Launching A New Magazine In An Old Market

Researching the launch of B magazine in Australia

Angela Brooks
General Manager, Research and Strategy, Pacific Publications, Australia.


B is a magazine aimed at young women aged approximately 18-24 years. It was first launched in the United Kingdom in June 1997 by Attic Futura to complement the widely read teenage girls' magazine Sugar. The publication gained immediate acceptance in the United Kingdom as demonstrated by its initial audited circulation of over 200,000. The magazine also had gained support from the advertising market.

Attic Futura's owners in Australia, Pacific Publications, in combination with their partners North South, had decided to investigate the possibilities of launching B in Australia. The market in Australia was quite different to that in the United Kingdom. Instead of an extensive market with a large range of titles for young women, two titles, Cleo and Cosmopolitan, that had been launched in 1972 and 1973 respectively, dominated the Australian market. Other women's lifestyle titles had been launched during the past quarter of a century but they were targeted at either older women (She, New Woman) or were fashion-focussed (Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire). They were also all based on established magazines from Europe or North America. No other magazine had been launched with the intention of aiming at women aged 18–24 years in Australia, nor had any been launched without the backing of a major international publisher. Both Cleo and Cosmopolitan had audited sales of over 200,000 each month. This gave them each a sales penetration of approximately 7% and a readership penetration of around 20% in their key target market. Cosmopolitan was, of course a well-known worldwide brand, Cleo was uniquely Australian and had been the market leader for 25 years.