Media: Double Standards - If my mag were a celebrity, it would be Madonna

Two women's glossy publishers talk cover stars, extending their magazine's brand online and their most ridiculous fashion disasters.

SIMON KIPPIN - PUBLISHING DIRECTOR, GLAMOUR

- Is the women's magazine market over-saturated and can it sustain any more new launches?

Competition in any market is always a positive force, ensuring diversity for the consumer with continual improvements to the existing products, leading to survival of the fittest. The recent launches in this sector are a sign that young, fashion-conscious women continue to enjoy a healthy appetite for their weekly and monthly fix.

- Who are your main rivals?

I view any leisure activity that can take up the time of our readers' lives today as our main rivals, whether that is TV, music, film, shopping or reading books, newspapers, MP3 players or the web.

- How is your magazine different from your competitors?

Glamour has attracted a new audience to women's magazines and is recognised as always being one step ahead of trends, offering a wider range of editorial than its competitors, with consistently surprising and challenging content. An example of this was a high-profile rape campaign we ran last year.

- What does your magazine offer to readers online and how does it impact upon the print version?

Launched simultaneously with the magazine, glamour.com reflects all the style of the magazine with the immediacy of the web. In addition to content from the monthly issue, the website offers daily e-mail updates for regular subscribers and Fashion Finder, a personal shopping service allowing you to browse the high street according to price, colour, item, label or look.

- Are British women as fashion-conscious as their continental counterparts?

Without question - not only are British women as fashion-conscious as other Europeans, but also the British female has an enviable individuality as well as a savvy approach to mixing high street with designer label.

- Who has been your most popular cover star?

This is one of our most highly guarded secrets - I couldn't possibly divulge this information.

- Which modern-day celebrity embodies your magazine's readers more than any other and why?

Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow sum up Glamour's ethos in that they're glamorous and successful, yet equally at home being photographed taking their children to the park in their trainers.

- What is the biggest challenge your industry faces in 2006?

The need to innovate and offer the best environment to your advertisers is an ongoing challenge. Also, the immediacy offered by all areas of the media calls for subtle alterations in the kind of editorial any magazine offers. And the debate over distribution, with the impending Office of Fair Trading judgment, is currently of great concern to all in the magazine industry.

- Which magazines did you read growing up and which current ones do you admire?

As a boy, I grew up enjoying the Eagle comic, and though I'm loath to admit it, I used to dip into Reader's Digest. Trout & Salmon is unquestionably the best magazine ever, and I admire and enjoy Vanity Fair, The Spectator and Private Eye. And I never miss a copy of Campaign!

- What is the most ridiculous clothing you have bought?

Chest-waders. There's nothing better than being encased in rubber in the middle of a chalk stream.

- Best freebie you've ever received or been on?

I guess the best three days I enjoyed were in Biarritz and the Basque country, travelling by private jet courtesy of Christian Dior for its launch of Dune.

ABBY CARVOSSO - PUBLISHER, GRAZIA

- Is the women's magazine market over-saturated and can it sustain any more new launches?

The women's magazine market is fiercely competitive but, as Grazia has proved, there is always room for an original new idea that captures the spirit of the age.

- Who are your main rivals?

Grazia has a monopoly on the weekly glossy market but, if we are to believe the rumour-mill, every publisher in London is working up a copycat launch.

- How is your magazine different from your competitors?

Grazia is the only weekly women's magazine with a truly premium environment. So we are uniquely able to communicate branding campaigns at the precise moment of maximum impact. Unlike any other glossy, we can react quickly to what is happening.

- What does your magazine offer to readers online and how does it impact upon the print version?

Our priority has been to create the hottest magazine in the market and accordingly our website has been a small part of the Grazia experience. Obviously this is now beginning to change as the magazine evolves and we are developing ways for upscale women to interact with the Grazia brand online. The last thing we want to do is regurgitate offline content and our focus is on taking the opportunity to deliver a great Grazia experience through another medium.

- Are British women as fashion-conscious as their continental counterparts?

Absolutely! Grazia readers are dedicated followers of fashion and we know they have an insatiable appetite for the latest trends. And British women are a lot less conservative than their continental counterparts!

- Who has been your most popular cover star?

Grazia's sales are remarkably consistent and the cover star affects sales a lot less than you might think.

- Which modern-day celebrity embodies your magazine's readers more than any other and why?

Probably Madonna. She is a successful, self-made woman. She knows what she wants and lives her life with passion. She is a style icon, but she is a risk-taker and excited by the new, too.

- What is the biggest challenge your industry faces in 2006?

Some monthlies have propped their circulations in recent years through free cover gifts and price discounting, but this is not always an attractive option to twentysomething women. Therefore, monthly titles need to be looking at how they can deliver a relevant and topical product to fit into these women's busy lifestyles.

- Which magazines did you read growing up and which current ones do you admire?

When I was growing up I wanted to be a world champion three-day eventer, so my favourite magazine was Horse & Pony. Magazines that I truly admire are those that can constantly re-invent themselves to be fresh and of the moment. Heat particularly springs to mind.

- What is the most ridiculous clothing you have bought?

I was very partial to my turquoise pedal-pushers and orange boob tube at one time!

- Best freebie you've ever received or been on?

We are so lucky in this industry but, to be honest, I still get excited about any freebie that arrives!