Monkey 'hates the Zoo and eats Nuts'
I learned some great facts and figures at a presentation by Kerin O'Conor and Ben Raworth, the people behind Monkey magazine yesterday morning. Perhaps the most surprising was that user response has led them to halve the number of pages featuring girls from 16pp to 8pp. So much for my earlier assumption that it was just one level above a porn website.
User response was the big story; while the average magazine might expect 20-30 letters a week, Monkey attracts thousands of emails every week. Editor-in-chief Ben Raworth explained how within days of launching they had to split incoming email into six mailboxes to manage the volume.
The number of visitors is impressive too. One January issue received 180,000 visits and 2.3 million clicks, and they've just recorded their first ABCe at 209,000.
Who are these people? The majority are apparently 18-35 year old men (no surprise) from ABC1 demographic (more surprising) and they're mainly viewing the magazine at home, not at work (really surprising). And while men's weeklies are generally read for 25 minutes, the Ceros software used by Monkey tracks in detail and has recorded an average 45 minutes spent with the magazine.
Even allowing for the inevitable positive spin the men from Monkey surely presented, the magazine is clearly a great success in terms of creating a readership. The advertising story was slightly less clear but I did note the figure £160,000 earned in the first two months.
The big question that didn't really get addressed: can the same format transfer to other markets? Ben and Kerin said it could but I wonder if the 18-35 male market isn't the single perfect one for this type of online magazine. The software, the subject matter and the audience are all so neatly interlinked. They joked about doing a food and wine magazine online, 'with daily recipes' but I suspect they have other more realistic plans up their sleeves ready for launch, and look forward to seeing what they do.
Meanwhile, other publishers should get in on the act and play with this format. While Monkey is several notches up from the average Flash-based page-turn software (there's a lot of it out there and most of it sucks), it's really still just a coarse copy of a print format. But Monkey IS a step forward.
A few amusing moments from the morning: Ben referring to Monkey 'going to press'; they called it Monkey because a monkey 'hates the Zoo and eats Nuts'; and they presented a neat time line of 'men's interest' media: from the World of Sport and Page Three in the seventies, through Viz comic in the eighties, to Loaded and the lads mags of the nineties and finally, of course, Monkey.