Conde Nast proceeding with 'Personal Best'

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Dispelling industry rumors, Conde Nast Publications said it still plans to launch Personal Best, a new men's health/fitness title, as a GQ spinoff next spring--albeit in a scaled-back form.

"We are going to be putting out Personal Best," said Conde Nast President-CEO Steve Florio. "It will come out this spring."


But while the project's backers were hoping to test it as a stand-alone title on newsstands, Mr. Florio said it will launch as "an insert in GQ, similar to the way Ms. was launched in New York."

Among other new titles, Personal Best will do battle with POV, The Guy's Survival Guide, also hoping to capture upscale young men with a combination of fashion, career, music, health, fitness and finance editorial.

The every-other-monthly, started late last year, is being backed by Freedom Communications, owners of the Orange County Register. It will go to monthly frequency next year.

Mr. Florio makes no bones about the fact he is targeting the health/fitness genre, where Rodale Press' Men's Health has set the pace.

"We'll be targeting the men's health and fitness area," said Mr. Florio. "The best men's launch in the last couple of years has been Men's Health--we tip our hat to them."

Through July, Men's Health is up 19.7% in ad pages to 408.4, according to the Publishers Information Bureau.

"I think it says that the men's market has shifted beyond narrow special-interest titles," said a spokesman for Men's Health.

Rodale recently said it was increasing the rate base of the 10 times a year title by 13% to 130,000. The company also introduced a British edition of the magazine last March.


Conde Nast International, headed by Jonathan Newhouse, the one-time publisher of the domestic edition of Details, said that after two test issues this year, GQ Active has been given the green light to publish monthly in April 1997.

That move comes only one week after several top ad executives announced that they were jumping to maverick British publisher Felix Dennis to help him launch the U.S. edition of Maxim, being billed as a "service magazine for regular guys."

But not everyone has scored big in the realm recently.

Men's Journal, despite top editorial awards, is struggling on the ad front this year, dropping 17.5% through July to 354.8 ad pages, PIB said.

Copyright September 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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