Earlier this year Bauer decided to close down Cleo magazine and its associated website after 44 years of publishing.
The decision, which was made by the Australian arm, was disappointing for the New Zealand team, given that the local iteration of the publication had been performing better than its counterpart across the ditch.
Although Cleo’s circulation had dropped from 21,100 magazines in 2005 to 3,400 at the end of last year, the publication had established a strong online following among millennial girls—and this is the base MissFQ, an extension of the Fashion Quarterly brand, will be built on.
“Cleo had a massive email database and 27,000 Facebook fans,” says Bauer’s head of digital Michael Fuyala.
This audience has remained dormant until now, but the team at Bauer always viewed it as a valuable asset.
And in launching MissFQ, Bauer is looking to build on its existing FQ brand while simultaneously giving its younger audiences the local content they crave.
Fuyala says the decision to launch MissFQ follows on from similar ventures abroad, such as Miss Vogue, which have performed well in attracting a tricky audience.
To drive interest in the publication, MissFQ will feature content from local influencers, who will not only contribute to interviews but also drive the editorial agenda.
Fuyala says the publication will bring on influencers as guest editors from time to time.
The first of these guest editorial pieces will be run by up-and-coming actress India Yelich-O’Connor (Lorde’s younger sister).
With 27,000 Instagram followers and 6,000 Twitter followers, Yelich-O’Connor will no doubt help to drive interest in the new title.
While guest editors will play a part in determining what content goes onto the website at times, the full-time editorial responsibilities will lie with Skye Ross, who arrives from a short stint as the social media manager at Trelise Cooper (before that she held various roles at Bauer, including two years as the editorial assistant at Cleo).
As is the case with Bauer’s other digital titles, Fuyala says MissFQ will focus on producing as much video content as possible.
“We’ve doubled the size of our video editorial team [at Bauer] and we’re training many of our writers on recording with their iPhones and basic editing,” Fuyala says.
Fuyala also says that the launch of the MissFQ brand is in line with Bauer’s decision to produce fewer online titles that do a better job of servicing its audiences.
Fashion Quarterly editor Sally-Ann Mullin has welcomed the arrival of MissFQ to the fold, saying that there’s clear demand in this space.
“These new launches demonstrate the vitality of the Fashion Quarterly brand and our commitment to be the best in a new breed of fashion storytellers,” she says.
In some ways, MissFQ also provides a steppingstone for readers that could eventually see them graduate into FQ readers. And this certainly provides an opportunity to keep readers in its portfolio over a longer period of time.