MEDIUM OF THE YEAR: FHM - Love it or loathe it, this magazine has made a cult of new laddism, nearly doubling its circulation and opening up a mass market for men’s titles

When the votes were counted for Medium of the Year, Emap Metro’s FHM was the outright winner. It was universally recognised that the men’s magazine had a fantastic year in 1997, chalking up enormous circulation increases and storming ahead of all the glossy monthly magazines. For a title that was originally launched as a quarterly in-store title, its impact on the market has been outstanding.

When the votes were counted for Medium of the Year, Emap Metro’s

FHM was the outright winner. It was universally recognised that the

men’s magazine had a fantastic year in 1997, chalking up enormous

circulation increases and storming ahead of all the glossy monthly

magazines. For a title that was originally launched as a quarterly

in-store title, its impact on the market has been outstanding.



Whether you love it or loathe it, FHM has done things for the men’s

magazine market that other magazines haven’t, opening it up in

mass-market terms and helping to consolidate the sector as a ’must’ for

advertisers. During the last ABC audit period (January-June 1997) it

recorded a 178 per cent year-on-year increase to 504,959, leaving the

IPC rival, Loaded, trailing behind at 380,420. This surge in circulation

followed on from an increase of 217 per cent (July-December 1996), which

pushed the magazine past Loaded for the first time.



Media buyers are optimistic FHM will continue to achieve double-digit

growth, a year after people were questioning whether the men’s magazine

market had achieved all it could. There is no doubt that Loaded

transformed the men’s market into a new animal with its lager-and-lads

attitude, but it is still, arguably, a niche magazine. Editorially, FHM

may be unexceptional, and it cannot claim to have invented a new

category, but the title has recognised the demand for glamorous pictures

of half-naked women. It has boosted a sector that was in danger of

losing its edge in terms of growth.



For advertisers, the magazine is the perfect way to catch traditionally

light media consumers, a market that in the past has been relatively

expensive to reach. It also offers the double whammy of a tightly

targeted audience of ABC1 men in large numbers. FHM’s advertising

revenue increased 250 per cent this year (12 months to November) and

leads the men’s market in terms of its prestigious fashion and alcohol

advertising. New advertisers that recognise the magazine’s growth

include Guinness - which has picked FHM as the only men’s magazine it

will advertise in this year - Smirnoff and Raymond Weil.



Since Emap’s acquisition of the title in May 1994 - when it had a

circulation of just 60,000 - FHM has shown phenomenal development. It

has evolved from a specialist fashion and lifestyle title to an

in-your-face magazine.



Its success has spurred competitors such as Conde Nast to rethink its

titles.



In April, James Brown, the former editor of Loaded, was poached to

rejuvenate GQ in the face of FHM’s success and adopt a less reverent

approach. Much of the magazine’s success was nurtured under the

editorship of Mike Soutar, who in March moved on to become managing

director of Kiss FM.



Aware that it will be difficult to continue such an impressive growth

rate, Emap announced in November that it planned to invest pounds 5

million in a spring advertising campaign using Bartle Bogle Hegarty. It

is also hatching plans to extend the brand into masthead programming and

FHM shops.



What won’t Emap Metro do to raise the awareness of the FHM brand?



Channel 5 was the clear runner-up to FHM in this category. Although it

still has to iron out reception problems, the station has made a

positive impact on advertising by increasing commercial TV viewing from

55.3 per cent in March to 57.8 per cent in September.



Since its high-profile launch at the end of March, Channel 5 has gained

pounds 83.5 million in advertising revenue and has managed to persuade

90 per cent of all national network advertisers to try it.



In terms of reach, the channel can be received in 70 per cent of all UK

homes although it still faces the challenge of persuading people to

invest in new aerials and boosting reception.



Aware of the need to extend its audience and pick up homes outside its

transmission footprint, Channel 5 added an extra two million homes by

broadcasting on the Astra satellite. In terms of audience share, the

station has carved out a 3.1 per cent slice of all viewing, and 5.3 per

cent of all commercial viewing with a welcome bias towards the

young.



Channel 5 created one of the most high-profile campaigns of the year,

adopting the distinctive five-colour logo, and ’give me 5’ tagline as

well as hiring the Spice Girls to promote the launch before they became

over-exposed. With a programme budget dwarfed by its terrestrial rivals

and Sky, Channel 5 concentrated on acquiring key football matches and

film deals to boost viewing, in similar way to Sky’s event-led

programming. Overall, the newcomer has had a respectable year, thwarting

Sky’s attempts to poach its head of programming, Dawn Airey, while

reeling in Jim Hytner, Sky’s marketing director, after the departure of

its launch marketing director, David Brook, to Channel 4.



In the turbulent world of newspapers, a number of titles managed to

boost sales while their competitors struggled. The Daily Mail continues

to increase its circulation and advertising revenue and looks invincible

in the mid-market sector. In November, circulation stood at 2.23

million, up just over 7 per cent year on year.



The lengths and expense to which the Telegraph and the Times go in

boosting their sales showed no signs of abating this year, with the

Sunday Telegraph edging closer to the one million circulation mark,

hitting over 900,000 three times this year. The Times, which has

doggedly stuck to its 10p-on-Mondays promotion, is still trying to catch

up with the Daily Telegraph during the week, but the Sunday Times

continues to dominate in the broadsheet market with an average monthly

sale of 1.4 million (ABC 12 months to November).



Recent winners: Sky television (1996); Daily Mail (1995); Classic FM

(1994); Channel 4 (1993); the Guardian (1992).



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £45 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Why creative people have lost their way

What better way to kick off the inaugural issue of Campaign's monthly print offering than with another think piece on the current failings of our industry, written by an embittered, pretentious creative who misses "the way things used to be"...

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).