Nuts weekly lad's magazine

There is a lot riding on this, and not just the £8m cost. Nuts is IPC's first big launch since it was taken over by US group Time Warner in 2001. Emap in the meantime has built up expertise in the women's weekly sector with Heat (which had looked shaky at the start) and Closer. Nuts was clearly timed to beat Emap's Zoo on to the shelves – Emap executives described it as a spoiler. However, IPC said the concept had been under development as Project Tribal since autumn 2002.

Breakdown of Zoo launch issue.

In an article in Press Gazette, IPC editorial director Mike Soutar said the men's monthlies were too laddish, putting off some potential buyers (this had been the reasoning behind launches such as Word, from start-up companies). Furthermore, the daily tabloid had lost male readers because 'newspaper strategies over the past 10 years have been to aggressively recruit female readers'.

A million free copies of Nuts were given away at large branches of WH Smith and sent out with copies of media trade magazines. This was a risky strategy, given Emap's success in having taken the concept of the lad's magazine from IPC's Loaded and gone one better with FHM.

At stake for the two companies is the potential for a new market in men's weeklies. In the same way that Loaded and FHM built a market for men's monthlies with copy sales to rival - and – beat those of women's monthlies, such as Cosmopolitan , can IPC and Emap now create titles for men in the mould of Woman , Now and Take a Break? The top 10 women's weeklies have combined copy sales of almost five million; six of them sell more than 500,000 a week, with H Bauer's Take a Break having the magic formula to sel1 1.2m copies – more than double its nearest rival. The top women's weeklies (December 2003 ABC figures) are:

  • Take a Break (H Bauer)......1,225,116
  • That's Life (H Bauer) ...........592,036
  • Now (IPC Media) ................590,544
  • Chat (IPC Media) ................575,585
  • Woman (IPC Media) ............571,482
  • Heat (Emap) ........................565,484
  • OK! (Northern & Shell) .......489,882

Emap and IPC say they are looking for sales of 150,000 or 200,000 a week. The first issue of Loaded sold 60,000 copies, it now sells about 260,000, having been eclipsed by FHM at about 600,000 a month. The weeklies may effect monthly sales, although Soutar's comments suggest this will not be the case.


Nuts – key facts and data

Editor Phil Hilton, who had run IPC's Later editor, had rejoined IPC from Emap in March 2003. He was up against another former IPC editor, Paul Merrill, who was lured from the successful women's weekly Chat in December to launch Zoo Weekly.

The 100 page magazine was printed by Polestar with repro by Graphics London. The sections were made up as follows:

  • cover; welcome spread promising weird photos, football, hardware, women, cars, TV guide, sport action, real-life, true stories and more women; contents spread (total: 5 pages)
  • true stories (pages 6-16): 11 pages as spreads;
    • skier's 60mph crash
    • Vinnie Jones 'chair rage'
    • John Travolta's 'airport home'
    • bikini shoot with Big Brother and Sun page 3 girls
    • giant Indonesian python
    • tallest and smallest basketball players (page)
  • news (pages 18-28): 10 pages
    • air cops
    • Shereen Guerin photos; spy planes
    • gadgets
    • nuts but true; posh girls on US TV
    • cars
    • Little Britain comedy series
  • top tens (pages 30-31): 2 pages
  • features (pages 32-51) 19 pages:
    • special forces 4
    • online laughs: 2
    • vrooom! 4
    • supergun fires round corners 2
    • croc attack 3
    • Nell McAndrew: 4
  • must-see TV (pages 53-76) Fri to Thurs: 24 pages, starting with terrestrial spreads (listings on left, features on right).
  • 10-second reviews (pages 78-79): 2 pages
  • sport: (pages 80-95) 16 pages:
    • big match preview: Villa v Arsenal
    • F1 driver Alex Zanardi crash
    • sport on TV
    • Beckham mania (4 pages)
    • action sport: Shearer penalty refused
    • action sport: all the goals
    • Rusedski drugs test; commentary box
  • joke race from readers (facing inside back cover)
  • 7 adverts: Blockbuster p17; Dixons p22; Head & Shoulders p29; HMV p47; Virgin Megastores p52; Virgin Mobile (IBC) and Hugo Boss (back cover)
  • house adverts: 3 pages
    • spread highlighting Jan 22 features (pages 96-97): Kelly Brook and Premiership stars and their cars;
    • masthead on page 77 between TV and sport

Layouts used roadworks-style graphics to highlight elements:

  • 'amazing real-life photos' (on skier article)
  • 'great-looking women' (bikini shoot)
  • 'biggest news exclusives' (air cops)
  • 'curious facts and amusing lists' (top tens)
  • 'unbelievable action photos' (special forces)
  • 'we've got the funniest pictures' (online laughs)
  • 'the hottest motors' (vrooom!)
  • 'eye-popping graphics' (supergun)
  • 'gritty, real-life stories' (croc attack)
  • 'the world's sexiest women' (McAndrew)
  • 'great TV for men'
  • 'the best of the action' (sport)
  • 'best sports coverage'
  • 'latest sport quotes'

Verdict: slick, rather than inspiring. Some stories already done to death in tabloids and other press (snake, croc attack, air cops). In terms of a package, nearest comparison is probably Heat with TV listings, higher price at £1.45, though more pages, up to 132. Similar production vales. However, celebrity stories are not part of the Nuts package, unless you count the Beckham or babe features. Easy to get into, quick read with few words and lots of pictures

Breakdown of Zoo launch issue