Monday, February 11, 2008

Head-to-head battle for men's glossy market likely with launch of Sharp

A new publishing group, made up of people who helped launch Driven magazine are about to launch a magazine for men called Sharp. Publisher John McGouran, editorial director Michael La Fave and creative director Laurence Yap, have formed their own company called Contempo Media and it will be going head-on into competition with their former Driven associates. The content looks very similar.

Driven is a fashion and lifestyle title that moved aggressively into the space left with the closure of Toro magazine, following the same newspaper-carried controlled circulation model. That same model is now to be used by Sharp, which will be carried in 150,000 selected copies of the Globe and Mailstarting in April. The magazine is aimed at men 25 to 54 with target household incomes of $100,000. It will publish 5 issues in 2008 and 6 in 2009.

According to a press release, Sharp’s editorial cornerstones—style, travel, technology and automotive—will be augmented by features of “social significance and global scope.”
It’s an editorial model similar to that of the now-defunct men’s title Toro—which folded early last year citing a lack of advertiser support—but the team behind Contempo is confident of avoiding a similar fate.

“I think Toro was a pretty good magazine, but the owner was new to the publishing field. I think they may have overestimated the universe of possible advertisers and didn’t have a cost structure in place to reflect [that],” says McGouran. “We’ve been dealing with that area for five years [with Driven], so we have a handle on what is a reasonable expectation in terms of advertising support.”

McGouran says advertisers already booked in the 100-page launch issue hail from categories including automotive, fashion and technology. “We’ve got some miles to cover, but the response we’re getting in the market is excellent,” he says. According to the media kit, a one-time, full-page ad in Sharp costs $13,000.
According to a story in Marketing magazine, Contempo is also developing two other consumer books, one to launch this fall and another in spring 2009, and is currently exploring other custom-publishing ventures.

[UPDATE: The ambitions and the production values of the magazine may be upscale and national in scope, but the proposed payment to writers for the magazine is decidedly not. According to a message on the Toronto Freelance Editors and Writers list, Sharp editor-in-chief Michael LaFave plans to pay $0.46 a word for travel, fitness, gadgets and celebrity interviews and "move up to $1/word for more involved editorial features". These rates are simply derisory.]



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see what "more involved editorial features" means to the boys who brought us Driven. "How DOES Rolex make its watches? We've sent our special correspondant (the editor) on an all-expenses paid junket to Switzerland to find out!"

Hey, and in fairness to SHARP (I guess SNAZZY and STYLIN' weren't available), 46 cents/word is better than/similar to what the Globe pays. So in that sense, they're in good or lousy company, depending on your point of view.

5:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, D.B., for pointing out just how niggardly these rates are. "Publishers" like these should be aggresively subject to the kind of ridicule they rightly deserve.

6:58 pm  

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