Monday, April 16, 2012

Panzer publishing Mk2: Landlove vs Landscape

Flicking through these two magazines from Hubert Burda (Landlove) and Bauer Consumer Media (Landscape) is an exercise in instant deja vu: whatever one magazine has, the other has too.

To wit:
• logo with straight type plus scripty bit – check
• guide to bluebell woods – check
• feature about willow weaving – check
• feature about lilac – check
• feature about a cookery writer's delightfully quaint country cottage – check
• seasonal recipes – check
• feature about the Brecon Beacons – check
• seasonal garden tasks – check

It's uncanny. Strangely enough it's easier to tell the difference between these magazines with your eyes shut – Landlove is printed on a nicely tactile grade of matte-finish paper while Landscape uses a semi-gloss.

One other odd thing – while Anna-Lisa De'Ath  (L-love) highlights content and page numbers in her editor's letter, Sheena Harvey (L-scape) does not refer to any content at all in hers. It's almost as if she had no idea of what was going into the magazine.

There's another echo of deja vu in that these magazines are a bit Country Living, a bit Good Housekeeping, a bit Gardeners' World a bit Countryfile and even a bit Living Woods.

Both titles are based on magazines produced in their publisher's home market, Mein Schönes Land (Burda) and Landlust (Bauer) respectively. It is this that recalls the original burst of so-called "Panzer publishing" in the 1980s, when Bauer and Gruner + Jahr  took the women's weekly market by storm from IPC with titles like Bella and Best.

The big question is, do women over 35 (the stated target demographic for both magazines) either want or need even one magazine that seems to replicate large elements of what is already on the market without adding anything very new? As I was unable to see much of a difference between Bella, Best, Woman's Own or Woman's Weekly all those years ago I may be be the best judge of this.

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