Bros Rejoice! 'FHM' Returns

Amid a fraught and frightening U.S. election season, growing political uncertainty in Europe, and the unending horror in Syria, these eventful times are proving to be a golden age for explanatory journalism.

That benefits both pure-play digital news startups and legacy publications innovating online. But the when all is said and done, it’s fitting to remind ourselves of some simple home truths, with one fact prevailing over all others. Sometimes, dudes just want to look at hot chicks.

With that guiding principle in mind, Bauer Xcel Media, the independent digital division of the celebrity and lifestyle publisher, is resurrecting FHM magazine online after a decade-long hiatus. Founded in 1985 in the UK as “For Him Magazine,” beginning in 1999, the pioneering “lad mag” was published in the U.S. by Emap, which pulled the plug on both the print edition and its accompanying Web site back in 2006.

The British print edition was nixed last year.

Now Bauer, which also publishes the magazine’s Australian edition, is brushing off the brand and once again super-serving bros with bodacious bods along with a variety of sensational content and service content spanning style, food, tech and entertainment. But yeah, it’s mostly girls (who get their own subject heading).

A typical item: “This Girl Smashing A Beer Can With Her Breasts Is Sure To Make Your Life Complete.”

While the revived FHM now has its own dedicated U.S. editorial team, its extensive archives draw on content from the British counterpart, which inhabits a substantially similar niche and tone, except for some minor differences in spelling and word choice (e.g. “knickers,” “getting her kit off,” “naked mum,” etc.).

In fact, the British FHM Web site is part of the reason for the revival of the American version. According to Bauer, a large proportion of the traffic to the British site came from the U.S., suggesting sustained brand recognition and loyalty across the pond. The special relationship endures, brah.

The new FHM enters an already crowded marketplace of young men’s online lifestyle publishers -- including the revamped, safe-for-work (but still girl-crazy) Playboy, which dropped the nudity from its print and online editions in recent years.

To differentiate the brand editorially, Bauer is positioning it as a provider of content and features for the “real man,” and an accessible alternative to more aspirational men’s magazines.

Allison Mezzafonte, senior vice-president of operations at Bauer Xcel Media U.S., stated: “FHM is a brand that understands real guys. We’ve created a friendly and engaging environment that focuses on the issues that guys care about today such as love, health, sex, sports and entertainment with a filter of honesty and humor.

On any given day, a reader might find advice about the five emojis to never send to a woman, highlights of last night's football game, or an inspiring story of an every day hero - mixing entertainment with information in an approachable way.”

Also boobs.

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