GQ team fashions a new niche in men's magazine market

THE thriving men's magazine market is about to get another title. The first copy of Conde Nast's lifestyle magazine GQ Style hits the shops on Wednesday, and GQ editor Dylan Jones says he is hoping for "modest sales" of between 50,000 and 70,000.

If the glossy, advertising-packed title meets these forecasts, GQ Style should prove a nice little earner for Conde Nast.

Jones said: "GQ is a lifestyle magazine - of which fashion is an important component - but we felt it was time for a dedicated men's fashion magazine. We believe there is now the market for this. Ten years ago, it was seen as quite avant-garde, but men are more style-conscious than they used to be."

The launch of GQ Style follows Men's Vogue, which is being launched in the US, and is an indication that publishers believe the market for men's lifestyle magazines will expand further despite having grown rapidly in size in the last two years.

Jack, the magazine launched by former Loaded editor James Brown, may have disappeared, but it has been replaced by newer titles which unashamedly use the tried-and-tested formula of "booze 'n' birds".

IPC and Emap went head to head respectively with Nuts and Zoo, two weekly magazines aimed at the lower end of the market.

Nuts now has a circulation of more than 300,000 and IPC is attempting to repeat its success with the magazine that started it all off, Loaded, which has been re-launched. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, Loaded sells more than 237,000, although this has been helped by the cover price being slashed.

At the other end of the men's lifestyle magazines spectrum, FHM remains top of the pile with a circulation of more than 560,000 according to ABC.

Dennis Publishing's Maxim, which has a circulation of more than 227,000, recently slipped below Men's Health, which is owned by NatMag Rodale and which has sales of more than 228,000.

If the various men's titles are enjoying differing degrees of success, the message to publishers is clear - even in times of trouble on the UK high street, men - particularly young ones - still want their fix of glossy magazines.

According to Jones, the men's lifestyle magazine industry is a resilient one. "Even when the market is having a tough time, people still want to know what's going," he said.

Jones predicts the market - particularly in the areas of men's fashion and grooming - will grow further because men are becoming more interested in their personal appearance. But he said there is a "long way to go" before sales of men's lifestyle magazines outstrip those of women's.

• AN entertainment listings paper for Edinburgh and Glasgow will be launched next month by a stand-up comedian and former journalists from The List.

The Skinny, a free monthly tabloid, will be distributed to 500 clubs, bars and cafes in the two cities with an initial print run of 20,000 copies.

The paper's joint managing editors are Xavier Toby, a stand-up comedian and reviewer who previously edited a supplement for The List, and Sophie Kyle, who is also the paper's proprietor and publisher.

The pair have recruited eight section editors and a pool of freelance contributors, although staff will not be paid until advertising revenue starts coming in. Toby said advertisers already signed up included entertainment venues and restaurants, while national brands would follow once the paper was established.

The Skinny will be run from offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow and printed at DC Thomson's press at Port Dundas. Some of the paper's section editors and reviewers previously worked for established listings magazine The List, which will face competition in its coverage of entertainment, the arts, nightclubs and bars. But Toby said his paper would be substantially different: "We've got a younger focus. Most of our writers and contributors are part of the scenes they cover. For example, our arts editor is an artist."

The paper's name comes from and American slang term meaning "inside information", as in the phrase: "What's the skinny?"

Toby and Kyle worked previously on a free music paper called Noise, which he said had been well received but had not worked well as a business. "We saw a gap in the market with noise," he said. "That gap is still there. Most cities in the world have a free listings paper, so it is strange that Edinburgh and Glasgow, two vibrant cities, do not."

Copies of the paper will be distributed in equal numbers in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Toby, who is Australian, said backpackers and tourists in the capital would form an important part of The Skinny's target market. "Looking at our demographic, the good thing about distributing it in clubs, bars and music shops is that they don't have to go out of their way to get it. We will automatically get people who go to those places."

• JEFF RANDALL has quit the BBC as business editor after four years to join the Daily Telegraph with the peculiar title of editor-at-large.

Randall will write a twice-a-week column and is on a reputed 160,000 a year. He will continue to do some work for the BBC, an ironic arrangement after he was forced to give up his Sunday Telegraph column following the Hutton inquiry. The BBC is thought to be pursing the Times' business editor Patience Wheatcroft as a replacement.

Randall said: "I am delighted to be joining the Daily Telegraph. I have had a great time at the BBC, but the chance to write a column in Britain's best-read quality newspaper is just too great to say no to. I can't wait to get started."

Martin Newland, editor of the Daily Telegraph, described Randall as a "marvellous acquisition".

He said: "He talks and writes about complex financial matters in a language people understand. And he does it with extraordinary authority."

Randall's departure to the Telegraph is the latest in a series of reshuffles at some of the top jobs in British business journalism.

Neil Collins, the Daily Telegraph's city editor, announced last month that he was quitting the paper after 19 years. He is to write a twice-weekly column for the Evening Standard.

The Daily Telegraph has hired the Sunday Times' business editor, Will Lewis, as deputy editor. Lewis is replaced at the Sunday Times by John Waples, the paper's deputy business editor.