media and technology

the lowdown

Games . Web Sites . CD-ROMs

io‘lotontational issue, it was FHM Connect for the-boys. This time, it’s Elle for the girls, who definitely come out on top inthe maturity stakes. Combining the best of the various print editions from round the world, Elle International offers fashion, reviews, interviews and discussions. Although some of the topics up for debate may leave you asleep at the keyboard, the site benefits from the glossy know-how of its creators there’s a cleanliness about it that much Web design lacks. So international, it’s almost cosmopolitan, but for those less worldly, at least it’s in English.

PM (CD-80M £14.99)

Pyst, as one computer wag has already commented. is popular PC game Myst dissed. Apparently four million people have now visited the frustrating but beautiful island of the original game. and Pyst’s angle is that such cultural tourism takes its toll. Featuring a guest appearance from John Goodman. Pyst lampoons with a collection of island views now cluttered with trailer parks and industrial waste. Hot-spots, music and a Web site all back up the gag. but the fact that you can complete Pyst in two hours, compared to an eternity for the original, makes it good value only your own sense of humour can decide.

Soviet Strike (PlayStation /Saturn £44.99) The fledgeling democracies of Eastem Europe are under threat from a madman, and you’ve got to complete a variety of missions to save them. Soviet Strike is the fourth game in the highly successful helicopter series, but it’s the first to appear on next generation consoles. Its most innovative new feature is the photo-realistic playing area. The jggraphics are streamed straight from CD,'but you’re not forced to follow a set path. Many games have attempted this with little success, but Strike’s fmix Of. gorgeous‘visuals and addictin gameplay make this an 4 meat purchase for all helicopter lovers. (John Henderson)

Page boys

New-lad titles have turned British men into a nation of magazine-buyers, says John Henderson, and now the racks are heaving with niche men’s mags on every subject known to blokes.

magazines below the top shelf was

pretty straightforward. (iQ. Esquire. Dirt Bike Rider and Model Railways. The polarisation is obvious. As a bloke you either bought a relatively upmarket glossy with pictures of Pamela with her clothes on. or a cheap-prtxluction rag that dished the dirt on your favourite hobby. The topshelf just combined the two.

This year, however. has seen the launch of a new men‘s title almost every month. In September. it was laddish foodie mag lz'atSoup. Last month it was technology-fest 7‘3. And this month we haxe the originally titled Stuff. which. and here‘s the clever bit. is all about the ‘stuff‘ men buy. So what‘s going on? Have men got other interests after all‘.’

Stuart Anderton, publisher of T3. puts the change in the market down to the recent success of big-name mags like Loaded and GQ. ‘What these magazines have done is got men into the magazine- buying habit.‘ says Anderton. ‘l.oaded can shift a quarter of a million copies. and the men‘s market is big enough now to support magazines like ours.‘

In the past the market for men‘s

‘As a sales technique, the bird on the front is

the glossies and the specialist press is now being exploited. The titles released over the last year are more tightly targeted than something like loaded. but not so much that you'd have to put on an anorak to read them. According to Anderton. 7‘3 should enter the market with a circulation of around 40,000.

The content of these new titles depends upon which side of the old-style men‘s mag market they‘re coming from. ‘Many of the new magazines appearing at the moment are subsections of the more glossy ones.‘ says Anderton. Monit- Health. (IQ Active and EatSoup have clearly been spawned in this manner.

()n the other hand, a title like T3 offers a generalised version of more specialist areas. In its glorification of all things technological. it combines with slick presentation. elements from hi-fi magazines, consumer


Eric Fuller, the man always a tail-safe. electronics and the behind Stuff. agrees. ‘Men You avoid it at computer press. are more open to buying your peril.’ But will these young magazines than before.‘ he upstarts ever steal the fire says. ‘No one knows how Efic Fuller, oftheir bigger brothers? elastic the market is, but ' T3‘s Anderton doesn‘t none of the recent launches Publlsner’ Stu". think so. ‘We don't see

have been detrimental to existing titles.‘ Although Fuller refuses to crystal-ball- gaze. he is enthusiastic about the possibilities. ‘Seventy per cent of women buy at least one magazine per month, but only 6 per cent of men do,‘ he comments. ‘ln the men‘s market. you could increase sales ten times before you reached a saturation point equivalent to the women‘s market.’ Publishers must be rubbing their hands in anticipation. Nature and marketing executives abhor a vacuum, and with men looking to buy more magazines. the gap between

ourselves making any inroads there,‘ he says. ‘We don‘t have enough birds on the cover.‘ Aha. At last an admission that gratuitous displays of female flesh are what really sell men‘s magazines.

Not always the case though, argues Stuffs Fuller. ‘Men 's Health is a good example of a magazine with a man on the front that sells.‘ he says. Progress perhaps, but Fuller is not about to ignore the obvious either. ‘As a sales technique. the bird on the front is always a fail- safe.‘ he admits. ‘You avoid it at your peril.‘ Even while tempting them with

Elm"? Cut-m "5:,

mm M W S.“

Stuff For Men: It’s all about stuff

blokes buy, and er, birds

food. little black boxes or good old- fashioned lager. publishers have clearly not altogether lost sight of what really sells to men. They‘re just fudging it a bit. T3 is available at neii'sagents at £2.95; .S'tujfis out later this month priced £2.50

I should be grateful if you could allow me to correct a small error in Eddie Gibb‘s otherwise excellent anicre on Sky Scottish in your last edition.

While I atn commissioning a great deal of new programmes for Sky Scottish. the Dirt Detective is not one of them. This series was commissioned by Maxine Baker for Scottish Television some time ago. I was not involved in the commissioning or production in any way.

Eddie rightly points out the programme is presented by my brother. Therefore. apart from scheduling a repeat transmission on Sky Scottish my only other connection with the programme is genetic.

Scott Ferguson Channel Head Sky Scottish

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The List 15-28 Nov 1996111