INTERNATIONAL: MEDIUM OF THE MONTH - Spain’s oldest gossip mag has spawned imitators and sister titles

This month, Spain’s top-selling and most venerable weekly gossip glossy, !Hola!, spawned a sister magazine in France, Oh-la!, causing more than a few ripples in the marketplace. The German publisher, Gruner & Jahr, also chose to launch a gossip magazine at the same time called Allo!, prompting !Hola!’s publisher to go to a Paris court in an attempt to clarify ownership of the !Hola!/Hello! brand name.

This month, Spain’s top-selling and most venerable weekly gossip

glossy, !Hola!, spawned a sister magazine in France, Oh-la!, causing

more than a few ripples in the marketplace. The German publisher, Gruner

& Jahr, also chose to launch a gossip magazine at the same time called

Allo!, prompting !Hola!’s publisher to go to a Paris court in an attempt

to clarify ownership of the !Hola!/Hello! brand name.



!Hola! is king of the many gossip mags in Spain, serving up a frothy

cocktail of society news, celebrity lifestyles and gala state occasions,

elaborately illustrated with full-colour glossy photos. In a country

greedy for celebrity news, gossip weeklies occupy six of the top ten

places in Spain’s magazines sales tables. Their popularity has been

attributed to the fact that, until very recently, Spanish newspapers did

not include the social diaries or gossip columns that feature in so many

British and US dailies.



Unlike its more glitzy rivals, !Hola! avoids the sensational and paints

a rosy picture of life in its coverage of the social whirl. It firmly

sticks to the rules laid down in 1944 by its founder, Antonio Sanchez

Gomez, who insisted that a subject must never be embarrassed and a

reader never offended. !Hola!, still in the grip of the founder’s

family, does not accept second-hand reports, declines to print lurid

details of private lives or sexual scandals. But it does chase and

publish first-hand confessions, a recent spread on the Duchess of York

being a good example. The popular belief that you are a social nobody

unless you have appeared in the pages of !Hola! and the intimate

cosiness of its pictorial reportage have contributed to its appeal.



With a paid circulation of more than 600,000 - a very high figure in a

country in which the leading newspaper only sells an average 440,000

copies daily - and a readership estimated at 3.2 million, !Hola! is

directed at women of all backgrounds, although its core market is the

monied and middle classes. This is reflected in the advertising which is

dominated by perfumes, cosmetics, fashion, champagne and clothing

companies. The top six advertisers, each with an annual input of around

dollars 1.4 million, are the Estee Lauder Group, L’Oreal Group, El Corte

Ingles (Spain’s biggest department store chain), Puig (Eaux de Colognes

etc), the LVMH Group, and the Swatch Group Espana.



!Hola! has come a long way since its scissors and paste beginnings in

Antonio Sanchez’s Barcelona flat 54 years ago, but it still remains a

family business. Antonio’s widow Mercedes, 76, is chairman of the board

and his son Eduardo Sanchez Junco, 54, manages, publishes and edits the

magazine. Carmen, Eduardo’s 27-year-old daughter, is in charge of

special editions and frequently contributes articles on fashion, travel

and cuisine.



The family is fiercely protective of its privacy and Don Eduardo spends

any free time playing tennis or shunning the public glare in the

seclusion of his sprawling farm near Burgos.



!Hola!

Cover price                                 Pta250

Guaranteed circulation (Dec 1997)          633,425

Current ad rates: colour full page   pounds 10,871

Current ad rates: mono                pounds 9,129



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