The problem with Enjoy! was that no-one did. Enjoy it, that is.
When it was put out of its misery last week, it was believed to be
selling only 120,000. When it was launched by Bauer last September, the
print run was around 1.5 million. It was some credibility gap.
It is the first German failure since Gruner and Jahr led a publishing
invasion more than ten years ago with the launch of Prima. G&J proved
the once-mighty IPC could be challenged on its own turf and Bauer was a
big participant in the invasion’s second wave. Despite the bad news, its
stable still includes Bella, Take A Break, TV Quick and That’s Life.
Somewhere along the way, the UK market started to believe the Germans
were invincible. Teutonic cliches were trotted out with ease: flawless
efficiency, thorough preparation, incredible stamina.
This last belief probably loomed largest. Compared with UK publishers,
the Germans looked long term - so the theory went. Because they didn’t
have the City breathing down their necks, they weren’t as driven to
deliver the bottom line as the Brits were. The Germans had deep pockets
and strong nerves - if they believed in a project, they’d stick with
Can Enjoy!’s demise confirm IPC’s return to absolute ascendancy in its
own market? Should it justify IPC’s aggressive marketing techniques?
Enjoy!, which was targeted at 25- to 28-year-old women, served up
celebrity gossip plus a bit of everything from beauty to cookery. It
planned to break new ground in the UK weeklies market; but when it
launched, G&J with Here! and IPC with Now had both beaten it to the
punch. Since then, IPC and G&J have indulged in cover-price cutting.
Bauer management claimed last week that this was a big factor in the
demise of Enjoy!.
Is it true? IPC has also been using cover price cuts to bolster Woman
and Woman’s Own and it seems to be working. Has price cutting been
vindicated and are we going to see a lot more of it?
Jackie Newcombe, the publishing director of Now, does not think so. Nor
does she think that triumphalism is appropriate. ’It’s never nice when
people lose their jobs,’ she sympathises. ’I suppose we are surprised
Bauer didn’t stick with it because it has the resource to take a long
Newcombe reckons that the problem with Enjoy! was that it spent all its
marketing budget at launch and didn’t have anything left - and it isn’t
easy to crack awareness in this crowded market. ’We believe we launched
Now in classic marketing fashion with two phases of promotion. And it
was only during those promotional phases that we cut the price to
Otherwise, we have stuck to our guns at 60p. Here!, on the other hand,
has had six prices.’
She adds: ’If we do get involved with cover-price cuts, as we have with
Woman and Woman’s Own, it isn’t done to boost the Audit Bureau of
Circulations figure. That comes back to haunt you. But we will protect
market share - that means keeping your rivals at a low point and
dominating the shelves.’
Nigel Conway, the media planning director of the Media Centre, can see
tactics becoming more aggressive. ’It has been a bit akin to the
newspaper wars,’ he states. ’This is a limited market and there’s not a
lot more room for growth.’
Conway argues that Bauer didn’t put much marketing support behind
after its launch. ’IPC was very committed to establishing Now and has
continued to give it TV advertising support. So has G&J with Here!. The
lesson is that you need a very aggressive marketing strategy to get the
numbers these days. IPC and G&J are willing to do it.
’G&J started the price cutting and, although IPC has always said it is
reluctant to get involved, that hasn’t stopped it doing it. You’d have
to say that it does work if a major player like Bauer can be squeezed
out of a sector. I’d say that was just as much to do with brand
awareness as quality of product. But no-one can doubt that, over the
last 18 months, IPC has totally re-established its credentials in the
market, not only as a professional marketer but as a company that is
very committed to establishing the right products at the right
Holger Wiemann, the managing director of Gruner and Jahr UK, obviously
can’t agree that IPC has rediscovered market ascendancy. He also says
that there is still no evidence that cover-price cutting works. In any
case, he argues, we’ve now seen the last of it: ’The market has now
It will be the quality of magazines that will determine their
As for Bauer, it may have got it wrong this time but I wouldn’t be
surprised if it came back with something else and a different concept.
Bauer is in the UK market for the long term.’
Neil Jones, a director of TMD Carat, says a five-year snapshot of the
weeklies market is revealing. ’Over that period, the number of titles in
the women’s weekly market has risen from 11 to 16, or 15 following the
closure of Enjoy!. In that time the combined circulation of the sector
has risen by 12 per cent. IPC’s share, though, has risen from 38 per
cent to 41 per cent. That speaks for itself,’ he says.
’When the Germans came in 1986 they caught IPC napping - there’s
absolutely no doubt about that. But since then, IPC has become very
streetwise. It is astute at protecting its market share. This time,
Bauer was caught out, though I’d say the main problem was that Enjoy!
was just not good enough.’
Caroline Simpson, the head of press at Zenith Media, questions whether
Enjoy! ever really stood a chance against a background of price
Spoiling the launches of rivals has become commonplace. She comments:
’Given that the market is approaching saturation point and therefore the
goal is market share rather than growth, it is somewhat surprising that
Enjoy! was only given six months to establish itself, even if a serious
repositioning of the brand was needed.
Publishers must look back with longing to the days when a launch
expanded the market as well as growing market share, and quickly became