The Guardian Life magazine appears to have found its voice. It reads like a blog written by a gang of well educated millennials. This is probably what the new management, inspired by Toke Ibru, the late Alex Ibru’s son, was going for. But this is the second time the weekly supplement will be finding its voice.
About 12 years ago when it was first launched, it aimed to be Nigeria’s answer to Culture, the weekly magazine produced by the Guardian of London. But along the line, that tone changed. For about three years before now, it languished in the desert of no-direction, not clear if it was meant to be a fashion magazine or an art/entertainment magazine.
Now, it may have settled for a breezy, conversational tone to keep young people updated about fashion, cuisine, and entertainment. And even though the difference between it and the newspaper that serves it every Sunday is like night and day, it has emerged as a credible alternative voice to the towering ThisDay Style.
Where Style, the more suave publication, fetes the High Net worth Individual with lightly-written society pieces, celebrity profiles and elaborate photography, Guardian Life is casual, less aspirational, and utterly young. Although both are mostly written by women, they’ll probably agree that Style is the more at home with the affluent class of readers. However, the disparity gets even deeper.
Guardian Life isn’t making as much money as ThisDay Style. After several weeks of observing both, I concluded today that Life and The Guardian itself do not pull in the kind of advertising cash they used to. Today, for example, ThisDay is bursting with ads– 14 of them in the newsprint and 3 full pages in Style, but The Guardian on Sunday and Life have zero advertisements.
It’s fantastic that Life is becoming distinguished with its presentation but if it must corner some of the market’s ad spend from ThisDay, it will have to hurry. As the entire Guardian team has now learnt, the publishing business is no longer what it used to be.