Can 'Cocktail' Connect With 20-Somethings?

Bauer Has High Hopes, but Women Raised on Web Aren't an Easy Draw

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The magazine business has watched its newsstand sales slide for years; women already have all sorts of magazines trying to serve them. So why does Bauer Publishing think adding another weekly to the rack is a good idea?
'Cocktail Weekly' will target a 20-something crowd with a mix of celebrity news, relationship tips, health and nutrition coverage, and fashion and beauty spreads.
'Cocktail Weekly' will target a 20-something crowd with a mix of celebrity news, relationship tips, health and nutrition coverage, and fashion and beauty spreads.

Cocktail Weekly, as Bauer plans to call it, will target a 20-something crowd with a mix of celebrity news, relationship tips, health and nutrition coverage, and fashion and beauty spreads.

"This information is available, but you would have to buy several magazines to get it," said Hubert Boehle, president-CEO, Bauer. "And let's face it: This is the first generation of readers who grew up with the internet, so they are used to getting timely information," Mr. Boehle added. "That's why Cocktail is a weekly."

Missed opportunity?
But speaking of the web, consider this comment left on AdAge.com's report last week about the launch: "I'm a 20-something, and the first thing I did was Googled it, then URL'ed it -- and nothing," posted Faye Wong of Boiler Room Communications, Melbourne, Australia. "With all the information going around about the net, and how magazines just aren't working as they use to anymore -- I'm surprised there isn't some 'viral teaser' to get me excited about a magazine that is all about me -- and my niche market. Sorry, Cocktail Weekly, but you have already missed my mark! If you want a real point of difference, integrate your medium into my media space!"

Today's 20-somethings are yesterday's teenage girls, and just last year we saw that teens couldn't keep Elle Girl or Teen People alive in print. Those magazines' shutdowns -- and their publishers' promises to keep the brands alive online -- set off lots of talk about a preference for digital among young people these days.

Newsstand success
One media buyer said Bauer knows what it's doing on the newsstand, where it does almost all of its business. "It's a quicker, more service-oriented Glamour-slash-Cosmo kind of escape," she said of Cocktail. "And the fact that it's weekly makes it different. If it's a quality product, it will succeed."

Based particularly on the rise of Bauer's In Touch Weekly, which has achieved average newsstand sales above 1.1 million in less than five years, credit does seem due.

Assuming Cocktail makes a go of it, the real questions may be how long it can last -- and why.

That is to say, what happens when those teens who stopped buying Teen People and Elle Girl reach Cocktail age? Will they shell out for a magazine aimed at their new age bracket?

If the teen titles were early warnings, Cocktail could be the next test.
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