4 April, 2008 – MEN Media relaunching Urban Life
A fresh new version of MEN Media publication ‘Urban Life’ is being relaunched on April 23rd. The weekly lifestyle and entertainment magazine will see a greater shift from the residential editorial and advertising.
Around 18,000 copies of Urban Life are currently distributed every week. Copies can be found in restaurants, bars and leisure venues across the city and a substantial number are posted through city centre dwellers’ letterboxes.
Mark Burrow, the magazine’s editor, told How-Do that the shift in emphasis was not a knee-jerk reaction to the credit crunch fall-out but was “something that we’ve been looking at for some time.
“We were aware as anyone that the title had become too property-focused. Plus the feedback we were increasingly receiving was telling us that our restaurant and entertainment reviews and ads were generating substantial response from readers and the venues themselves.”
In what is a congested Manchester and regional marketplace for lifestyle titles, Burrow is confident his team will produce “the best possible lifestyle magazine for Manchester.”
Burrow and the well-known property writer Jill Burdett have effectively been jointly editing the title for the past 18 months but Burrow has now been appointed editor for the relaunch.
He has a team of three full time journalists to support him plus freelancers and regular contributors.
Burrow insisted that although the title would share many of the group’s facilities, virtually all the copy would be original and “very little of the editorial will be taken from the MEN – or other resources within the company.”
Three hundred copies of the dummy have been printed and sales people have been busy visiting ad agencies around town. Feedback said Burrow has been favourable.
The dummy is 102 pages but actual pagination is expected to be 76 pages and thereafter said Burrow “the market will dictate its size.”
Burrow also added that there are presently no plans for the title to have its own dedicated web presence.
One pundit of the regional media scene told How-Do: “It’s ironic that two-and-a-half years after MEN Media closed City Life, their once successful what’s on title, they appear to be half-returning to the world of what’s on.
“But arts and culture always sit a little uncomfortably alongside page after page of boring property ads, which is, after all, what Urban Life is, a magazine that is primarily a vehicle to sell and rent flats. So the change in emphasis, however belated or unexpected, is to be welcomed.”
The market Urban Life is pitching into is arguably more competitive than it has been for many years.
There are around a dozen print titles pitching for Manchester’s lifestyle market. The leading players including YQ, Moving Manchester and The Magazine have all been through various struggles of their own in the past year. YQ has relaunched following arrangements with creditors, Moving Manchester was reclaimed from a previous licensee and The Magazine was recently bought out of administration.
In the online world, Manchester Confidential claims that it has become the city’s best read digital lifestyle publication.
Source: How-Do press release