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MORPHING MAGAZINES: Two British magazines are going to great lengths to stake their claim on newsstands this fall. The British Harper’s Bazaar has supersized its September issue, printing it in a larger format and on matte paper stock, while the U.K. edition of Esquire has given its September issue a hardback cover for the newsstand. Both titles are published by Natmags, a subsidiary of Hearst Corp.
Jeremy Langmead, Esquire’s editor, said the idea was prompted by wanting to raise the title’s game in the gloomy print media environment. “In the current climate, you can’t just send anything out without doing something a bit special,” said Langmead. “We all have to work harder for our buck.” The Esquire edition — whose hardback cover was sponsored by Ralph Lauren — also ties in with the launch of the magazine’s “Singular Suit” exhibition at London’s Somerset House, which showcases suits designers and artists have created together.
Lucy Yeomans, editor of Harper’s Bazaar, said she decided to do a second oversize issue of the title following the positive response to the limited edition larger issue the magazine produced in March, which sold 30 percent more copies than the title’s regular size. “We saw a good uplift on circulation for the March issue. It just adds that point of difference, when [other magazines] are going small and travel size,” said Yeomans. “As a fashion magazine, we have lots of product and it looks so fantastic in that big size, it’s got that jump-off-the-page factor.”
Tess Macleod Smith, group publishing director of Esquire and Harper’s Bazaar, declined to give figures comparing the advertising pages in the titles’ September 2009 issues to those of September 2008. “[Figures] are not as good as last year’s, as those were the strongest September issues we ever had,” said Macleod Smith. But she said Harper’s picked up new advertisers including Blumarine, Moncler and Gianfranco Ferré, which took eight pages in the title. “We had a great reaction from advertisers, who knew a bit about the different format from [seeing] W, but we don’t have W in the U.K,” said Macleod Smith, referring to a format and paper stock similar to the American title’s. Meanwhile, Esquire took on advertisers including H&M, Ballantyne and Stolichnaya.
However, Macleod Smith said the titles won’t keep to the new formats permanently — instead Harper’s plans to revive the large format for its future March and September issues. Meanwhile, Esquire has two further special covers planned — one for the October issue, which Langmead said Gucci has “invested in,” and another for the November issue. — Nina Jones