By Alyson Fixter
National Magazine Company execs claim there are eight million dissatisfied true-life fans in Britain who could find fulfilment in their high-profile new launch, the women’s weekly Real People.
ACP-NatMag, the company’s joint venture with Australian publisher ACP, has backed Real People with a £6m marketing budget and based it on 18 months of market research, including 40 focus groups and four separate dummies.
Launching the title into a crowded market, editor Vicky Mayer and chief operating officer Jessica Burley denied there might not be room for another title, saying their research had revealed 11 million readers in the UK who wanted to read true-life stories, despite total sales for the sector of about three million.
Bosses at The Sun publisher News International might also be pleased to hear the news, with their first magazine offering, a true-life weekly provisionally titled Love It!, due to appear early next month.
Burley said: “There has never been a better time for magazines, and for the weekly market in particular. The audience is one that responds well to good publishing.
“ACP-NatMag was set up specifically to launch weekly titles into the UK market and we have been working on doing that in the best way that we possibly can – I personally have never spent so much time on market research.”
Editor Mayer said Real People, which hit newsstands on 12 January, offered a “Ronseal approach” to magazine publishing, with every page referring back to the real people of the title, from the celeb section (“they’re real people too”) to the “real diets” page which cuts out the experts and offers readerto- reader tips.
She added: “We’re basing this on good journalism and our journalists are going out and finding good stories, not waiting for them to come in.”
Extra reader pull comes from a full page of shopping tokens on page two and investment in papers and inks to guarantee “super-bright standout on the shelf”.
While the company was unwilling to make direct comparisons to other truelife titles on the market, chief executive Colin Morrison dismissed industry nervousness over News International’s entry into the magazines business.
“Just because they’re good at producing newspapers doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be good at producing magazines,” he told Press Gazette.
The title will be priced 60p, with a first-issue price of 30p, and will have a print run of over a million, a sign that the publisher is placing market leader Take a Break, which sells 1.2 million copies a week, in its sights.