Contributors include Man Booker nominees Colm Toibin, Andrew O’Hagan plus poet Nick Laird. The title has downsized to American A4 and resurrected the original Esquire cartoon mascot, Esky, in a nod to the brand’s 70-year heritage.
Editor Jeremy Langmead, who joined from Wallpaper* four months ago, said the changes were to create a point of difference on the newsstand, but added that the title, which currently has an ABC figure of 52,468 (down 3.8 per cent year-on-year), would focus resources on increasing subscription sales. The subscription edition of Esquire has no coverlines.
Langmead said: ‘It has become increasingly dangerous to rely solely on newsstand sales.”
He said the title was now on target to increase circulation ‘incrementally’but said Esquire was a niche, luxury publication and not mass market.
‘If we wanted to be mass circulation, we would be a different magazine,’he said. ‘We want the right readers, not lots of wrong ones.”
At its peak, Esquire sold more than 100,000 copies. On the newsstand, it currently faces fierce competition from CondÃ© Nast’s GQ, which showed a 1 per cent year on year rise to 127,505 in the most recent ABCs.
At the same time as Natmags appointed Langmead, Emap recruited Sunday Times interviewer Giles Hattersley to edit its flagging men’s monthly, Arena. 27-year-old Hattersley is expected to bring a fashion focus to the title.
Both he and Langmead come from fashion backgrounds, having studied fashion journalism at Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London. Hattersley began his career at The Sunday Times style section, where Langmead was editor in the Nineties.
On the current newsstand opposition, Langmead said: ‘There are some magazines that you flick through and you feel that everything is chucked at you. It can be slightly intimidating. You don’t know where to start with them. A magazine should be a pleasure.
‘I thought what was missing on the newsstand was a magazine for intelligent and sophisticated men – which is what I tried to do. When I was doing research for this, I looked and there was not a magazine I wanted to buy that was both entertaining and informative.”
A new website is likely to be launched by the end of the year as part of a multiplatform strategy, but Langmead said the magazine relaunch was part of a thinking that the most luxurious and niche publications would remain the strongest, despite competition from other media.