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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
Jack the mag hits target
James Brown meets some of Viz's characters
James Brown has increased editions of Viz
Men's lifestyle magazines apparently no longer need a bikini-clad girl on the cover and stories about beer to make them fly off the newsagents' shelves.

The idea of launching in the eye of the storm was right

James Brown
I Feel Good

According to James Brown - whose magazine empire includes Viz and Bizarre - wildlife, war, terrorism and history are what the modern reader is after.

His latest offering, Jack, contains all these elements - although of course the traditional men's mag contents of sports, fashion, sex and humour are there too.

In fact the August issue does have a woman in a bikini on the front - perhaps the difference is that she is wearing an open shirt and sitting astride a rhinoceros.

There have been only two editions of the A5 size magazine, but Mr Brown and his company I Feel Good (IFG) are already proclaiming Jack a success.

Jack is the latest launch from IFG, which announced on Wednesday that it had lost 285,000 in the six months to the end of June compared with a loss of 1.1m a year ago.

Size matters

April's launch edition of Jack sold 50,000. Mr Brown says he would have been happy with a circulation of 40,000.
The cover of Jack magazine
James Brown says Jack has great potential

And he says that in the face of an advertising downturn Jack has had no trouble selling ad space to the likes of Prada and Burberry.

"Some people said: 'Why are you launching now?' But I think the idea of launching in the eye of the storm was right."

Mr Brown is credited with creating the lad's magazine market as editor of Loaded.

But he reckons that Jack's different size and different content are what is needed now.

"All the other men's magazines have got the same content they had when I left Loaded in 1997 - it's a girl in a bikini on the front and articles about beer inside," he says.
A cartoon from Viz
Johnny Fartpants now appears 10 times a year.

Jack will be going head to head with its competitors from October when it will be published monthly.

"The potential for Jack is great," says Mr Brown.

But as far as the IFG stable is concerned, it has a long way to go to compete with the group's biggest earner - Bizarre.

Six the Sexist

Mr Brown describes Bizarre as a magazine about life on the edge - with a content of crime, sex, serial killers and plane crashes.

Inside its covers the advertising space is filled with heavy metal and punk bands rather than luxury brands.

But IFG's best known brand is probably the adult comic Viz, with character such as Johnny Fartpants and Sid the Sexist.

The cover of Bizarre magazine
Bizarre is IFG's cash cow

It is now published more often - there are 10 editions a year instead of six.

That move alone sent advertising and sales revenues higher, but Mr Brown refuses to reveal current circulation figures.

What he is doing, though, is to exploit the Viz brand.

There is already a Viz annual, but books and Christmas cards are now on the way too.

See also:

30 Oct 01 | Business
25 May 01 | Business
01 Feb 01 | Entertainment
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