BBC set to launch news weekly title next April

BBC Magazines is preparing to launch its long-mooted weekly news magazine by April next year and is planning a major push on news-stands, say industry insiders.

The publisher has been in talks with retailers and distributors this month about securing news-stand space for the as-yet unnamed magazine.

Media Week (page 3, June 13) exclusively revealed the plans for the news mag under the codename Project Phoenix, which is being developed by BBC Magazines' editorial director Nicholas Brett.

The UK news weekly market is driven largely by subscriptions, with news-stand sales accounting for less than a third of all sales. Private Eye is the biggest seller at retail with news-stand sales of 108,081.

"They have aggressive news-stand plans, because they will have to create their own category," said an industry source.

The launch is likely to coincide with BBC Magazines' next financial year, which begins on 1 April.

BBC Magazines was previously understood to want to launch it this year, but it is thought negotiations over the BBC licence fee linked to the debate over the broadcaster's commercial operations caused the delays.

The title is expected to have an international remit, modelled on the lines of US magazines such as Time, which has a 142,314 UK circulation and global sales of 5.2 million.

A BBC Magazines spokesman declined to comment, adding: "We never talk about any project until it has been approved."

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