DC Thomson has undertaken its biggest women’s magazine launch in over a decade at a time when UK industry stables like Glamour and Marie Claire retreat from print.
The publisher has launched Platinum, a premium monthly glossy mag for women over 55, backed by a substantial marketing campaign.
Despite the closures of several print titles in the past year, Maria Welch, head of magazines at DC Thomson, was confident the new title would carve out a niche in the market. She told The Drum: “We have been looking at the women's market for a number of years. It is still the largest magazine sector in the UK but the segment aimed at women over 55 has proved more resilient than others in the last five years.”
On any given day, Welch can work across titles ranging from comic media brand Beano to the other end of the age spectrum with the trusty People’s Friend and My Weekly. She claimed, the two later titles “continue to outperform the market”, meanwhile Beano's success at The Drum Online Media Awards 2019 indicates it has nailed the formula to expand beyond its print foundry.
It will take insight from decades of running People’s Friend and My Weekly to meet demand in the market. Welch said: “The time to launch is now, [the Platinum audience] are habitual magazine readers, they still have a tactile love of print and our research shows that they are consuming magazines as a treat when they go on holiday or during ‘me time’.”
DC Thompson's research suggested as many as 66% of the female over 50s demographic feel misrepresented by media.
“These women are in the prime of their lives and having the time of their lives – they are a force to be reckoned with and the glue that holds generations together. They are both committed magazine readers and powerful consumers and no-one understands them better than us.”
The magazine will rally around health, style, wellbeing, travel and financial advice. Experts and regular columnists include Dr Dawn Harper, stylist Gail Rolfe, technology journalist Maggie Philbin and columnist Jane Moore. Each issue will also highlight an inspirational ‘she-ro’.
Long term, publishers like DC Thompson need to establish magazine reading habits. While it reaches young people through the likes of the Beano, and continues to stoke print love in older segments, there is work to be done in the middle ground.
“A lot of media consumption is by habit but if people feel passionate about a subject, they will continue to read about it in print. The key for us is to engage and entertain and offer things not available elsewhere," said Welch.
At £4.50 an issue, Platinum costs more than most disposable titles on the newsstand but it's confident that it's invested in the quality to attract and retain a readership. “It is a premium product you can spend time with, we believe in it, value it and expect that the people that you are aiming at will do the same.”
Time will tell if reader interests are met. It is clear advertiser interests have. All ad space was quickly sold for the first few issues, with Welch and her team having to grapple with flatplans to accommodate higher-than-expected demand.
“This audience are powerful consumers. They have disposable income and have generally spent many years looking after others and passions. Lots of advertisers realise this. Health and wellbeing are pillars and there is a positive message they want to be associated with.” It’s similar to the pitch Gary Jones, editor of The Daily Express made about his audience, contrasting with brands insatiable hunger for ‘millennials’.
Showing the confidence in Platinum, a large-scale marketing campaign includes outdoor, press, social and on-line work developed by creative agency, Wire (which was recently appointed to handle creative comms). The title will also be sampled at relevant events.
Platinum is on sale Wednesday 25 September at an introductory price of £2.
Below is the cover to issue 1.