While Freundin's paid-for circulation dropped below 500,000 at the end of 2003, the younger lower-priced bi-weeklies Glamour and Woman managed to grab a substantial share of the market.
But Freundin has bounced back. This spring, the magazine re-launched with a new look. In a straightforward style, the magazine boasts typical women's magazine fare (fashion, beauty, health and well-being) and a more personal approach. "We are talking to women on an equal footing," the title's editor-in-chief, Renate Rosenthal, says.
Freundin's facelift is not designed to appeal to very young women; instead, it focuses on a core target group of 25- to 49-year-old women with disposable income who appreciate the finer things in life.
This commitment to quality goes hand-in-hand with an increase in Freundin's cover price, from 2.05 to 2.20 euros.
Among advertisers seeking quality rather than quantity, the strategy is paying off: Chanel has supported the revamped Freundin from the start.
Media agencies are enthusiastic. Klaus Saalfeld, the media director at MindShare in Frankfurt, says: "My first impression is excellent. The features are more readable and the photography is high quality."
Saalfeld thinks Burda is right to raise its cover price. "It is setting a standard in terms of quality. Studies have shown that women are willing to pay more for a better product," he claims.
Yet Guido Friebel, the media planning group head at ZenithMoremedia in Dusseldorf, is unconvinced as to whether Freun-din's readers will notice the difference. But this is a good sign, he argues, indicating subtle rather than dramatic changes at the magazine. "It shows that they are treating Freundin in a sensible and sensitive way," he says.
Paid-for circulation: 465,418 (according to IVW IV/2003)
Price for four-colour full-page ad: 33,390 euros
Cover price: 2.20 euros
Typical advertisers: Lancaster, Vichy, L'Oreal, Chanel, Nivea, Triumph,
Jacob's, Siemens, Volkswagen, Toyota, Peugeot
Rivals: Brigitte, Fur Sie, Journal fur die Frau