France: Lagardère and Marie Claire merge their women’s magazines Be and Envy

As revealed by Presse News yesterday, the French media giants Lagardère Active et Marie-Claire Group have decided to merge their respective new women’s weeklies Be and Envy, only six months after their launch.  A conference call betweek Lagardère Active‘s CEO, Didier Quillot, and Marie Claire’s, Jean-Paul Lubot, was planned this morning to clarify the details of the transaction, but according to Presse News again, the last issue of Envy would be published at the end of september.  The Be brand is the one likely to survive in an enriched version fueled by some part of Envy’s former editorial team. 

Out of 40, only about 15 journalists among Envy‘s editorial team will move over to Be (DSH OJD: 171 085 copies per week). Jean-Paul Lubot explained the closure by a very competitive segment and lagging circulation figures (DSH OJD 2010: 174 280 copies per week), well below Envy’s break even point of 200 000.  Also, ad sales had been disappointing.

That’s not a huge surprise to me since Envy looked like the poorer one from scratch amongst the three women’s weeklies launched in France between August 2009 and Spring 2010.  I didn’t see the merger coming, but considering the strong ties that unite Lagardère and MCG, it makes sense, rather than just folding EnvyGrazia seems to be winning the battle of the Paris weeklies and this is not a bad move for Lagardère, which protects its longtime champion Elle (weekly in France) by helping to kill a competitor.

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