ShortList Media is celebrating its 150th issue of its founding men's magazine ShortList tomorrow with a front cover of computer game giant Call of Duty.
The milestone for the free, ad-funded magazine has been achieved despite trading in the worst advertising recession in living memory.
The free publication handed out to commuters in major cities around the UK continues to attract a strong range of advertisers, including fashion brands Tommy Hilfiger, John Lewis and Top Man, as well as global brands such as O2, L’Oreal, Adidas and American Express.
Far from scaling back operations when the market dropped in Q4 of 2008, ShortList Media went against the grain and launched a sibling women’s weekly called Stylist on 7 October 2009.
Last week's launch of men’s lifestyle weekly Gaz7etta, by magazine giant Bauer, promises to increase competition in ShortList’s trading space.
The free magazine was made available in central London a day earlier than usual (Tuesday) to coincide with Gaz7etta’s launch.
It ran with the ever popular Han Solo from George Lucas' 'Empire Strikes Back' on its cover, while Gaz7etta opted for Manchester City football manager Roberto Mancini.
Mike Soutar, chief executive of ShortList Media, admitted he hoped last week's move "sent a message that we are already reaching that much sought-after male audience".
He added: "We’d been talking about trialling another day of distribution for a while, and last week seemed like a good time to run it. We distributed an extra 50,000 copies, approximately 10% of our normal weekly distribution, on the Tuesday."
Soutar, the former editor-in-chief of Bauer's one time men's flagship title FHM (then published under Emap), was intrigued by Gaz7etta's first outing.
He said: "We await with interest to see how it will be received. It’s far too early to tell but we wait to see if readers and advertisers alike can consider a cover with a pap shot suitable for a premium product."
However, the chief executive did welcome the competition and the sentiment behind the launch.
Soutar said: "Anything that stimulates the market is a good thing. I think it’s good for the men’s market in particular and for consumer magazines in general.
"Magazine publishers have to launch. It's amazing to think there's been no other major magazine launches since Stylist and Wired in the last year. They [publishers] have to get back on their bikes and start launching good quality, valuable magazines."
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