Women's Magazine News - Hearst Loses Its Zest While Conde Nast Focuses on Glamour

We've always predicted that the woman's magazine market is due for a shakeout - not all the titles in a cluttered market can survive the shift of readers online and the related decline in circulation and readership. Recent casualties have included Conde Nast's Easy Living and Bauer's More and now Hearst's health and wellbeing title Zest has bitten the dust.On 5th November, Heart UK's COO Anna Jones, announced the magazine would close with immediate effect, it's January edition (to be published in the first week of December) would be it's last.  “Closing a magazine is never an easy decision, but...we are taking this decisive action now so that we have time to put resources into those areas that will really make the difference in the coming year." Keeping magazine brand's relevant for the digital age is a costly and resource-hungry undertaking - that investment will only be undertaken for the title's with greatest influence and reach.Zest's circulation has fallen by 40% in the past 5 years and now hovers just above 60,000.  It's not the only female health title in Heart's portfolio and they've clearly decided that titles such as Women’s Health and Cosmo Body are better bets. There are plans to increase the frequency of Women's Health to 10 issues a year - it's bi-monthly at present - and Cosmo Body from 2 to 3 issues a year.But whilst weaker titles are falling by the wayside publishing still have the will and invention to try new things with the stronger titles - and you don't get much stronger than Glamour, the number one paid for title in the women's market.Conde Nast have just been announced that Glamour's March 2014 edition will be available in a larger 'lean back' format - similar in size to its sister title Vogue - as well as its usual 'handbag' sized format.This is the first format change for Glamour since it launched in its existing format in 2001 and is an experiment in boosting advertising revenues. The March 2014 edition will feature the Spring/Summer fashion collections and Conde Nast clearly hope more readers will be attracted by a larger, more collectible format. They also clearly hope that they'll be able to upsell existing fashion advertisers and attract new ones with a better showcase for their wares. Of course, an additional revenue will be offset by the higher production costs but it makes sense to experiment on one of the 2 big fashion issues of the year. If it's a success the Autumn/Winter collections edition will no doubt follow suit.Even marquee titles haven't been immune to sharp circulation falls - Glamour's has fallen 11% in the last year alone.  Innovating to squeeze more advertising revenue out of key editions is one response - and one we're likely to see from other magazines in the coming months.

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