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Cosmo scores with new business model

News, 01 June 2016

LONDON: Cosmopolitan, the women's magazine, has turned around its fortunes with an overhaul of its editorial stance and a shift away from a reliance on sales and advertising.

While the magazine itself remains the brand flagship, there is now an equal focus on digital and on events, which together form a "trinity".

"Events are icing on the cake," editor Farah Storr told The Drum. "People pay money here."

Over the past year, Cosmopolitan has been hosting an event in the third week of the month, during the lull between publication dates, as it aims to build what Storr described as a community of Cosmo". The future will see even more emphasis on events, especially experiential ones.

Helping build that community is the brand's presence on social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat – the magazine was one of the first on the latter – where it is reaching a younger audience.

Snapchat allows for a "very intimate experience with your readers", said Storr.

"We've definitely noticed a conversion from those people who are consuming Cosmopolitan on Snapchat who are then picking up the magazine and also coming to our events," she added.

Earlier this year Storr told the Guardian Changing Media Summit that the brand was doing 14 Snaps every day and achieving a 76% completion rate. And more than (56%) of people viewing them were coming back five days out of seven as they liked the "warm fuzzy environment".

These actions have been accompanied by a slashing of the cover price, from £3.80 to £1, and the use of pop-up distribution points to give away around 80,000 free copies of each issue.

At the same time, the editorial approach developed in the 1980s has shifted. "Sex is not just what this brand is anymore," Storr stated. "The next step for me as an editor to take Cosmopolitan to the next level is to see more long-form, hard-hitting features."

The results of all this have been to boost circulation from a low of 258,000 to more than 405,000.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff