What Newsstand Meltdown? Bauer Starts a New Celebrity Weekly

Closer Will Vie for Gen X Women

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Bauer Publishing, the owner of magazines including In Touch and Woman's World, plans to introduce Closer, a weekly celebrity magazine aimed at women in their mid-30s to late 40s, the company said.

The rollout, reported Friday in The New York Post, is a surprising move amid a years-long slump in newsstand sales. Magazines' single-copy sales in the second half of last year fell 8% from the second half a year earlier, according to the Alliance for Audited Media, with double-digit declines at In Touch, sibling Life & Style, Time Inc.'s People and Wenner Media's Us Weekly.

But Bauer, which has always emphasized newsstands over the subscription business that comprises the focus at most U.S. publishers, remains committed to newsstands.

"This really goes against the grain," said Marc Richards, VP-group publisher at Bauer's entertainment and teen divisions. "The biggest publishers are pulling back from newsstands. We're not."

Bauer's confidence in Closer is rooted in its belief that the magazine's intended readers -- the women of Generation X -- represent an untapped market. "They're a forgotten generation among marketers, because they're sandwiched between baby boomers and millennials," said Mr. Richards. "It gives us a unique opportunity in the market."

Mr. Richards, who will be publisher of Closer, said the magazine will feature celebrities that Gen Xers grew up watching and focus on positive stories instead of scandals. It will also include age-appropriate advice on fashion, beauty, health, fitness, diet, recipes and decorating.

Annabel Vered, an editor at large at Life & Style, will be the magazine's editor in chief, has spent the past year developing the Closer prototype, according to a Bauer spokesperson. She will be hiring editorial staffers ahead of the magazine's arrival in early November. Closer's first issue will cost 25 cents, with subsequent issues going for $3.99, according to the company.

Bauer Publishing, part of Germany's Bauer Worldwide, puts out celebrity magazines under the title Closer in the U.K. and Germany, and in France through a licensee, but the company insisted the American version and its European counterparts are similar in name only.

Along with Closer, Bauer said it will roll out two more print titles in the fall. Girl's World, which is geared towards girls ages 7 to 11 years old, will come out seven times a year and cost $4.99. Celebrate With Woman's World, an offshoot of its top-selling title Woman's World, will come out six times yearly and feature content on special occasions and holidays. It will cost $4.99.

"We have such a strong loyal following with Woman's World that we wanted to give them something else to keep in their home, something to refer back to," said Mr. Scott. Woman's World was the top-selling weekly magazine for single-copy sales in the second half of last year, slipping only 2% from the period a year earlier, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

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