Grazia's weekly format makes it market leader

By Ciar Byrne,Media Correspondent
Friday 17 February 2006 01:00

Selling more than 170,000 copies a week at £1.70 an issue, Grazia has the highest retail sales value of any women's glossy. The circulation of the title, published by Emap, has risen by 10 per cent in the past six months.

In contrast, many of the monthlies saw a drop in demand in the second half of 2005, according to official figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations released yesterday.

The circulation of Glamour, the market leader, fell by 23,000 to 585,984, Marie Claire's circulation fell 2.6 per cent compared to the previous six month period, while Cosmopolitan lost 3.5 per cent of its circulation year on year. Company and New Woman were among the worst hit, with declines of 6.2 per cent and 14.6 per cent.

Grazia was launched in February 2005 with a marketing campaign that tapped into an increasing desire for immediacy. Its combination of features on celebrities such as Kylie Minogue, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, along with news, gossip, fashion and lifestyle proved to be an instant success.

Emap's £16m investment in the title paid off when Grazia became its most successful launch in terms of advertising revenue.

Despite early carping from critics, the magazine has built up a portfolio of advertisers that includes Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana and Armani,the high street brands H&M, Oasis and Marks & Spencer and technology companies including O2. Advertisers are attracted to the magazine by its audience of 30-something urban women.

Several rival publishers are now believed to have development teams in place working on emulating Grazia's success.

The idea of a fashion weekly was borrowed from Italy, where Grazia has been published successfully since 1938.

Paul Keenan, chief executive of Emap Consumer Media, said: "It's a very futuristic, innovative magazine that is unique and of its time. It's found a very good audience very quickly. The idea of monthlies is being challenged. We've created a new genre of magazine. Our competitors just couldn't see it, they thought we were barking.

"There are people around who still believed the world is high-brow or low-brow, whereas we're of the opinion that it's no-brow, that people's tastes are a lot more eclectic. Celebrity reality TV shows can attract the attention of people just as much as opera or high fashion."

The former Cosmopolitan editor Marcelle D'Argy Smith said: "I think life is so much faster. We want to grab things on a weekly basis. The monthlies seem laborious to me. It's like waiting for some maiden aunt to turn up."

Monthlies must adapt to changing tastes, said Mr Keenan: "Monthlies need to reflect on their role and on their strengths. Perhaps there has been an inclination to panic and to try to compete with the weeklies on topicality and on making them a fast read, which is mistaken, because it abandons what monthlies are good at - reflection and luxuriating in their depth - and tries to do something they're not."

It was a good six months in general for Emap's women's weeklies, with Closer overtaking the market leader Now and its own sibling Heat magazine to become the best-selling celebrity title after Richard Desmond's OK!, whose circulation was boosted by its coverage of the wedding of the glamour model Jordan. More! magazine, now in its 18th year, increased its circulation to 277,862, becoming the best-selling young women's title.

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