Magazines chase global elite

AS THE UK consumer magazine market approaches saturation point, publishers are targeting an emerging global elite of urban professionals as a lucrative new market. The result could be the launch of a range of internationally orientated titles at the very top end of the magazine market in 1999.

Pure, a style magazine with an erotic content, is being launched by Blue Apple, a London-based marketing firm, in late February. It will be backed by fashion celebrities and feature work by leading designers including Philip Treacy, the milliner.

Costing pounds 6.95 and coming out quarterly, its target audience will be bankers, lawyers, ad people, and other urban professionals in their 20s and 30s.

The first magazine to target this emerging market was Wallpaper. It was bought for pounds 1m by Time Inc, the publishers of Time magazine, in July 1997 after only four issues.

A source at Time Inc predicted a circulation figure of over 100,000 for the second half of this year, up 20,000 on the first half. Wallpaper's sales in the US are now almost as large as UK sales, and American circulation is continuing to grow.

Richard Atkinson, president of Time Inc Atlantic, said: "Wallpaper was more use to us than anybody because we know how to sell magazines across borders."

There have been rumours, reported in Women's Wear Daily, the US fashion bible, that Tyler Brule, Wallpaper's editor, has another title in the pipeline aimed at a female readership. Mr Brule said: "We've got project teams working on a number of launches. Some in the style somewhat related to Wallpaper, but then some things which might surprise people."

But he stressed a cosmopolitan approach: "We're looking at the market in this country carefully but whatever we do, it'll be an international title in scope. It won't just be something that has to compete directly with GQ, Arena or with Vogue or Harper's. It's got to be something that will work in at least five or six principle markets around the world."

Norman Pearlstein, editor-in-chief at Time Inc in New York, stressed: "There has been no green light for any new publications for the UK out of Time Inc. On the other hand, we love good ideas."

Jack Wright, the English executive editor of Gear, a men's magazine recently launched in the US, said that magazines aimed at international professionals would be "as up-market as you can go".

"You'd have to be getting an awful lot of money from the advertisers," he warned.

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