Egmont Magazines, the children’s publisher, and BBC Magazines are set for a head-on battle for the younger children’s market early next year.
Egmont is launching Lazer, a monthly activity-based magazine targeting boys aged between five and seven years old, in February. It is aimed at boys who want to read Egmont’s Toxic, a magazine aimed at older boys, but who do not have the reading ability.
Lazer readers will be encouraged to interact with the magazine by completing a series of mission-based activities. It will be the first Egmont magazine launched alongside its own dedicated website, which will offer games, activities and a members-only club section.
But the BBC is also looking to launch in the market with three titles due before April next year. Two of the magazines, Charlie and Lola, and Underground Ernie, are based on existing television programmes, and the third, In The Night Garden, is based on a series that will broadcast from February.
The Night Garden, made by Ragdoll, the creators of the Teletubbies, is seen as a “hard-won and landmark property” for the BBC. The accompanying magazine is expected to be a best seller.
Egmont is number two in the children’s magazine market behind the BBC. Group product manager Siobhan Galvin, says it is “striving to be number one” and Lazer is a key part of its strategy to increase the company’s share of the market.
Egmont believes that Lazer will fill a gap in the market that has previously been ignored by publishers. It will cost £2.25 and have an initial print run of 100,000.