OK! switches printer, launches beauty box

Jo Francis
Friday, November 20, 2020

OK! magazine has become the latest high-profile title to switch from gravure to web offset printing.

OK!: issued dated 23 November is first to be printed by Walstead
OK!: issued dated 23 November is first to be printed by Walstead

The celebrity weekly has moved from Prinovis in Liverpool to Walstead Peterborough, with the first issue printed web offset hitting the shops this week.

In September rival Hello! also made a similar move, and is now printed at Walstead Bicester.

A spokesperson for OK! publisher Reach said: “We have switched printers to Walstead for the flagship magazine, the paper quality has improved and we have increased cover weight from 100gsm to 130gsm and applied a UV gloss varnish. 

“On the text paper, we have increased the basis weight from 57gsm to 60gsm and gone from an uncoated paper stock to a coated paper stock giving our readers a better product in the process.”

The title has not needed to change format. 

Jon Hearnden, group sales director at Walstead Group, said the publisher had gone out to tender and had also conducted rigorous testing.

“Back in August we were given a very challenging trial to produce test printings on a variety of different paper types,” he explained.

“We’re obviously delighted to add another high-profile brand to our portfolio in an extremely challenging market. It’s also our first product for Reach, so we are especially pleased to be welcoming new business and a new customer.”

The Bicester site will paper wrap multi-pack copies for newsstand sales.

Hearnden said it was helpful to be able to print competing titles with similar schedules at different sites in the group.

OK! has also just launched its first brand extension, a new monthly “self-care” subscription package called the Beauty Edit featuring a selection of cult beauty items.

It will be available via three subscription packages: £15 monthly, a three month package including a VIP magazine for £14 a month, and a six month subscription including two VIP magazines for £13 a month.

Reach said the the VIP magazine would have “more of a beauty and lifestyle focus”. It is also being printed by Walstead.

The publisher is working with Prospect Print Management in Kent on the subscription box packaging (below).

OK! magazine had a pre-Covid ABC-certified circulation of 116,341 copies a week.  

Prinovis has been printing the title for 14 years. When it took it on the print run was around 700,000 and it had a much bigger pagination. 

A source at the company commented: “The huge impact of Covid on their print quantities and pagination forced them into taking an offset option. We wish them well for the future but It won’t have an impact on our business as in recent years the quantity was minimal.”

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