Media Week recently asked four key media players (as in key people, not software) whether they agreed with reports that many publishers are now upscaling men’s mags to attract a more affluent reader and advertiser.
Three said ‘No’, while one said ‘Yes’. I’m still undecided. ‘Yes’, because more lower end readers are getting their fix online (hence the popularity of Dennis’ Monkeymag and IPC’s Nuts.co.uk and NME.com). But then I also say ‘No’ because there’ll always be an audience for men’s mags in the lower end. They perhaps just need to make them less embarrassing to read in public. The Sun, which is still going strong, is a perfect example.
So, if by upscale, we mean put less pics of bikni clad women on the cover a la GQ and Esquire, then I say ‘Yes – kinda’. I blogged about men’s mags upscaling a while back (and probably contradict myself).
Still on the topic of lads mags, great article by the Mirror’s Brian Reade today which pointed out the irony in Michael Gove MP blaming lads mags like Nuts, Zoo and Loaded for objectifying women. Brian wondered why Gove missed The Sun off the list, given that Page 3 was also a big offender. Surely nothing to do with Gove being a columnist for the Times, The Sun’s sister paper?
Behold the brand spanking new email newsletter from GQ magazine. But wait – what’s that at the top?! A ‘quote of the day’ from GQ editor Dylan Jones:
GQ, the magazine we are the proud custodians of, is aimed at men who are proud to call themselves Alpha Males.
Hmm – would this be a cheeky reference to Alpha One, the code-name of the new free upmarket men’s title by Mike Souter, former editor-in-chief of Emap’s FHM?
It could be given recent media coverage of the men’s lifestyle market. An article on today’s FT.com pretty much confirms what the industry’s known for a while – the lower end of the market are shifting their efforts to the web, while the all the up market glossies like GQ, Men’s Health and Esquire are enjoying increases in readership. This explains FHM’s relaunch and move towards the Arena / GQ market.
Website to launch ‘this Autumn’ says the holding page at Esquire.co.uk.
Why flag this up? Well, Jeremy Langmead, the former editor-in-chief of Wallpaper who moved to Esquire in May, talks to today’s Guardian about his web strategy and how weekly mags like Nuts have created “a group of disenfranchised men,” which has, “opened up the upmarket end of the sector more than before.”
The Equire website details it’s plans for all to see. “We know,” it says. “It’s time Esquire had an all-singing, all-dancing, out-of-this-world, info-heavy, user-friendly, interactive website – one that will have all the high standards you’ve come to expect from the magazine and a whole lot more. Well, we’re working on it now. And it’s coming soon to a screen near you.”
Despite the website’s positive ‘coming soon’ notice, Langmead, observes The Guardian, appears cool on the internet, and notes that Esquire has delayed the launch of its new website.
“I think they [men] are reading newspapers and they are getting information online, but I don’t think that you get pleasure and enjoyment and a feeling of luxury online,” says Langmead. “Esquire should be information but ultimately a pleasure.”