Dennis Publishing, the company behind Men's Fitness, Viz, and This Week, is set to make its biggest gamble in years with a multi-million pound investment in a free, weekly health and fitness magazine, called Coach.
Coach will cover a broad content mix of technology, careers, fashion and modern living, as well as health and fitness.
It is understood that 300,000 copies of Coach magazine will hit train stations, gyms, airports and hotels from 14 October.
The plan is to have 200,000 copies of the magazine distributed on the streets of the UK’s biggest cities, including 120,000 through vendors in the capital. A further 40,000 will be made available in gyms and running and cycling clubs, 25,000 will be distributed at airports, 20,000 through offices and 15,000 via hotels.
The magazine launch is the latest indication of ambitious plans to expand Dennis Publishing’s portfolio following the death of the group’s legendary founder, Felix Dennis, last summer.
The publisher launched technology website Alphr in June and its 34th international edition of Health & Fitness magazine in Turkey, under licence, in May.
One source said: “Dennis Publishing has been active over the last year but Coach represents its biggest publishing foray in at least a decade, and there’s a lot at stake.
“However, the free magazine market is an exciting, growing space and the health and fitness sector has significantly outperformed the rest of the men’s market in recent years and is a sector the publisher knows well.”
Coach is being positioned to media agencies as a male-skewed, general lifestyle title, with the publisher believing it has spotted a gap for a less specialist magazine than its established brands Men’s Fitness and Health & Fitness.
The publisher is yet to reveal how much it plans to charge advertisers, but media buyers expect to pay between £5,000-£7,000 per page.
During the last decade there has been a notable shift in people taking an active interest in their personal fitness. There has been a rise in budget gyms, with the arrival of Pure Gym, EasyGym and Xercise4less, along side continued investment in the premium end, as typified by the likes of Virgin Active and David Lloyd.
A spokesperson for Dennis said: "We are always looking at ways to grow the business through acquisitions and new launches, but we can't comment on any projects in particular."