January 21, 2016 Last Updated 12:09 pm

Bauer Media Group launches new websites for print titles Woman’s World and First for Women

Publisher launches new websites for woman’s titles that are leading sellers at retail, but have newly designed websites to help them maintain their readership levels

It is highly unusual these days to read of a publisher launching a website for a magazine. That is, that the magazine didn’t already have one. Generally speaking, publishers are eager to promote their magazines online these days with robust websites, knowing where readers are heading.
Magazines - WomansWorld - BauerBut the two Bauer Media titles here – Woman’s World and First for Women – are both heavily skewed towards newsstand sales rather than subscriptions, so readers are less likely to be searching online for the brands. Woman’s World, for instance, has around 925K readers, but less than 100K print subscribers. First for Women does a little better with over 195,000 print subscribers, that still only represents around 19 percent of their total circulation of 985,656 (according to the magazine’s latest audit report).

What both magazines are struggling with is hitting their rate bases. Both missed in their last reports, which is never good. This likely led to someone coming up with the bright idea of launching websites for the titles.

I’m a little confused by the announcement below, though. The release strongly implies that Woman’s World and First for Women have not had a digital presence until now, but I see cached web pages for both magazines going back to 2014. So, it may be that Bauer has, in fact, relaunched these websites.

I wish I could say that the new websites are well-designed and attractive. They aren’t. In fact, they are really bad. One imagines that the designer was working on an 11-inch MacBook because the overall design looks like it was blown up. Maybe the idea was to look good on tablets. The old sites that can be seen using the Wayback Machine look far more attractive.

But… things change dramatically on a mobile device. Ignoring the fact that at least one of the sites opens to a pop-up ad that makes the reader think they have arrived at the wrong place, the sites are far better on a mobile phone. (The web addresses for both sites are below in the press release.)

The obvious goal here is to attract new digital readers to add to Bauer’s total online audience, something all the major magazine publishers are looking to do. Time Inc. said yesterday, for instance, that it had reached a record 119.3M total digital uniques in its network last month, while Condé Nast yesterday bragged that it had reached 112.6 million consumers in December. Everyone wants to growth their digital audiences, especially in the woman’s category.

Here is Bauer Media Group’s announcement for its two new websites:

NEW YORK, NY – January 21, 2016  — Bauer Media Group’s international digital business – Bauer Xcel Media – today announced the digital launch of Woman’s World (www.womansworld.com) and First for Women (www.firstforwomen.com), leading women’s service brands whose print editions are the number one and two best selling magazines at retail in the US as reported by the Alliance for Audited Media in June 2015. The brands will join Bauer Xcel Media’s collection of digital titles with an online audience of more than 25 million monthly unique users.

Magazines - Bauer Media - BodgasBauer Xcel Media hired industry veteran Meredith Bodgas to manage the digital platforms for Woman’s World and First for Women among other titles, as the Executive Editor, Women’s Group in August. Bodgas came to Bauer Xcel Media from Hearst, where she oversaw WomansDay.com. Bodgas, who leads the strategy for the digital women’s brands, has carefully assembled an editorial team to execute a unique combination of content from real-time trending stories to original long-form features.

Bauer Xcel Media waited to launch Woman’s World and First for Women until their target audience had embraced not only digital content, but mobile and social media as well. Bauer Xcel Media takes an innovative approach to producing premium digital content, with the majority of their traffic coming from mobile and social channels. The digital company also has a unique editorial model. Rather than simply repurposing content from the print magazine, the digital brands package a combination of popular online content likely to go viral, original content produced by the digital editorial staff, access to Bauer Xcel Media’s international content archive, and the print content best suited for online channels.

Meredith Bodgas said, “It’s exciting to be part of the online launch of Woman’s World and First for Women. The Women’s Group has a fantastic team of editors using analysis to deliver quality aggregated, curated and completely original content quickly and frequently. We’re heavily engaged with our audience on our sites and social media channels, entertaining and informing them wherever they are, be it on desktop or mobile devices, so that our brands are omnipresent and most welcome in their lives.”

Christian Baesler, President of Bauer Xcel Media’s US operations said, “Now is the perfect time to add Woman’s World and First for Women to Bauer Xcel Media’s digital portfolio, as women of all ages embrace digital and especially social channels. We recently launched our US digital presence with our teen and entertainment titles to wild success and are confident that the phenomenal growth we have experienced will continue with these additional brands.”

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