Media Lifeline: Nuts

The IPC title has refreshed the lads' mags sector, first by going weekly, then by migrating to the web and TV.

January 2004: IPC stuns its rival Emap (which had scheduled a late January debut for its lads' weekly, Zoo) by launching its own lads' weekly, Nuts, a week earlier on 22 January. Edited by Phil Hilton, Nuts soon establishes a significant sales lead over its rival.

November 2005: Nuts had a rudimentary website right from day one, but, in 2005, nuts.co.uk is given a major overhaul to accommodate new content, including games, video clips and better quality pictures of decolletage and embonpoint. Eric Fuller, the magazine's publishing director, hails it as "the website the magazine deserves".

December 2006: Now, with circulation figures in the men's magazine market coming under increasing pressure, IPC revamps the site to include a video-streaming option called Nuts TV/Girls. This offers short-form content of behind-the-scenes footage from Nuts photoshoots, featuring favourite models such as Lucy Pinder and Michelle Marsh. It also promises action footage of real girls.

August 2007: Video is clearly the way forward. In July 2007, IPC announces that it intends to launch NutsTV, an entertainment and lifestyle channel, on the Freeview digital platform as soon as a suitable space on the EPG becomes available. Then, in August, it reveals that the revamped website has recorded a figure of 631,467 unique users in the June eABC figures. By June 2008, that figure has risen to just short of 1.4 million.

October 2008: But with the print product still losing sales and the audience continuing to migrate online, Nuts revamps its site once more. Nuts' publishing director, Jo Smalley, predicts that nuts.co.uk will continue to be the UK's fastest-growing young men's lifestyle website.

Fast forward ...

May 2009: When growth begins to stall, IPC signs a partnership deal with the popular ethnography and physiology site YouPorn. IPC proposes that nuts.co.uk becomes a front-end portal in a revenue-sharing partnership. But doubt is cast on the deal when a Manila-based organisation points out that, while the site features "real girls" in the Nuts tradition, it is also reliant on work pirated from professional short-form documentary-makers.