Emap is betting £12 million next week on First — a weekly magazine said to be inspired by female-friendly news seen on programmes such as GMTV and aimed at thirty-something "supermums".
Part of this will be spent on giving away 600,000 sample copies at mainline stations and supermarkets and on direct mail, adverts in the regional press and an interactive TV promotion.
The title opens with picture-led news "influenced by the issues that affect women and their families" according to editor Julian Linley. Columnists include comedian Jackie Clune and journalist Miranda Sawyer, who have both become mothers recently.
GMTV's Penny Smith will also write for the publication. The ITV breakfast show has been the cited as the biggest influence on the launch, Emap Entertainment's fifth in five years.
Linley said: "GMTV is perhaps the closest media thing to it — in actual fact it was round the time of the tsunami when we started thinking about the idea and it was the image of the waves that made me think, I want to see this in a magazine. A newspaper won't reproduce this image well enough for me, but on TV it was happening so fast you wanted to stop it and feel what it meant to that person right there."
The 25-strong editorial launch team includes former tabloid newspaper staff to help fulfil a more newsy brief, as first employed by Emap on its celebrity gossip weekly Closer. The associate editor for news, Maggie O'Riordan, has been poached from her executive feature writer post on the Sunday Mirror, and the associate editor for features, Caroline Jones, is a former Daily Mirror women's editor.
Linley comes to the title after more than five years as deputy editor at Heat.
He said: "Celebrity is something you can't really escape today.
"Our way of dealing with these celebrities is to focus on the celebrities around the same life stage as our readers. So anything surrounding relationships, health and family is how we approach it. If we had more celebrity than this, it would undermine the news values of the title."
Emap Entertainment managing director Louise Matthews said: "In research we found news in printed format wasn't really delivering for this woman; the broadsheets were too intelligent, too wordy, and the tabloids too trashy and too male. The more GMTV, chatty approach to news was more appropriate.
"We felt the reader is at a point in her life where she wants to know a bit more about what's going on in the world because she's bringing her children up in it."
Matthews added that the impetus for First's topical format wasn't driven by the success of Grazia. "The Grazia reader is a little more up-market than this reader — but it's interesting that the mix of fashion and hard-hitting news has struck a chord, so I suppose it's a similar thing, but done in a slightly more massmarket way."
With First priced at £1.20, Emap Entertainment, the company's celebrity and women's weekly arm, hopes to reach a circulation of between 150,000 and 200,000 in the title's first year.