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Lagardère’s Be Magazine to Go Monthly

The French media group sees opportunities in e-commerce.

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PARIS —Lagardère Active, a division of French media group Lagardère, announced Tuesday it will turn its Be women's weekly magazine into a monthly in October and start an e-commerce business on its Web site.

Be, which became pocket-sized earlier this year, has also opted for a larger format, improved paper quality and higher sales price.

“A weekly periodicity is not relevant to a younger audience who reads news mostly online,” said Franck Espiasse, who heads Lagardère Active’s women’s magazines, a unit which includes Elle and Version Femina, as well. “But the news coverage is relevant to Elle [which is a weekly in France and targets older readers, in their forties].”

Be, which was launched in April 2010 a few months after the introduction of two other domestic weeklies — Grazia from Mondadori France and Envy from Groupe Marie Claire — has not yet reached its sales target. Its paid circulation fell 12.7 percent in the first quarter of 2012 to 132,857 copies. However, Espiasse said advertising pages in Be in the first half of 2012 increased 18.5 percent, with fashion-ad pages gaining 58 percent.

Espiasse said the company will aim to offer alternative positions within the group to any affected staff.

Be.com is to involve both an e-commerce and a “marketplace” feature, which allows merchants to sell their wares through the platform for a percentage sales. The offer will focus on beauty and fashion products.

Espiasse said the group is testing e-commerce with Be and then will roll it out to other magazines of the group, including a project for Elle that is set to launch in March 2013.

The moves come after Lagardère Active acquired French online shopping guide LeGuide.com earlier this month.