Shelf life

Competition has reached new heights in the women's magazine market, where there is talk of an imminent price war, and Cosmopolitan unveils its first nude centrefolds in 20 years.

After the launch of the new gossip weekly Here!, whose first issue went on sale at 35p earlier this month, IPC is this week slashing the cover price of Woman and Woman's Own from 55p to 30p. IPC's publishing director, Jackie Newcombe, says the move is a one-off promotion in response to growing competition. The company plans to increase the print runs of both titles to 1.3 million: Woman and Woman's Own currently sell 800,099 and 761,024 respectively. But with reports that IPC's rival, Gruner & Jahr, is considering cutting the price of Best, from 55p to 35p, publishers are bracing themselves.

Meanwhile, Cosmopolitan is wooing readers with the promise of nude centrefolds in the July issue. Well, almost. To avoid offending, Baywatch's David Chokachi, the TV presenter Antoine de Caunes, the UK actor Patrick Robinson and the rugby player Kyran Bracken discreetly concealed their collective manhood for the shoot. All of them feature in a specially sealed, bound- in section. Sadly, David Bowie, and John Major were among those who refused to take part.

Tensions are also growing in the gossip-weeklies market, where weekly sales of OK! are below expectations - between 130,000 and 140,000 compared with monthly sales in the second half of last year of 207,524, OK!'s editor, Richard Barber, has revealed. The title switched to weekly publication earlier this year to challenge Hello!, before the arrival of a third player, Here!. Here! got off to a strong start, the first issue containing an exclusive interview with Fergie. Ad agencies have given it a warm welcome: "What Here! lacks in glamour it makes up for in Peeping Tom style," says one. Even so, they suggest its price-hike to 70p and its slightly downmarket image could dent the title's long-term sales target: 400,000 a week.

Emap Elan has confirmed plans to launch a glossy to plug the gap between its titles More! and Elle. Code-named "Project Beryl", it will be the first women's monthly to be launched in eight years. Edited by Toni Rodgers, the ex-editor of Just Seventeen, "Beryl" will tackle 19 and Company head on, with a mix of fashion, beauty, relationships and sex - but insiders promise "a fresh spin" to appeal to women aged between 18 and 28.

Publishing expected the move, but warn: "Emap must tread a fine line between cannibalising the readership of its existing titles."

An independent publisher's plans to launch an upmarket glossy called Scottish Tatler have run aground following a complaint by Conde Nast Tatler's publisher.

"We threatened legal action, but last week the situation was resolved," Conde Nast's financial director, Michael Garvin, confirms. "They have agreed to change both the name of the magazine and company."

Scottish Tatler was the brainchild of Johnny Elliott, the one-time owner of Tatler. News of the launch emerged in May, when a prospectus was sent to ad agencies.

IPC has confirmed a September launch for Eat Soup - a food, drink and travel magazine for lads aged 25 plus. It will start as a bi-monthly, with a print run of 70,000. IPC hopes sales will stabilise at around 45,000, matching initial estimates for Loaded.

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