Inside Edge ABC dampens enthusiasm for gambling media - Friday 12th of August 2005

LONDON – The disappointing debut ABC for gambling magazine Inside Edge, less than half of what was hoped for, has been picked on as evidence that publishers could find it difficult to cash in Britains gambling boom.

Dennis launched Inside Edge as a read for gambling enthusiasts in March 2004, targeting a circulation of around 30,000, but its first ABC figure revealed it is only moving 15,112 copies.

Media buyer Carat and rival publisher IPC Media have questioned whether there is enough demand from readers for further gambling titles, despite the growing number of people participating in the activity online.

Catherine Pronzato, a media buyer at Carat for poker advertiser PartyPoker.com, said: "Even if gambling is becoming more and more mainstream, this demand does not necessarily translate into a demand for a magazine."

It is a risk that faces the planned daily newspaper The Sportsman, which is being launched next spring by former Telegraph Group chief executive Jeremy Deedes and former Telegraph journalist Charlie Methven. Pitched as a paper for people interested in betting on sport, it will need to sell 40,000 copies a day to break even.

Tim Brooks, managing director of IPC Ignite, also questioned the demand for magazines and papers purely about gambling. "I would rather put a pound on the Grand National than into The Sportsman," he said.

Dennis, however, appears not to be perturbed for the present. It is launching more gambling magazines with Total Gambler, which will act as an instruction manual for a broad audience of men, out this month free with other Dennis titles. This will be followed by Poker Player in September with a print run of 50,000, piggybacking on Maxim.

Richard Downey, the publisher of Dennis gaming division, said that Inside Edge is going to return a six-figure contribution this year, and would be kept going, while first issue revenue for Total Gambler has exceeded expectations.

Pronzato praised Dennis, saying that it was expanding the market and, although Inside Edges numbers were small, they were efficient and well-targeted. Approximately 80% of the circulation was accounted for by subscriptions.

However, she warned: "Publishers need to be careful that they dont interpret this boom as an easy way to make a quick buck from advertisers, as the industry will become increasingly aware that the titles are not being read by large numbers."

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