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Death knell for lads' mags?

News, 18 November 2015

LONDON: The announcement by Bauer Media that it is to suspend publication of FHM and ZOO magazines marks the end of an era for "lads' mags".

Over time, young men's media habits have continually moved towards mobile and social, Bauer noted.

It went on to claim that the two male-orientated titles had a combined digital audience of over 5m, but ABC data shows that FHM's print circulation was less than 100,000 last year. Rivals like Nuts and Loaded have also closed in the past year as circulation fell.

James Brown, who gained notoriety during his period as editor of Loaded, told Marketing Week that "publishing has definitely been much improved by digital technology".

He observed that the shift from print to websites was now moving on to social, making websites almost redundant.

"It's democratised it," he said. "When I started out in publishing … it was very difficult to get into. Now you can do anything, anywhere, on your phone."

But he added that print wasn't dead, although it faced major challenges and needed to evolve. The rise of free newspapers and magazines has been one welcome development, he suggested.

"[Going free] changed [listings magazine] Time Out from struggling to sell 40,000 a week to going out to 500,000 people," Brown noted, adding that NME, the music newspaper which recently relaunched as a free paper, should have taken that route six years ago.

"Every day of the week now you get given a fairly competently put together magazine at a travel point or a garage," he noted. And there has also been "massive growth" in small independent magazines.

"The main thing is you've just got to get the print into the audience's hands that the advertisers want," he stated.

Data sourced from Bauer Media, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff