"Cosmo" makes its Latvian language debut

  • 2002-03-07
  • Ilze Arklina
RIGA - Latvia last week became the 44th country to publish one of the largest-selling magazines in the world, Cosmopolitan.

The idea to print the magazine in Latvian comes from Lithuania, where it proved to be very successful.

The Lithuanian company Ieva, which publishes the magazine under a franchise, set up a Lithuanian-Latvian joint venture, I and L Publishing, and started to publish Cosmopolitan in Latvia. The first issue, which had a print run of 26,000, came out Feb. 28.

Cosmopolitan is targeting young, self-assured career women aged 18 to 35 in Latvia, the publisher said. Some 40 percent of its content will be translations, 30 percent adapted stories and 30 percent original material.

The magazine's editorial content will be based on three main topics - careers, relationships and fashion and beauty. Cosmopolitan's cover price is 99 santims ($1.55).

"Latvia is a promising market," said Viktoras Tombakas, the publisher of Cosmopolitan in Lithuania. "The quality of publications in Lithuania is very high, which is not the case in Latvia."

He declined to say the amount his company is investing into publishing the magazine in Latvia but noted that the should turn a profit within three years.

The publishers of other women's magazines in Latvia are not worried yet.

Representative of the magazine Una, Kaspars Grava, said that the Latvian Cosmopolitan will have some influence on the present market situation.

He said it could attract the interest of advertisers, particularly those currently advertising in such local women's magazines as Santa, Una and the fashion magazine Pastaiga.

He also said he believed that the Latvian audience would be satisfied only with 100 percent original materials.

Ivars Zarins, board chairman of the publishing house Zurnals Santa, said that Cosmopolitan's audience is too "young" for the magazine to compete for advertisers with Santa, which is currently the most influential women's magazine in Latvia.

The most popular publication for women in Latvia is the weekly magazine Ieva, published by Zurnals Santa, which boasted 18,800 subscribers in February.

"The first issue (of Cosmopolitan) is OK, but I will have to think twice whether I will buy the second one," said Baiba Kraule, 29, an accountant and a regular reader of the magazine's Russian edition. "Then I would have to give up some other magazine. I think it could be the weekly Ieva," she said.

She noted that the content of Cosmopolitan was similar to other women's magazines in Latvia. Kraule said the main attraction could be the new magazine's price. The Russian version is two times more expensive.

The Lithuanian publishing house Ieva owns 60 percent of shares in I and L Publishing, with another 40 held by the Latvian publishing house Lilit.

Cosmopolitan has been published in Lithuania since 1998 and has a circulation of 30,000-35,000 copies. Cosmopolitan is published by Hearst Corporation, which has decided to sell the franchise in Latvia in view of high sales in Lithuania. It will be the first world-famous adult magazine to be printed in Latvian.