Opinion: Women’s titles should try to be mould breakers

A bloke rang me last week to tell me he was about to launch a magazine called Mould Technology. It is the first title for his new business-to-business publishing company, but it sounds like it has a better chance of success than some of the grand new glossies gestating in the offices of the consumer publishers.

A bloke rang me last week to tell me he was about to launch a

magazine called Mould Technology. It is the first title for his new

business-to-business publishing company, but it sounds like it has a

better chance of success than some of the grand new glossies gestating

in the offices of the consumer publishers.



While I cannot claim to have understood fully the chap’s appraisal of

the mouldings market, I did glean that there is something of a rift

between the mould manufacturers, the plastics companies and the end

users. Our man is determined to develop a title that will help the

groups communicate with each other and work as one industry rather than

three. He’s done his research and has the support of each of the

factions - where else are they going to advertise?



I confess, I wouldn’t necessarily want to be the editor of Mould

Technology - not that I’m about to get an offer - but it is easy to see

that it is a valuable and logical business proposition.



At the other end of the scale, in the glossier world of consumer

publishing, there is a scrum to produce yet more magazines for women.

IPC is reincarnating its 60s style bible Nova and Eve Pollard is trying

to give birth to Verve, a magazine for older women. Gruner & Jahr is

cooking up a title with the oddly similar name, Vital. Dennis is still,

after several years of deliberation, working towards a women’s magazine

called PS. John Brown has joined the throng with the announcement of his

plans to produce Bare. And Conde Nast is cleverly pre-empting these

launches, and hoovering up spare budgets, with a one-off called Real

Dressing.



The banal names chosen for these magazines - admittedly some are just

working titles - are matched only by the lack of imagination that has

resulted in these publishers trying to fill barely visible niches in the

women’s market, rather than coming up with original ideas. Doubtless

they will be good products because most of these companies have an

incredible record, but it is questionable whether they can all turn a

profit - especially if the economy were to slow a little. And if they do

make money, it will surely be a question of cannibalising the existing

market.



Why not try to spot a new niche or create a new market? Look at

Wallpaper, or at Wallpaper founder Tyler Brule’s intriguing new plan for

a quarterly sports magazine. Brule has come up with great ideas that

create their own market. John Brown might look even closer to home at

the many ground-breaking titles in his stable. Take Viz, Fortean Times

or Bizarre for example: love them or hate them, they all exploited

previously untapped markets.



And that’s where Mould Technology has one up on Verve, Vital and the

rest.



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