Frankie launches Smith Journal in a leap of faith

By By Erin Smith | 12 August 2011

Amid an ailing men's magazine market, the launch of Smith Journal, the magazine created by the publisher of women's title Frankie, is a bold move.

Set for September 5, the launch has sparked mixed reactions. The magazine's bi-annual publishing timeline and initial circulation of 20,000, signals scepticism among the decision makers that the men's magazine category is a tough market to crack.

Victor Corones, managing director of MagnaGlobal told AdNews: “It's hard to establish a readership following with a bi-annual magazine. If someone has an engagement with a magazine, they need to know when the next instalment is and six months is a long time to wait.

“Publishing bi-annually is a low risk strategy. Many magazines have started with the intention of publishing bi-annual and move to quarterly depending on the uptake of the issue. Quarterly is more reasonable, yet monthly is a huge investment . It seems they are testing the water to gather market impression.”

Despite concerns, Frankie publisher and founder, Louise Bannister, said they will find success, because it is capitalising on a niche in the market.

“We think the men's magazine market has been declining because other publishers have simply not been connecting with male readers,” she said. “There's a whole group of up and coming men who haven't had anything aimed at them.”

“The people behind Smith Journal were sick of the same old man mags banging on about the same old crap. They wanted something they’d be happy to read themselves, that smart, creative guys could peruse without shame…something that looked good, but had substance, wit and inspiration.”

According to Corones, the content has to be unique, but he also believes the brand needs to exist beyond the physical publication to online and apps.

Bannister, however, is confident the magazine will stand out in the market because “it offers content you can’t get in any other Australian publication”.

The first issue of the 140 page magazine will discuss what it is to be a good brother, take a peak into a musician's wardrobe, travel to Alaska and find out what quantum physics is all about.

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