Publishers flag growth for men's magazines

SCMP Hearst has unveiled an extension to the Elle brand, with Elle Men set to go head-to-head with a growing stable of magazines targeting male readers.

The monthly magazine is the first title under the recently established SCMP Hearst group to chase male readers. And it won't be the last.

Driven by a growing band of big spending advertisers, Hong Kong's men's magazine market is on the upswing.

Titles from Jet to Jmen, MR and Esquire are all producing a healthy monthly page count, thanks to strong support from watch advertisers, fashion brands and increasingly, cosmetic companies. 

"The men's market has become more and more important as we see both spending power and sophistication has risen for this gender group," said Andrew Wong, general manager of Starcom MediaVest Group.

"It used to be that men earn money and women spend money. It's no longer the case and men will know how to spend their money too. There's huge potential for growth."

Wong said this had to do with a desirability to have a good lifestyle. "Today's men want to look good, eat good and live good," he added.

Josephine Chan, publisher of Elle Men, said advertiser confidence in the men's market was growing.

"We decided to launch Elle Men because we think there's a lot of potential in this market. Men are beginning to look better and their spending is improving."

She said Elle Men would follow the global DNA of the Elle brand, but said focus on arts and culture will separate it from the current crop of men's titles.

But it's not just print pages where opportunities are growing.

Event and public relations are now key parts of publishers' offering. Mobile applications and social media extensions are also part of this offering.

But not everyone agrees the category is seeing more advertising volume. Alice Chow, general manager at OMD, argues the attraction is more than just advertising placement.

"Event and PR management is also key to draw revenue," she said. "It is certainly good news to marketers seeing more choices in the market."