New-look New Woman mixes 'fast and furious' with luxury

Emap is drawing inspiration from the weekly market in order to give flagging women's monthly New Woman a new lease of life.

NW, the new title for New Woman, has been radically overhauled for its December issue, with a front news section and a number of interactive reader sections to overcome the difficulties of being a monthly in "our speed-obsessed age", according to editor Helen Johnson.

The move follows a number of high-profile monthly relaunches in the face of falling ABCs figures. IPC's Marie Claire and Emap's FHM both relaunched with pledges to make themselves distinct from the weekly market by becoming more luxurious reads.

New Woman's circulation was 231,785 in the last ABC period, down 14.4 per cent year on year, putting it fifth in its market, below Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Company. Johnson, who has been deputy editor on Marie Claire and worked on the Grazia launch, said that "something dramatic" was needed to revive NW's fortunes.

But she said: "I truly do not believe that putting 3,000-word features in a magazine that you'll compete with the weeklies. [In] women's magazines, there's been a tendency for real blandness that you wouldn't get in the men's magazines.

"New Woman always had this reputation as the fun, feisty one, and I've tried to reintroduce that."

Johnson admitted the opening section, NW News Fix, would inevitably be compared to the format of successful Emap stablemates Grazia and Heat, with its snappy picture spreads focusing on fashion, beauty, celebrity news and bite-size real-life stories.

She added: "All our readers are bombarded by weekly magazines, the internet and fast fashion, so they don't have time to pore through a glossy magazine and read in-depth interviews and long reportage anymore. "What I've done is give them a nod to their love of weekly magazines — but it's just one section of the magazine and that's really crucial."

Johnson insisted that the magazine was not just attempting to mimic the weeklies.

She said: "I really want to stress that bits of it are fast and furious, and bits of it are as luxurious as ever — and that's the key. This magazine is more aspirational than it's ever been before."

The NW website is being overhauled to allow more reader interactivity with Rate My Style, where readers send in pictures of their fashions to the website, and the mag will be critiqued by the magazine and readers.

A regionalised interactive fashion map, which will include reader tips on where to get the latest trends, will also be launched. A panel of reader editors, four women and four men, will review and comment in the title each month. The magazine will also come with a bound in supplement, Style Stalker.

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