The News of the World's new glossy magazine is a vast improvement on Sunday, its predecessor. While hardly a threat to the upmarket newsstand glossies, Fabulous boasts much-improved design and layout, and increased fashion coverage. Advertisers in the first issue include Marks & Spencer, Boots and Specsavers, and there is plenty of FMCG advertising in there, too. An indication that while it's not upmarket, it can still attract the big brands. It will be interesting to see if the title will drive sales of the newspaper as well as ad revenue.
Conde Nast's Vogue has greeted all talk of a slowdown with nothing short of defiance thanks to its record-breaking March issue. Not only has it raised its price by 10p to £3.80, but the issue is also its largest March issue ever - running to 403 pages, and including no less than 282 ad pages. To drive the message home, one of its cover stories is about Harrods' fashion director and her shopping budget of £100 million. Recession ... what recession?
ROSS KEMP IN AFGHANISTAN
Three episodes in to his latest documentary for Sky One, and the former EastEnders actor is winning large audiences and critical plaudits. Kemp is following "B Company" of the Royal Anglia Regiment from its training camp in the UK to the front line in the desert. And the result is a surprisingly revealing, evocative and moving piece of film-making.
THE OBSERVER FILM QUARTERLY
Yet another Observer launch, but The Observer Film Quarterly is a cleverly done ad-funded project backed by Volkswagen. Similar to most ad-funded projects, this one rises or falls by the quality of the content linked to the brand, and The Observer team has created a first issue that does the brand proud. The Jack Nicholson exclusive would be a worthy addition to any newspaper, and most of the features ideas, such as "Top Ten Movie Villains", work well. Now The Observer just has to keep this up for a further three issues ...
AND ONE THING WE DON'T ...
JANUARY'S BARB VIEWING FIGURES
Barb figures for January show declines in peaktime audience for both ITV1 and Channel 4. This is a real shame, because both broadcasters have been slapped in the face by viewers, despite trying to improve the quality of their schedules. While Channel 4's decline can be explained by the absence of Celebrity Big Brother, it's disappointing that audiences aren't switching on in greater numbers to ITV1's new-look schedule - which includes shows such as Moving Wallpaper, Trial & Retribution and Honest. Let's hope that ITV sticks to its guns and continues to invest in good, new programming.