Mike Soutar, chief executive of Shortlist, the new general interest title aimed well-off men aged between 18 and 35 which launched this week, said the title will reinvigorate a men’s magazine market he claims has been dragged down by ‘breasts and bums”.
‘You’re dealing with a marketplace that has been obsessed with breasts and bums and everything else and as products they serve the adolescent down-market reader brilliantly well,’the former FHM editor-in-chief said. ‘But what’s been lost is a balanced magazine that men can be proud to read in public.”
Shortlist will have a circulation of 500,000, with 360,000 being distributed to London commuters. The rest will go to other key cities such as Birmingham and Manchester, in what could be the biggest shake-up in the men’s market since the weekly lads’ mags Nuts and Zoo were launched in 2004.
Shortlist follows hot on the heels of Sport, a weekly free targeting ABC1 male commuters, which has just posted a first ABC figure of 317,093. Soutar said Sport had opened the door for a general interest men’s weekly like Shortlist. ‘Sport has helped prove to readers and advertisers that free can mean quality,’he said.
Shortlist, which derives its title from the predominantly male habit of making lists out of everything, will cover subjects ranging from entertainment to current affairs – a cover featuring Osama Bin Laden tested well in research.
Soutar said the magazine could look very different because it was free of newsstand constraints.
On its coverage of current affairs he said: ‘Nobody is pretending we will do news in a way a newspaper endeavours to break news, but interesting news analysis with a male slant is a core of the magazine and will appear on covers where relevant.”
The weekly magazine will be supported by a website with daily updated content and a digimag powered by Ceros software for online readers.
The traditional men’s general interest titles have had a torrid few years. They have suffered from the competition of the weekly titles and a move down-market by most of the monthlies.
The editorial team on Shortlist reads in part like a who’s who of the men’s market since the Nineties. It is headed by ex-Nuts editor Phil Hilton taking up day-to-day editorial duties, supported by former FHM editor Ross Brown as his deputy and ex-Loaded Fashion editor Adrian Clark as style director.
The 16-strong editorial team is made up of ‘experienced hard-bitten operators and young talent with real potential”, according to Soutar.
ABC1 30-something man’s verdict on ShortList: Editor’s Blog