Media on trial - New Statesman

Publisher: New Statesman Ltd

Magazine: New Statesman

I was faintly surprised to be asked to review the New Statesman revamp, as I have been a rather tedious Spectator bore for some years now. Hopefully by nailing my rather obscure reading habits to the mast, what follows will be taken in the spirit of objectivity ...

The big issue for the NS is its image problem. A lazy critique is sadly often taken as the prevailing view and most people use words like worthy, dull, joyless and sandle-wearing without much provocation. These changes are intended to shake off these perceptions - refreshed layouts, a bigger size, shinier paper and more pages, with writers like Rory Bremner and Julian Clary should combine for a more entertaining read. The redesign is contempory, the layout feels credible and there is a lot of interest-ing stuff in there, especially the arts and culture section in the back half.

One does feel there ought be a bigger audience for the NS. The combined circulation of left-centre titles like The Guardian and The Indy alone is well over 500,000, but the NS only manages to sell around 25,000 copies, and the thought that lingers is that the title fails to connect with a wider audience than a politically obsessed North London enclave.

To become more credible to us as a print option, I would like to see some more numbers and some proof of who is actually reading it. Without evidence to the contrary, I would assume that its readership is anti-corporate, anti-America and not particularly enamoured with commercialism per se. Unless I'm given hard evidence otherwise, I don't see this as an espec-ially fertile ground for many of our clients' messages. The redesign helps put it on the right track, so let's see if it can persuade a broader church to buy.

- Review by Adam Skinner, press/business director, OMD UK.

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