Celebrity covers a hit with Scarlet women

The new publisher of saucy women’s monthly, Scarlet, says that introducing celebrity covers has increased newsstand sales.

Wes Stanton, publisher at Blaze Publishing, bought Scarlet in April this year from old school friend Gavin Griffiths, of Helix Media.

Stanton said newsstand sales of the title, launched in November 2004, have picked up since celebrity covers were introduced. He said the current sale is around 45,000.

‘We see its potential as a niche title, but also it has broader appeal. The balancing act is to make it appeal to mainstream while not losing its essence.

‘It’s easy to [appear different] with a cover of burlesque dancer Dita Von Tease, but she’s not quite the same currency as Jordan.’

Stanton said he was keen to keep to Scarlet’s original mission as a sex-focused women’s monthly, which has been hailed as ‘Cosmo’s cooler, older sister”, and has a strong feminist editorial line with a ‘no-diets’policy.

He set up Blaze Publishing in 1999, and its portfolio includes specialist titles Clay Shooting magazine, Bow International and several B2B titles for the shooting and gamekeeping industry.

Last August Blaze Publishing launched Black Meringue, a quarterly alternate wedding magazine, which Stanton said complements Scarlet. The titles are already working together with cross promotions.

Stanton said there would be increased promotion of Scarlet, with inventive methods used to compete with bigger publishers: ‘It’s always difficult for a small company to compete with the Condé Nasts of the world, so what we have to do is be smart. Our recent fatism campaign got a lot of interest, and you’re going to see a lot more campaigns.’

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