My Media Week: Alun Williams

This week, Alun Williams, group publishing director at Hearst-Rodale, anticipates the first edition of Women's Health to hit the newsstands, goes for a posh curry at The Red Fort, and admires David Beckham's (circulation) pulling power.

Alun Williams: group publishing director at Hearst-Rodale
Alun Williams: group publishing director at Hearst-Rodale


Given that I'm publishing director of both Men's Health and Runner's World, I'd love to say my Monday starts with a 5am run to the gym, followed by a punishing cardio and free-weight session. Unfortunately, it doesn't, which if nothing else, is consistent with every other day of the week.

My week actually starts with an advertising update from the commercial team. There is healthy competition and banter between the Men's Health and Runner's World ad teams, with invariably one doing slightly better than the other. Runner's World are top dogs today – Men's Health claim they've got it easy in Olympic year.

Lunch is with the brilliantly named Jim Mee, managing director of Detail Events, who activates our Survival of the Fittest 10K challenge series. These events have become a big part of our brand, with more than 15,000 competitors last year. We discuss adding a fifth venue to the series in 2012.

Afternoon meeting to sign off our ABC figures with the circulation team. We now also have digital edition sales to audit, which are becoming increasingly important since the launch of Apple newsstand.

The first issue of Women's Health arrives in the office just before I leave. Nothing beats the excitement of getting the early copies of a new launch. I'm engrossed in it all the way home, oblivious to the funny stares from fellow commuters.


Morning meeting up in Camden to present Men's Health to Giles Greenwood and Naaman Brown from Canterbury of New Zealand, a fashion brand we're looking to do some work with on their autumn/winter range.

Naaman talks through some DJs they've done collaborations with, none of whom I've heard of, which is a good thing if they are trying to attract a hip young audience.

After a quick lunch, I have my weekly meeting with Anna Jones, our new COO. There is a really good dynamic in the business since we became Hearst Magazines UK, with the senior management team coming from both Hachette and NatMag.

The evening starts with a Robert Cavalli fragrance launch in their Sloane Street store. As usual, Coty Prestige put on a fantastic event and it's good to catch up with David Allan and the marketing and PR team.

Afterwards, I head off for an awards ceremony at the Grosvenor. It's the Clés D'Or Hotel Concierge Industry awards and I'm there to support my younger brother Martin, who is operations director for Gaucho restaurants and is being made an honorary Golden Key member.

Other than funny handshakes, I'm not sure what this entails, though it's unlikely he'll have to pay full price for a hotel room ever again.


Most of today seems to be spent walking in the bitter cold to and from meetings in central London.

First stop is a press day for Next in Covent Garden, where we show marketing director Christine Gerrard a sneak preview of Women's Health, and accept their generous offer of some free chinos on the way out. Optimistically, I put myself down for the 32" waist, which was true about 10 years ago.

Lunch is with Charles Jepson of Olea Communications, a true gentleman of media and a near-neighbour of mine in Kent. We go old-school for a curry in The Red Fort on Wardour Street. Definitely won't get into those chinos now.

Back to Covent Garden in the evening for a Hamilton Watch event to preview their 2012 range. Their global CEO Sylvain Dolla has flown in to give the presentation. We get a lot of support from the Swatch Group, and it's always good to spend time with their marketing team.


Lots of internal meetings today – the fantastic thing about magazine publishing is that the job is so varied, especially in the digital age.

As well as meeting with the web editor and commercial team to talk through the digital strategy for Runner's World, I sit down with marketing director Claire Matthews to go over the finishing touches to our Women's Health launch strategy.

As part of our plans we have 300,000 digital sample issues being distributed via Apple Newsstand to coincide with the launch, a great new cost-effective way of getting the magazine into the hands of our audience.


Friday is when we get our weekly sales updates, and on the back of extensive PR coverage in the nationals, the Beckham issue of Men's Health is flying off the shelves. Good sales figures always make the weekend that bit more relaxed.

Lunchtime and afternoon are spent conducting second interviews alongside Men's Health publisher Duncan Chater for our vacant ad director role. We have a really strong shortlist, and fortunately, so far we see eye-to-eye on the potential candidates.

By the way, Women's Health goes on sale on 8 February. Not that I'm plugging it or anything.

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