Online lad mags mirror print success

Joke of the day, position of the week – it’s all in a day’s work for the four strong Website production team of FHM, which last week announced its first official audit by ABC//electronic.

The laddish online content of FHM (www.fhm.co.uk) and rival Loaded (www.uploaded.com) may not be to everyone’s taste. But by registering a total volume of just under 6.5 million page impressions over July, FHM has achieved a level of usage beyond that achieved by most national newspaper sites. Loaded’s online version, Uploaded, registered 2.5 million page impressions in May. But both titles claim to have 6,000 individual users a day.

The trick to publishing a successful consumer magazine online is ensuring content is updated on a daily basis, according to Katarina Strupinska, publishing director of EMAP Consumer Online – even if the magazine itself is only appearing on newsstands once a month.

“We are translating the core propositions of a magazine which is sexy, jokey and useful, by making various daily and weekly updates,” she says. “We can’t just be an online version of the magazine – we have to have updated original content.”

The overlap of FHM’s extensive young male readership (latest Audit Bureau of Circulations figures for the print magazine showed another major leap to 775,000 copies sold a month) with the young, blokey demographic profile in the UK gives it an obvious kick-start in achieving good volumes on its site.

A similar advantage is enjoyed by Uploaded. Its editor Mike Karin insists his main task is to provide “entertainment”, not information, to users. Again, frequent updates and original content dovetailing with the editorial stance of the monthly consumer magazine is the key to exploiting a Web audience, says Karin. “Most of the content on our site is original, although certain sections are reproduced,” he says.

But the question remains whether the success of these particular consumer magazines is down to publishers’ luck or astuteness.

Both magazines’ diet of laddish jokes and copious boob shots are an obvious catch to draw online readers back day-by-day.

Whether other popular consumer magazines in the midst of launching online, such as Country Living, can invent a similarly compul sive daily draw based on their printed subject matter remains a moot point.

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