the next ABCs, due in January, Harbinson said he hoped that heavy losses would not continue, but added: "As a full-priced magazine we are still performing well against the likes of Loaded, which has desperately cut its price to shore up sales. "We are now moving into a new phase where we are hoping to buck the trend."

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