London’s well-known gay scene magazine, Boyz, today announces a move to monthly publication. Last week’s issue, published just ahead of Pride in London, was its final as a weekly title.
Its publishers promise, ‘A true “take home” coffee table-style magazine offering lots of interesting current interviews, articles and features, up to date stories from the gay scene, essential lifestyle and health advice and information and striking photography – and all without a cover price.’
Boyz launched as a free distribution title in July 1991. It went from strength to strength in the 1990s as the LGBTI scene across the UK grew. It launched a separate UK edition to complement its London version.
Scene coverage dominated both versions, alongside celebrities interviews, sexual health and relationship advice. Unlike the factual news coverage that hallmarked other British publications like Pink Paper, Boyz took a more irreverent, light-hearted approach.
Declining LGBTI scene advertisers
However, the arrival of the internet and the steady decline in LGBTI venues have impacted its fortunes. One recent study found that London lost approximately half its LGBTI spaces between 2007-2017.
Boyz dropped its UK edition in the early 00s. In recent years, it’s lost scene advertisers and has instead turned to other sources of revenue. It has seen its weekly pagination fall regularly to around 40 pages (from a heyday of 100+).
In a press release, a spokesperson said, the new monthly version, ‘will be a 96-page publication with a glossy, heavier cover but remain – as it has always been – a free title distributed to its 55,000 readers through gay bars, clubs, shops and saunas, as well as the digital edition on the Boyz website.
‘The move follows a reduction in weekly advertising from gay scene venues but an increase in advertising from theatres, film companies, book publishers, health services, shops and travel agencies.
‘These new advertising markets have increasingly sought a longer shelf life for Boyz beyond the “week’s readership” … this has persuaded the owners – long-term gay couple David Bridle and Kelvin Sollis – to make the change to the monthly format and expand the title with a bigger pagination and glossier print.’
It says much of the weekly scene coverage will move online to the Boyz website.
‘This is a big shift for our readers, advertisers and for the Boyz team itself, but we are convinced that this move will secure the long term future for Boyz and the Boyz brand,’ said publisher David Bridle in the statement.
‘It combines the strengths of a physical print magazine which will be welcomed by our readers going out to venues across London and the UK but also by improving the Boyz website to keep people updated between the monthly editions.’
Speaking to Gay Star News, Bridle said the decision to go monthly was an, ‘exciting one, because it’s been a struggle.
‘There’s no doubt the scene has changed and some of the big advertisers have moved away from advertising weekly.’ He said he knew of several that were now advertising themselves largely through social media rather than print media.
‘It’s a golden opportunity to completely reinvent Boyz, make it a bigger magazine and attract new advertisers.’
The first monthly issue of Boyz arrives Tuesday 23 July.
London-based artist David Hodge, also known as drag queen Dusty O, has graced the cover of Boyz several times. He told Gays Star News he was, ‘Sad to hear Boyz will no longer be weekly.
‘Throughout the 90’s/00’s I appeared eight times on their cover. Pre-internet, the magazine was a must-have for the gay community. It certainly made my career and I have a lot to thank it for. Good luck monthly Boyz!’