ANALYSIS: Has Later got what grown-up males want? - IPC plans a big brother title to lads’ mag Loaded. But will Later be able to find the right attitude and voice for the generation of British males that has matured and moved on? Claire Murphy fin

There comes a time when men tire of reading magazines full of pictures of semi-naked women and articles about 36-hour drinking binges.

There comes a time when men tire of reading magazines full of

pictures of semi-naked women and articles about 36-hour drinking

binges.



At least that’s what publishing giant IPC hopes, as it puts the

finishing touches to plans for its new magazine, Later. Due to hit the

newsstands at the end of this month, the title is being pitched at ABC1

men aged 25 to 40 who feel they have grown out of the likes of Loaded,

FHM and GQ.



After 18 months in research, Later represents IPC’s attempt to provide

something new for the original Loaded lad, now the wrong side of 30.



’These men are in the habit of buying magazines,’ says Siobhan

Fitzpatrick, Later’s ad manager. ’But they want to move on from the

hedonistic style of younger men’s titles.’



The irony is that this is the market that the old GQ was trying to play

to, back in the days before Loaded enticed it into a publishing

lad-fest.



But Later promises to have a tone, attitude and language all of its

own.



Not one of the lads



’It’s not hard to stand out in the men’s market - there are so many

me-too titles,’ says Later’s editor Phil Hilton, a former editor at

FHM.



Hilton wants Later to be relevant to men who have stopped rebelling and

want to get on in life. ’We’ll be focusing on how to achieve financial

and career success, stories of interest to men around 30.’



Cover lines on the dummy issue, for example, refer to features on how to

become a rich landlord, quitting your job to become rich and a nostalgia

piece on cult 70s film Rollerball. However, the cover features an

almost-naked girl and promises a feature on ’Sex tips we tried on our

girlfriends’ - standard Loaded fare. The strapline is ’Success Money

Women’.



Hilton admits that scantily clad women will have a place, but claims

that the featured females ’won’t just be there for the sake of it.

They’ll be people who have done something’.



Mike Soutar, former FHM editor, and soon to be editor of Maxim in the

US, feels IPC has identified a market with potential. ’There is a large

group of readers who buy the current titles because they think they’re

funny, but the editorial isn’t relevant to their lives anymore. I’m sure

it will give GQ and Esquire a run for their money.’



Media buyers are confident that there is a market for Later, although

they are reserving final judgement until they have seen a few

issues.



’The proof will be in the attitude of the editorial,’ says Jeremy

Krantz, group director at Mediapolis. ’It will suit men who feel they

have grown out of the aggressive attitude of Loaded, who would like

editorial presented more maturely.



’There are magazines for men in their 30s - titles such as Arena and

Men’s Health - but they tend to be based around specialist

interests.’



A question of balance



However, some buyers are not confident that Later has the right

balance.



’Some parts of the dummy looked like they had overdone the maturity;

others looked like they would be more at home in Loaded,’ says Simon

Timlett, head of press at Optimedia.



’Most men buy a magazine for entertainment. I’m not sure that a magazine

is the right environment for financial advice, or the more boring

informative stuff that they could get from newspapers or the

internet.’



One of the key premises behind Later is that the men’s magazine market

is now mature enough to bear the new sector that IPC has identified.



But Timlett questions this: ’The market has not settled down enough to

identify sectors this closely.’



IPC’s Fitzpatrick believes Later will bring new advertisers to the

sector.



’We’re already seeing interest from financial services clients, who have

not been a big investor in men’s magazines. But it will also appeal to

the kind of advertisers who currently rely on Sunday supplements.’



She thinks that this evolving of the men’s magazines market will prompt

agencies to design tailored ads for the title, an effect Loaded had on

the market when it launched in 1994.



’Initially advertisers found it difficult to put Loaded on the schedules

because they weren’t sure how their ads would fit with the rest of the

magazine. I think Later will be the same.’



The launch is a crucial one for IPC, being its first major new general

interest title since the company’s management buyout last January.

Fallon McElligott is devising a pounds 2.5m ad campaign to accompany the

launch. The initial print run is 400,000 with a reduced cover price of

pounds 1.50.



It will be interesting to see how IPC presents the idea of growing

older.



’The name Later conjures up a rather sad surrendering to the inevitable

responsibilities of property and family,’ observes one buyer. But

perhaps he’s just a Loaded reader.



Circulations of Top Ten Men’s Mags

Magazine       July-Dec 1997   July-Dec 1998   % rise

FHM                  644,110         751,493     16.7

Loaded               441,567         457,318      3.6

Maxim                249,096         321,947     29.2

Men’s Health         225,126         283,359     25.9

Sky Magazine         186,961         132,480    -29.1

GQ                   129,294         132,185      2.2

Esquire              106,203         108,284      2

Wallpaper                  -         102,158      -

Bizarre               71,782          95,167     32.6

Face                 100,744          71,381    -29.1

Source: Audit Bureau of Circulations



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