Agencies can’t wait for the launch of magazines for grown-up women

A never-ending diet of celebrity gossip is all very well, but women in their 30s don’t really care. Time the sector saw a little innovation, says Ian Tournes

We are an ageing population. Nothing new there. However, you could be forgiven for missing this fact if you were using the women’s magazine market as a barometer.

Over the past ten years or so, there have been quite a few launches aimed at women. Most of these have catered to the desire for celebrity gossip. And if you look at these titles’ target readerships, they are all women in their mid-20s to early 30s.

I don’t find this particularly surprising – I can’t see many women in their mid-30s or beyond being interested in Britney Spears’ sweat patches or Cameron Diaz’s spots! So what exactly are women in this market being offered to read?

The weekly market is propped up by Closer and New!, both of which have posted period-on-period circulation increases of 20 per cent or more. This has caused circulation in the category as a whole to rise by two per cent – but strip these two titles out and you will see a sector that is in decline.

The monthly market is in slightly better shape, with steady increases in the latest set of figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABCs), but as a category it has lacked any real innovation and hasn’t seen any major launches since Glamour arrived on our shores four years ago.

So is this a market in need of something new? The answer from publishing houses would seem to be a resounding “yes”. The weekly market seems to be lacking a title that actually talks to women in their mid-30s – perhaps taking some of the more interesting celebrity news and combining it with some real life, giving the reader something she can relate to. The monthly market could also do with a title aimed between the younger and older ends of the market. Something that relates to women’s lives, tackling anything from fashion to homes.

With the National Magazine Company having produced no significant launches since Cosmopolitan in 1972, and Condé Nast always on the look-out for new ideas targeting the upper end of society, it looks like we are in for a couple of big launches in the near future. Marketing spend is always an issue for new launches, but this is unlikely to be a problem for either of these publishers. And with Richard Desmond on the sidelines, surrounded by rumours of men’s and women’s weekly launches, the sector could be in for a shake-up.

Agencies always treat launches with a little bit of caution. The main worry is that they are merely going to take readers away from magazines already in the market. However, given the fact that the number of women aged between 30 and 59 is predicted to increase by six per cent over the next ten years, it is less of a worry in this particular case. With healthy marketing spends, these launches should be welcomed with open arms, by readers and advertisers alike.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here