Magazines' success set to pose new danger to tabloids

Victorious: Nuts editor Phil Hilton

The multi-million pound launches of Nuts and Zoo and the creation of the world’s first men’s weekly market had a resounding impact. The men’s sector was up 26.3 per cent overall – total copy sales having doubled year on year.

The sector also saw the closure of Jack, a new publisher of Men’s Health and editor Greg Gutfeld flown in from New York to shake up Maxim.

Nuts took the market by storm, reporting the second highest sale after FHM of 290,337. Zoo sold 200,125.

Meanwhile, FHM slipped below the 600,000 mark, Loaded lost 10.2 per cent, Maxim was down 9.6 per cent and Front fell 9.1 per cent.

Nuts editor Phil Hilton described his first ABC as a “resounding victory”.

Zoo said the gap has since disappeared and claimed Nuts’ ABC was inflated due to heavily promoted issues at launch. The battle is set to intensify in the next few months after last week’s launch of Cut by Bauer and rumours of KO! from Richard Desmond.

Hilton warned new launches would find it difficult. “We have had such a great start and guys are very habit based – I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of someone launching because you are going to have to change those habits and that is going to be tough,” he said.

Maxim publishing director Bruce Sandell said the weeklies had brought in a lot of new readers, particularly at the younger end. “Our research suggests guys are buying them because they are new and cheap. The real test will be in 612 months time.” He said they would force the other magazines to be better defined and suggested they were “a real danger” for tabloid newspapers.

GQeditor Dylan Jones said the weeklies had cannibalised sales of FHM, Loaded and Maxim as predicted. “You have already seen Jack go and I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t another casualty within the year,” he warned.

Jones also claimed it would not be long before there was a daily men’s magazine. “Some men buy newspapers every day purely for the sports coverage so why wouldn’t they buy a magazine that caters for that?.” Stuff, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness showed growth. At the upmarket end, Esquire was down 7.3 per cent, Arena was up 28.9 per cent to 42,136 and GQ was up 3.3 per cent to 124,685.

Speaking from a beach in Ibiza, Jones said: “It proves GQ is the only magazine worth reading in the men’s market. I mean, is there another one? Speak to anyone in an ad agency and they will tell you that Arena is just a GQwannabe.

Arena editor Anthony Noguera is a man who is not burdened by original thought. Everything GQ does is what Arena does three months later.” Noguera countered: “That’s horseshit.

He has named most of the sections in GQ after things in FHM and Arena. We used to have a section called ‘gadget girl’ – now they have ‘geek guy’.

Dylan Jones is a very scared and very grey man. He is kind of the John Major now of the men’s magazine world.

“What GQ wanted to be was a posh FHM and it just didn’t work. Dylan is pissed off because we kick his arse on every cover he tries to go for, the poor man nearly had a coronary when we got Keira Knightley. The list goes on.”

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