Friday, November 16, 2007

It's a guy thing; European men's magazines being eclipsed by web

Men's magazines are in a severe slump in Europe, according to a Reuters story out of an investors conference call on Tuesday. Leading European publishers are coming to terms with the fact that the web is an irresistible lure for men and teenage boys, at the expense of printed magazines.
"They are a casualty of the Internet. That is for sure," Dominique D'Hinnin, Chief Financial Officer of French media group Lagardere told investors. " "It is men's magazines that I am talking about, magazines with women with not too many clothes."

Major magazine publishers such as London-based media group Emap, Germany's Axel Springer and France's Lagardere have seen magazine assets for women surging while men's magazines droop.

Steffan Naumann, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Axel Springer said segments such as those catering for women are growing, "but in Germany, certainly not the men's market category".

On Tuesday, London-based Emap said first-half underlying revenue in its consumer magazines division fell 6 percent.

However, this masked a strong performance by its women's weekly titles such as Grazia, Heat and Closer which grew 6 percent. Emap blamed a 14 percent slump in its portfolio of monthly magazines on weakness in men's titles.

Although men's magazines can and do still make money, publishers also have to decide if they should sell assets or reposition themselves in digital media by building Web sites that primarily focus on content such as fishing, golf and cars, the conference call was told.

D'Hinnin said such options as YouTube and web video services such as Dailymotion from France provide scantily clad women and joke-based content for teenagers and college boys for free.

"On the Internet it is easier to get, more fun and (young men) spend so much time with YouTube or Dailymotion they don't buy magazines any more," D'Hinnin said.

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