U.K.'s latest fashion: weeklies

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Weeklies are the new monthlies-at least in the U.K. Here, weekly magazines have stolen the initiative from their monthly counterparts in creating fresh, innovative and glossy products that appeal to advertisers and readers alike.

The latest entry into the market is IPC's Look, aimed at women in their teens and 20s, which is breathlessly billed as "the new weekly glossy dedicated to the greatest sport on earth-shopping." Being in the next age bracket, I'm more of a Grazia woman myself.

Emap's Grazia-the first to break the mold-was conceived as a weekly Vogue that would attract high-end fashion advertisers and provide a more frequent fashion fix for style junkies. Celebrities dominate the cover, but it still feels like a fashion and lifestyle title rather than a gossip rag.

The formula has proved a success, and advertisers include top fashion houses YSL, Dior, Prada, Fendi and Moschino, as well as Ford, Seat, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and major makeup brands and retailers. Circulation grew 20% in the second half of 2006 to 210,200.

Since its launch two years ago, Grazia has provided me a regular Tuesday-morning treat-so much so that I've just let my subscription to Vogue lapse after 12 years. The thing about a weekly is that, because I know it's going in the recycling after seven days, I feel a sense of urgency about it and read the whole thing, whereas a monthly sits on the coffee table waiting for the idle hour that never comes.

The U.K. weekly-magazine phenomenon goes hand-in-hand with the speed and success of Britain's High Street fashion stores. With Topshop introducing 300 lines every week, readers want regular updates on what's in store. Weeklies are perfectly placed to provide this, while monthlies are handicapped by long lead times.

There is even a danger that because of the dynamism of the weekly market, young women in particular are not developing a monthly habit at all. Monthly teen titles are closing or losing circulation, and as teenagers grow up, their lack of interest in monthlies may affect titles aimed at older markets.

It's not just women. The men's magazine market has also had an innovation injection in recent years. Emap and its big rival, IPC, launched men's weeklies, Zoo and Nuts, respectively, at the same time in 2005, featuring a nonstop mix of sports and girls. While these magazines have prospered, best-selling monthly FHM saw sales slump 25% in the first half of last year.

Emma Hall is Advertising Age's London reporter and is an avid magazine reader.
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