Let’s hope that it does a wee bit better than the pevious BBC Holiday magazines, but the omens aren’t good:
- This ain’t a big market. The main competition comes from Conde Nast Traveller and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Of Traveller’s 68,000 UK circulation (let’s not bother with the overseas stuff shall we, we all know the value of that), 27,000 is bulk sale or free and 20,000 of their subs are on reduced rate. The ST magaziine has 45,000 UK circulation, 17,000 of which is bulk/free, 8,000 subs are discounted.
- The BBC doesn’t do small. If Worldwide had decided to put this with their niche titles in Bristol they might have a hope of controlling costs. Basing it in West London (with Good Food, Radio Times, Top Gear, Gardeners’ World) means that they’re sticking big resource behind it, which implies they want a circulation of 100,000+. See above on the chances for this.
- Travel is expensive. The BBC couldn’t do PR-funded jollies as that causes problems with its independence; they can’t use Lonely Planet’s writers without paying BBC day- or word-rates.
- Who’s going to advertise? With airlines and travel companies suffering and with the economy forcing most of us to economise there’s not going to be big media budgets looking for a home.
Most likely outcomes:
- They don’t bother launching it. Once the numbers have been crunched they’ll realise that they’re doomed, so they’ll use the OFT complaints as a fig leaf.
- They launch and realise it’s losing a shed load of money and either downsize the operation and move to Bristol, or can the title completely. Timescale from launch – 6 months.
- They launch and it’s an outstanding success. Ha!