A bubble magazine niche? I don’t know about you, but just the other day, I was saying to myself, what’s really missing on the magazine newsstand these days is a magazine for young men. And then, the next thing I know, The NY Time’s David Carr is previewing (registration required, etc.) Rodale’s effort to enhance its manhood by extending its Men’s Health franchise into a new title, Men’s Health BestLife.
BestLife is not your father’s magazine – the coming issue mentions that black-marlin fishing in Madagascar is lovely this time of year. But neither is it the son’s – the cover trumpets “8 Essential Age Erasers.” There is little of the literary or journalistic ambitions of Esquire or GQ, but a tilt toward moneyed male consumers, with, for example, a feature on turntables for vinyl records costing many thousands of dollars.
The article will also go down in my book for having the most obvious quote ever uttered by a so-called industry expert:
“I think in some way, publishers are borrowing a lot from women’s magazines,” said Betsy Carter, a writer and editor who worked at Esquire in the 1980’s before starting New York Woman. “For a long time, it was thought that men had no interest in service journalism. But men are a lot more touchy-feely and aspirational than they used to be. And now that those readers are becoming baby boomers, it might be a good time to launch a magazine like BestLife that is aimed at them.”
Has Ms. Carter never flipped through the Elle-knock-off called Men’s Health Magazine in, say, the past decade? I predict the magazine will be great, but I am guessing (and I mean guessing) that rather than being a reaction to a great market-opportunity, BestLife is a project Rodale’s management had to back to keep superstar editorial director David Zinczenko from moving to GQ.