National Magazine Company plots women's weekly title

LONDON - The National Magazine Company is gearing up to launch a women's weekly magazine, which it is understood to be backing with a £10m marketing budget.

The publisher is talking to a number of creative agencies about the launch and a pitch is due to be held in the coming weeks.

NatMags is thought to be attempting to replicate the success of Emap's weekly title Closer, which was launched in October 2002.

Emap backed the launch of Closer with a £10m promotional campaign, with TV ads by DDB London positioning the title as a celebrity magazine for the 30- to 50-year-old women's market.

Closer recorded a 15% increase in circulation to 385,036 during the last six months of 2003. Heat, its sister title, which is aimed at a slightly younger audience, also registered slight growth, seeing its circulation rise to 566,731.

As a whole, the £300m women's weekly market performed well during 2003 with the newer titles luring readers away from the more traditional reads such as IPC's Woman and Woman's Own.

Separately, NatMags is looking for an advertising agency to relaunch Cosmopolitan, its flagship women's monthly, in a bid to attract younger readers. It has been working with Rise Communications to develop a strategy for the brand.

Last week, NatMags announced a tie-up with Rodale International and set up a joint venture called NatMag Rodale Limited, which will publish Rodale's Men's Health and Runner's World magazines.

Duncan Edwards, the managing director of NatMags, was unavailable for comment.

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