NEWSMAKER/EVE POLLARD: Tabloid veteran turns publisher for her next act - The Fleet Street trouper is tight-lipped about her new venture. By Anna Griffiths

By ANNA GRIFFITHS, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 28 May 1999 12:00AM

’Is this another Cabal?’ was the question echoing around the media industry after Campaign revealed last week that Eve Pollard was bursting into the magazine market with her new company, Parkhill Publications.

’Is this another Cabal?’ was the question echoing around the media

industry after Campaign revealed last week that Eve Pollard was bursting

into the magazine market with her new company, Parkhill

Publications.



Pollard, a larger-than-life veteran of Fleet Street, is to launch three

magazines by the beginning of next year. She remains tight-lipped about

which sectors those magazines will be in and her pitch is low key - in

contrast to Sally O’Sullivan’s entrance into the magazine market last

year with Cabal, pledging to launch 12 magazines in 12 months. But

Pollard is quietly confident and has the backing of the venture

capitalist group, Phildrew Ventures, which evidently believes that she

can produce the goods.



Although her management counterparts at Parkhill are less well known,

few would ignore the forceful presence of Pollard, whose credentials

include editorships of the Sunday Mirror, The Sunday Express, editing

The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine, the News of the World’s Sunday

Magazine and launching Elle in the US. Once described as the ’killer

bimbo’ of Fleet Street, Pollard has a reputation for being a feisty and

determined character who gets what she wants.



For now, the magazine and media industry is welcoming Pollard’s new

venture.



Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Conde Nast, mischievously

exclaims: ’I think it’s great news. It’s like Sally O’Sullivan again.

It’s great the way that feisty old troupers who’ve played every gig in

town just keep on going. Eve’s sensational and a great addition to the

magazine scene.’



Stan Myerson, joint managing director of Northern & Shell, who worked

with Pollard when he was at The Sunday Express and more recently during

her short-lived stint on Chic magazine, observes: ’If she operates in

the way she did when I was at the Express Group, she will certainly

stand a chance. She knows what she wants and she will literally do what

she has to do to get her way. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly, and isn’t

afraid to have a run-in with someone if necessary.’



Given the spate of launches in the sector, the magazine market appears

to be booming. Cabal’s arrival signalled a renewed confidence that

niches could be created.



Mollin Publishing, which is licensed to produce UK versions of two US

magazines, Shape and Men’s Fitness, recently launched. And now we have

Parkhill.



But Cabal’s ambitions, which were first greeted with interest and

curiosity, have since disappointed some industry observers. One says: ’I

was expecting more from Sally in terms of quality - the titles are so

downmarket. Look at Front and Real Homes and the sort of audiences

they’re aimed at.’



But Front, whether you like its in-your-face content or not, has

evidently found a niche in the young lads market, and Real Homes has

also captured an audience.



So what are Pollard’s chances of making a lasting impact on the

market?



Christine Walker, founding partner of Walker Media, says: ’She’s got an

above average chance. It’s very exciting and interesting that she’s

doing what she’s doing. It’s certainly a market in which individuals can

make an impact. But in the end it’s content, then the marketing of the

content and, of course, distribution.’



And Walker believes Pollard’s less ambitious approach is more

appropriate.



’It’s very sensible to take a lower key, less thrusting approach. Eve is

not as intense an individual as Sally is - she smiles more. Both Eve and

Sally have got tremendous contacts, but Eve’s are particularly robust

given her political contacts, and they are ideal in terms of getting the

balance right between feature and newspaper writing.’



The management team Pollard has installed around her is steeped in a

newspaper background. David Sinclair, editorial director of Parkhill,

was her former deputy editor at The Sunday Express and last month left

the Financial Mail on Sunday where he was editor. Pollard says: ’He

describes himself as a Fleet Street heavy and a great sorter-out of

problems. We were a very good duo in our days at The Sunday

Express.’



Jane Sproul, who will head up advertising, comes from The Mail on

Sunday’s Night & Day magazine. ’She understands about a hard sell,’

Pollard says, ’and the feeling that advertising in magazines is as

interesting as the magazines themselves.’



Charles Thompson, Parkhill’s commercial director, brings a unique

business edge with his experience of working for Granville, a specialist

investment bank, Pollard says. This will be fortified by the Phildrew

partner, Frank Neale, who will be a non-executive director.



The only hint at what we may find in Pollard’s magazines is her emphasis

on the importance of advertising. ’One of the things we are going to do

is to make advertising and editorial work alongside one another, and not

separately as they do in most organisations. Advertising is part of our

culture and as much a part of the magazine as anything else.’



If she is looking for a quick profit, she may be disappointed. As one

publishing chief points out: ’Magazines don’t start making money until

they’re in their fifth or sixth year.’ But Pollard is quick to quash

industry fears that she will feel pressurised to perform quickly by the

presence of her venture capitalist backer. ’Phildrew doesn’t want it

instantly, and we all knew it would take a while to build up a brand. We

will do the very best we can.’



And Pollard adds, jokingly, that she will sign each magazine personally,

because ’if that’s what it takes, I’ll do it’.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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