When Time magazine chose 'you' as its person of the year in 2006, it featured a little mirror on the cover. And in latest edition of Next magazine—'The You Issue - What Every Woman Needs to Know'—Bauer Media has gone for the reflective approach as well.
The issue, which Bauer believes is New Zealand's first mirrored cover, uses an aluminium polyester laminate instead of the usual paper stock to create an effect that allows the reader to become the cover star.
“Magazine editors talk constantly about keeping the reader at the forefront of their thoughts in everything they do, but very few follow through with putting an actual reader on their cover," says editor Sarah Henry. "Using advances in print technology, Next has been able to make this a reality for everyone. It’s another way that we’re innovating and changing the traditional landscape of magazines.”
The idea came about more than six months ago, and many challenges have had to be overcome to make it happen, from sourcing the materials in a limited market to extensive trialling. The cover is printed with foil label inks as opposed to conventional offset inks and varnished for protection. Gloves were worn by everyone who handled the magazine throughout the bindery and distribution process to ensure a perfect product at newsstand.
“At Next we are striving to find new thinking in everything we do to surprise our readers, as well as create a greater impact at point of purchase and excite our advertisers,” says publisher Fiona Lyon.
Next has recently embarked on a mission to reinvigorate itself after a period of circulation decline (average net paid circulation has declined every year since mid 2005, with the high water mark of 67,564 and the most recent figures of 33,291). As well as a thorough redesign, a new masthead to give it a more sophisticated feel and a new size, it's also targeting a younger audience and taking a few more risks, including breaking with more than two decades of tradition and featuring a man—chef Josh Emett—on its cover.
Nielsen's last readership survey wasn't pretty, however, with Next losing almost 100,000 readers compared to the same time last year to clock in with 275,000. But Bauer said in a release such a decrease wasn't uncommon after a significant masthead change and a premium repositioning.
"Next magazine has seen an initial fall in readership predominantly among tertiary and lower socio readers. The latest readership of 275,000, down 4.5 per cent on the previous release, points to a more affluent and targeted reader profile."