Zoo Weekly new men's magazine

There is a lot riding on this, and not just the £8m cost.  Zoo will test Emap's expertise in consumer weekly sector built up through Heat - while IPC has had women's weeklies for decades. However, Nuts is IPC's first big launch since it was taken over by US group Time Warner in 2001. Nuts was clearly timed to beat Emap's Zoo on to the shelves - Emap executives described it as a spoiler.

Breakdown of Nuts launch issue.

In an article in Press Gazette, IPC editor Paul Merrill said Zoo aimed at blokes 'enjoy a laugh'. He said research showed men wanted girls, football, conspiracy theories, jokes and reviews. He added: 'It's a massive advatage to us that we can get really topical stuff on the cover, which Nuts can't do... Their covers go early but we hold ours back.'

Merrill has clearly brought his sense of the bizarre with him from Chat, given the  photograph of a woman's enormous tumour and a condom in the soup stories. The use of far more model shots - many topless - is a clear differentiator, which Nuts editor Phil Hilton had avoided, wanting to produce a magazine that could be read openly on a train and left lying around at home. 

Like Nuts, free copies given away at large branches of WH Smith. Zoo does not reveal a cover price, but has 50p-off vouchers for the next four issues - a tactic IPC is sure to respond to. 

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

Women's weeklies is a market that IPC used to own with Woman and Woman's Own, until the late 1980s, when German group's Bauer and Gruner & Jahr moved in. Now was launched in October 1996. Chat was launched  in 1985 and Paul Merrill had been its editor until poached for the Zoo launch. He  boosted Chat 's sales, credit for which he ascribed to his skill in writing cover lines in an interview with the FT's Creative Business.

Emap and IPC 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.


Zoo – 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 page 3 promising sex, sport and all-round stupidity; contents spread (total: 4 pages)
  • snapped! (pages 6-13): 11 pages as spreads;
    • Martin Johnson and David Seaman retire
    • jumping off buildings
    • massive jugs (breasts) and rabbit
    • huge tumour; tiger eating chicken
  • news ( 14-25): 9 pages
    • football transfer window
    • I'm a Celebrity TV row (page)
    • cannabis law changes
    • column by TV comic Mark Thomas
    • weird week stories
    • sex week stories
  • in-box (regular, 26-27): 2 pages of 'stuff that's been stopping us working
  • Zoology (regular, 28-29): 2 pages of jokes, cartoons and 'smart arsery'
  • features
  • - 'Inside the cannibal cafe' 'exclusive' (pages 30-32) 3 pages: Armin Meiwes, a German who ate parts of his friend
  • - Diana crash investigation (34-35)
  • - weirdness (36): 'Dummest death awards'
  • - Christina Aguilera photo shoot (38-41)
  • - shady past of Rio Ferdinand 'exclusive' (pages 42-43) 2 pages
  • - Rude Archive (44-45) 2 pages: snaps of topless Kate Moss
  • Lists (regular, 46-47) 2 pages of 'best, worst and stupidest'
  • Pub Quiz (regular, 50-51)
  • Reviews (52-57) 6 pages: film; music; games, books & DVD
  • TV (pages 59-83) Sat to Fri: 24.5 pages, starting with picks of the week,then 3 pages to each day (terrestrial, features, and satellite); final 1/2 page on radio highlights
  • spread promoting Striker cartoon strip from Striker comic starting next week
  • sport: (pages 86-98 + back cover) 13 pages: past week's best action; previews; Alan Green column: 'The voice of football'; Premiership so far; fantasy XI; 'League of Justice' on penalty appeals
  • 7 adverts: Quiksilver IFC; HMV p17; Nivea p19; MVC p20; Runaway Jury (film) p58; Seiko Pulsar p93; Budweiser (IBC)
  • house adverts: High Street Honeys final in FHM (p33); Reader survey (37); spread highlighting Jan 28 features (pages 48-49) with 50p off vouchers for next four issues; 1/2-page masthead on page 83 at end of  TV and radio

Verdict: smaller page size and poorer quality cover paper than Nuts. Much nearer to FHM than Nuts is to Loaded. Cover and overall design similar - easily mistaken at a glance. Difference in content is greater emphasis on late news, exclusives and reviews, and swapping  Nuts motoring coverage with women. 

Breakdown of Nuts launch issue

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