The women’s weekly magazine market is bracing itself for an all-out
price war following IPC’s decision to slash the cover price of its
flagship titles, Woman and Woman’s Own.
In an unprecedented move, from next week IPC will cut the price of both
of its best-selling magazines from 55p to 30p.
IPC’s publishing director, Jackie Newcombe, said the reduction is
currently planned for one week only but that the situation will be
assessed on a week-by-week basis. She did not rule out the possibility
of cover-price cuts at other IPC titles.
Separately, Gruner and Jahr is also cutting the cover price of its best
selling weekly magazine, Best, from 55p to 35p.
Gruner and Jahr’s circulation director, Paul Hodgson, refused to confirm
the move, saying: ‘There are lots of rumours about price-cutting by
various publishers. The last thing anyone wants is a price war and I’m
not willing to fan the flames.’
The current wave of price cuts in the women’s weekly market has been
fuelled by the launch last month of Gruner and Jahr’s celebrity gossip
magazine, Here! (Campaign, 24 May).
The title went on sale in its first week at the special launch price of
35p and industry insiders claimed it sold one million copies. Its cover
price has now risen to 70p. A source said that early indications
suggested sales had dropped off substantially as a result.
Woman and Woman’s Own currently sell 800,099 and 761,024 copies a week,
respectively. In conjunction with the price cut, IPC is also preparing
to increase their print runs to 1.3 million each.
Newcombe commented: ‘Woman and Woman’s Own will be everywhere. We will
stir up the market and people will change their purchasing habits.’
She denied IPC’s decision was reactive: ‘With all the activity in the
market, we were determined to protect our position as the market
Newcombe confirmed that the price-cutting exercise would cost IPC a
‘significant amount’, but added that there would be additional benefits
‘Our strategy over the past couple of years has been to advertise Woman
and Woman’s Own on TV. When we’ve done this, we’ve achieved uplift and
retention. We’re confident that when people buy them, a significant
number stick with them. We see this as an investment,’ she said.