Stuff magazine drops girls from covers


Haymarket Media Group, the publisher of Stuff magazine, has dropped images of women from the magazine's covers after "non-girl" front pages proved more popular on the newsstand.

Scantily clad women holding gadgets have appeared on the monthly tech magazine's front cover since in launched in 1996. But Stuff has decided to banish women from its covers, after audience focus groups suggested the approach was no longer popular.

As a trial, a fifth of Stuff's April, May and June 2014 issues featured "non-girl" covers in four UK regions, while the usual Stuff covers ran elsewhere.

The "non-girl" covers achieved 10 per cent more sales than the "girl" covers in April, 7 per cent more in May and 6 per cent more in June.

Rachael Prasher, the publishing director of Stuff, said: "While the decision to drop the cover girls from Stuff is based on what our audience have told us through focus groups and cover trials, there is no question that it feels like the right decision to make.

"At the industry level, we see this as a big step forward for men's lifestyle magazines."

The new cover, the first not featuring a woman across the full print run, will be on sale and sent to subscribers from tomorrow.

Will Findlater, the editor-in-chief of Stuff, said the magazine had moved on from its "lads mag" origins when it launched in the 90s.

Findlater said: "Nearly 20 years on – and with tech now an indispensable part of everyday life – our readership has changed. The covers used to help our position on the newsstand but our research tells us this is no longer the case.

"We want the cover to reflect what Stuff is about: the best new technology in the world.

"Our new look will make it easier for us to bring our award-winning coverage of the cleverest, most forward-thinking new gadgets and software to readers united by their passion for technology - and nothing else."

Stuff's move follows a backlash against lads' mags, which saw supermarkets such as The Co-Operative refuse to stock publications with "raunchy" covers unless they were packaged in opaque "modesty" bags.

In March, IPC Media announced the closure its weekly men's magazine Nuts, after its print circulation fell 33.5 per cent year-on-year in the last six months of 2013.

Circulation figures for other lads mags have also plummeted in recent years. The circulation figures for Nuts' rival Zoo fell 33 per cent in the same period.

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