MEDIA – If you go to your newsagent this Thursday, June 17, you may come across a new magazine, that of Patrick Sébastien. The host launches Games love you, a magazine comprising sudoku, crosswords or codewords, accompanied by interviews and other sections.
The former presenter of the “Biggest cabaret in the world” is not the first to get into the press. Since 2017, and the launch of the health magazine Dr Good by Michel Cymes, the PAF organizers are increasing their forays into newsstands. This is the case for Sophie Davant, Stéphane Plaza, Stéphane Bern or even Karl Zero. And most recently by Faustine Bollaert then soon Jean-Pierre Pernaut. A small revolution in the media world that you decipher Then24 in five points.
Is this phenomenon new?
The incarnate magazine is not in itself a novelty in recent months. Before the success of Sophie Davant’s magazine, Club Dorothée Magazine had also seduced fans of the “Club Dorothée” from 1989 to 1998. A title in which the host took part by writing an editorial every week.
In the United States, the example of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine (“O, The Oprah Magazine”) is particularly interesting. The TV presenter succeeded in installing a well-being monthly as early as 2000 which could sell more than 2.7 million copies.
A success that gave ideas to Franck Cymes, Michel Cymes’ brother from 2015. “During a trip to New York I came across this Oprah Winfrey magazine and it stuck in my head to launch a magazine embodied in France, ”explains to HuffPost the one behind the magazine Dr Good and who is today its Director General. “I went to a kiosk to buy a men’s health and wellness magazine and I was told it didn’t exist so I told Michel we were going to do it”.
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Why a boom since 2020?
Dr Good has been one of the best starts of a newspaper title in recent years, surpassing 100,000 copies sold in the first issue in 2017. Enough to give ideas to other publishers affected by a serious market crisis. the press.
A crisis linked to two main factors: the bankruptcy of the press distributor Presstalis and the drop in newsstand sales. A phenomenon that accelerated during the pandemic with the closure of many points of sale because of successive confinements.
In this difficult context, the idea of launching embodied magazines is a solution for the sector to renew itself. “We had a lot of feedback from women who told us’ ‘I hadn’t bought a women’s press for 10/15 years because I couldn’t find myself there any more and this is different and I like it’”, confides Jérémy Parayre, editorial director of S, Sophie Davant’s magazine, well-being magazine launched with the host of France 2 last November. “Finally, it shows that the written press has an enormous capacity to renew itself.”
“We stayed too long on a panorama of the magazine press that was too frozen, so we absolutely had to reinvent something new in the face of digital technology,” says Patrick Eveno, media historian. “The old titles suffer greatly and in the face of it, the TV stars appear as locomotives for the press.”
For media sociologist Nathalie Nadaud-Albertini, the rise of embodied magazines is above all linked to the development of relationships with animators, which now go far beyond the small screen.
“Now we are used to the screen presence being extended to other media and especially with social networks”, she explains to HuffPost. “It was popularized with reality TV contestants chasing their story on Instagram or Snapchat. We were used to this extended intimacy and this breeding ground allowed these magazines to arrive. ”
The sociologist also analyzes that these magazines arrive at the time when we are going through an anxiety-provoking period. “In this particular context, having figures that are reassuring and familiar will appeal to readers. We enter into a form of intimacy with the facilitator. It is a bond of confidence, moreover Faustine Bollaert’s magazine is called Between us”.
Why television stars?
Using stars from the small screen is very interesting from a marketing point of view since they can quickly bring the magazine to light. “Setting up a brand today is still very complicated, we can see that press brands are very well identified and newcomers have had a hard time settling in over time,” analyzes Jérémy Parayre. “To associate with a personality is to save all that time in fact. It is certain that the success of our magazine would not have been the same without Sophie Davant ”.
This shows that television is still a prescriber and that presenters have now become influencers, as can some Youtubers or Instagram stars. “There is an interesting movement around the animators who on the one hand are very installed in TV, but who want to develop a brand and the paper press is part of the means of being embodied via slightly different channels”, explains Michèle Benzeno, Managing Director of Webedia in charge of development. The publisher who bought the magazine Dr Good in 2019 is the perfect example by representing both influencers from digital (Natoo, Norman, Cyrpien …) then those from television (Michel Cymes, Jamy Gourmaud, Jarry …).
There is also in these television stars a strong power of identification, underlines Nathalie Nadaud-Albertini. ”We have a familiarity that is created by the small screen with very regular meetings ”, she explains, citing the daily presences on France 2 of Sophie Davant (Affaire Conclue) and Faustine Bollaert (It starts today) . “These animators are figures who will punctuate people’s lives and it is almost as if they were part of the family. The father would be Jean-Pierre Pernaut, the mother or the aunt would be Sophie Davant, the big sister Faustine Bollaert, the uncle Stéphane Bern … ”
Does it work ?
The phenomenon being new, it is difficult to analyze it in depth for the moment. Moreover, most of these magazines are so recent that sales data do not yet exist with the ACPM (Alliance for Press and Media Figures).
We can however note the great success of Dr Good by Michel Cymes. The launch of this bimonthly in 2017 is considered one of the best in print media in recent years, reaching 130,000 sales from the first issue. Double the basic target set by Mondadori at the time. The title has since continued its progression to find a cruising speed above 200,000 copies. Figures have since fallen slightly in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Difficult to compare titles that do not have the same frequency, but for illustration purposes, Dr Good is more sold than the monthly Psychology or Capital. The success even pushed Franck Cymes to launch other complementary magazines. A culinary magazine, Dr Good it’s good !, one on pets, Dr Good Vet, and another for children, Dr Good Kids!.
A great revenge for Franck Cymes who suffered a lot of rejection before his idea of an embodied magazine finally saw the light of day. “When I arrived, I was taken for a pretentious man. I was told: ‘Franck Cymes, you are not going to revolutionize the press in France’. Mondadori, Prisma or Lagardère nobody believed us at first. We came back with new arguments and we were trusted. We are happy today that Dr Good or the benchmark of embodied magazines ”.
Is it going to continue?
Yes, the trend seems clear and should continue in the coming weeks. Moreover, after Patrick Sébastien, it is Jean-Pierre Pernaut who will also launch his magazine on June 25th. In At the heart of the regions, the former figure of the 13h of TF1 will share the subjects which are close to his heart on the defense of the land, the richness of our culture, our gastronomy, our heritage … The bimonthly will be edited by Burda Bleu, the same group who recently launched the news magazine The reverse side of business with a certain Karl Zéro as the head of the gondola.
On the Webedia side, we are working on a scientific magazine embodied by Jamy Gourmaud that we no longer present. In addition to hosting a daily on France 5, the presenter has made the digital shift and is now well established on Youtube with his “Épicurieux” channel.
If the fashion effect is real, that does not mean that all future titles on the paperweight will necessarily require an incarnation. For Franck Cymes, it is not essential to succeed in newsstands today. “The success of a magazine is based on the editorial promise not on the form. The star of the magazine is the content first and foremost and if there isn’t any in number 3 you disappear. ”
The entrepreneur goes even further by recalling that an incarnation can be a double-edged sword. “Capitalizing on the name of a personality is also a little dangerous. It suffices for the personality to step aside or be less visible on the air and the whole ecosystem suffers. If you had launched Michael Jackson’s magazine 15 years ago, it would have been complicated. ”
On the side of CMI, publisher of the magazines of Sophie Davant and Patrick Sébastien, we are monitoring this phenomenon with a lot of attention. “We fear the overdrive of titles which can end up creating weariness,” says Jérémy Parayre who fears “a cannibalization of titles”.
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