The Business of Magazines

Discussion in 'Magazines' started by Cicciolina, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. Cicciolina

    Cicciolina New Member

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    Mod note: this thread will have articles and discussion relating to the business of magazines: redesigns, circulation figures, winners of publication design awards, etc. Please add all relevant articles to this thread...thanks!


    http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,332397365-118446,00.html

    The world according to garb
    Vogue is the UK's glossiest and most successful fashion magazine. But what's it really like behind the scenes, asks Lynn Barber

    Lynn Barber
    Sunday February 10, 2008
    Observer


    Before Christmas, I found myself sharing a sofa with Alexandra Shulman at a party and thought, 'Now is my chance to solve one of the great mysteries of life, the conundrum that has been bugging me for years.' So I said, 'Alex, tell me, because you will know - what is it with handbags?' I hoped she could explain how and why women suddenly became prepared to pay ludicrous amounts of money - as much as a car sometimes - for ugly shapeless bits of tat with fringes and buckles and studs and straps made from the hides of obviously diseased animals. Do men find them attractive? Do they think, 'Oh look, she's got a floppy pock-marked yellow one with studs on - I really fancy her? 'Dunno,' said Alexandra. 'Beats me.'
    'But you're the editor of Vogue!'

    'Yep. It's still a mystery.'

    This is what is always so startling about Alex Shulman: she is the editor of Vogue but she's completely normal. She is not remotely like Miranda Priestly, the editor in The Devil Wears Prada, or indeed like Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue. She is a 50-year-old divorcee who lives in Queen's Park, takes her 12-year-old son Sam to QPR matches, spends Saturdays trawling the Portobello Road, enjoys cooking big suppers for friends and talking about almost anything except fashion. She says it is a vile slur that she reads books during fashion shows, but admits that she does always take a book to fill the long gaps between shows and gets a lot of reading done during London Fashion Week.

    Her partner is the journalist David Jenkins whom I remember as a drugs-crazed youth on Penthouse who could be relied upon to deliver brilliant copy several months late. Their friends tend to be other journalists, writers, artists, many of whom Alex has known since her twenties. She admits that she is 'probably the only person I know who didn't spend most of their twenties completely out of their heads. But I've never liked the idea of taking drugs - I guess I make up for it with drink really!' She says she'd rather die than go to a health spa - 'I hate spas. And treatments. All these places keep offering me a complimentary massage and it's very kind of them but there is nothing I want less. I'm a real hedonist but not for spas - I like sunbathing, I like food, I like alcohol, I like cigs, and for holidays I like staying with a pack of friends.' Not exactly the Vogue lifestyle, then? 'No, probably not, but I mean I used to edit GQ and my life then wasn't about Formula-1 cars, or pin-up girls. I don't think actually as an editor you have to lead the life you write about.'

    She does the job, but she is not defined by her job: she will not have editor of Vogue on her gravestone. She still thinks of herself as a journalist rather than a fashion maven. She doesn't even dress particularly fashionably. At her best - with her wonderful dark eyes, dark hair, imperious carriage - she can look like Isabella Rossellini, but at her worst she worries about 'looking like an awful old fortune-teller'. She is five foot four with a curvaceous figure that is size 12 on a good day, size 14 on a bad one. A friend once described her style as hippie chic, but more hippie than chic. I told her boss, Stephen Quinn, that when I first knew her she was quite a scruff and he winced. 'Never a scruff! Perhaps more bohemian. I personally have noted a seismic shift because she dresses with great panache, there is a sort of grandeur to her.' Even so, she falls far short of immaculate. Her hair is often a mess, her fingernails unmanicured, stray buttons missing. One day at Vogue House I noticed her wearing a very blodgy purple T-shirt and she said proudly that she'd dyed it herself. I bet Anna Wintour has never dyed a T-shirt in her life. But Alex's answer to anyone who says she doesn't look like the editor of Vogue is essentially the same as Gloria Steinem's when told she didn't look 50 - 'This is what 50 looks like'. Likewise Alex - she is the editor of Vogue, so this is what the editor of Vogue looks like. Get used to it.

    Moreover she is a supremely successful editor of Vogue, having seen the circulation climb steadily from 170,000 when she started in 1992 to over 220,000 now. She was rewarded with the OBE in 2005. But a lot of people in the fashion world were shocked when she first got the job. Who was she? They knew she was the daughter of two famous journalists (Drusilla Beyfus and Milton Shulman) and a good journalist herself but she had never worked as a fashion editor; she had never even been to the collections. Her previous job was editor of GQ - before that she worked at Tatler and as women's editor of the Sunday Telegraph. The day before she started at Vogue her sister Nicola (who is now the Marchioness of Normanby) took Alex to Browns and made her buy a suit - 'I remember it was a Lolita Lempicka with shoulder pads and zips all over it. I suppose I thought this is what an editor of Vogue wears!' But she didn't even think about what to wear for her first collections because it never occurred to her that anyone would be looking at her. Surely she can't have been so naive? She says now she realises that of course everyone would be inspecting her but at the time she didn't give it a thought.

    I said I wanted to interview her. She said no - but I could come and hang around at Vogue and watch them preparing the March issue, and no doubt someone would be able to elucidate the mystery of handbags. In the event I never did solve the mystery of handbags - I got sidetracked by shoes, which are getting very weird indeed - but I enjoyed my little foray into the epicentre of fashion. It is a surprisingly cramped office on the sixth floor of Vogue House filled with beautiful white orchids and beautiful white girls. They all wear 'interesting' shoes or boots but nothing I could identify as a Vogue uniform. I expected it to be like The Devil Wears Prada or Ugly Betty with everyone bitching about everyone else, but there was not even a hint of that. Later, I told Alex I was disappointed by the general lack of bitchiness and she laughed, 'I'm sorry about that! But this is not a bitchy office. It can be tense, it can be competitive, it can be weepy sometimes when you have a lot of women in one office and people get stressed, all that, but it's not bitchy. I don't like people who are bitchy so I probably don't hire them.'

    Lucinda Chambers, one of the two fashion directors, has been at Vogue since the Seventies when the terrifying Beatrix Miller still ruled. She remembers once asking Miss Miller (she was always Miss Miller) why there were all these girls weeping in the loos and Miss Miller barked 'Healthy competition!' She ruled by fear. But Alex, says Lucinda, is not like that. 'She's not lovey-dovey but she is completely straight. I think she's fair, but bloody firm.' Alex says her staff all think she's grumpy and Lucinda confirms it but adds, 'We tell her often enough.' Stephen Quinn the publishing director says, 'I always tease her that her staff are more scared of her than mine are of me. She has that grand authority.'

    The first couple of editorial meetings I went to were baffling because I couldn't understand who or what anyone was talking about - it took a while to click that Mario was Testino and Kate was Moss and Uma was Thurman and Karl was Lagerfeld. There was much suspense about Sheherazade's floorboards - would they arrive in time? This turned out to be Sheherazade Goldsmith whose new house they were meant to be photographing but apparently it still lacked floorboards and, as Alex remarked, it is quite difficult to photograph rooms without floors. This problem was still unresolved when I left and I have occasionally caught myself wondering, 'Has poor Sheherazade got her floorboards yet?' There was also discussion of a make-up feature in which someone asked anxiously, 'Are we using real people?' 'Yes, but real beautiful people,' soothed Emily Sheffield, the deputy editor, an outstandingly beautiful person herself.

    Alex suggested I should go on a shoot. I volunteered to go to Peru with Mario Testino or to New York with photographer Craig McDean and Kate Moss, but Alex dispatched me instead to Kentish Town where photographer Jane McLeish Kelsey was shooting Three Ways with a Swirly Skirt. Pippa Holt, who was in charge of the shoot, explained that swirly skirts will be big in the high street next season, but readers need help in learning how to wear them, so they get three stylists to do three different 'looks'. She says that features like this 'balance out the well' which, after some translation, means they provide useful ideas for real people as opposed to the 'inspirational' features in the middle of the magazine (the well) which tend to show girls dressed as fairies pulling logs with reindeers. 'Alex,' Pippa tells me, 'has a big focus on real women.'

    The shoot itself was unexpectedly real and domestic, with a toddler playing on the floor (he was the son of one of the stylists, Bay Garnett) and a pale silent girl reading Hemingway's Fiesta in Russian - she turned out to be the model. There was also a big burly man who just sat on the sofa doing nothing, so eventually I asked what his role was. 'I'm with the jewels.' What? He showed me a Chanel box containing a star that looked to my untutored eye like a Christmas-tree decoration but turned out to be a platinum-and-diamond brooch costing £171,750 - he was its bodyguard. He said he often went to shoots carrying literally millions of pounds worth of jewellery. 'They must trust you a lot,' I told him, but privately I was thinking, 'There'd be no point in stealing a brooch like that because no one would ever believe it was genuine.'

    Kate Phelan, the fashion director, was doing one of the ways with a swirly skirt - 'a kind of Minnie Mouse look inspired by Miu Miu' (me neither) - but told me she was off to the States next week to shoot the Kate Moss cover and then on to the California desert to shoot another feature near Palm Springs. She said the Palm Springs shoot should be relatively easy because it never rains and they have a local producer to show them locations but it would still be a rush. Nowadays, she says, fashion trips are terribly short because top photographers and models are in such demand. When she started 20 years ago, you could potter round with a couple of models and a photographer for a week or even a fortnight, but nowadays it's usually one day to fix locations and two days to shoot, and if it rains you're in deep trouble.

    She suggests I come to the 'rail meeting' when she shows Alex all the clothes she has assembled for New York. The rail is in a dark corner of the office and looks like something from an Oxfam shop - what is more exciting is the sea of shoes spreading out from the rail and all round the office - weird and wonderful shoes with heels carved like ships' figureheads or skyscrapers. Alex confides later that she hates these tortured heels but they are the new look. On the whole, she says, she leaves the choice of clothes to her fashion editors but she does demand to see 'the rail' before every shoot, and she is upset this time because the Chloé outfits she thinks might make the cover are already in New York. 'I hate using clothes I haven't seen,' she frets.

    The theme of this particular 'story' is clothes inspired by paintings - a theme Alex spotted in the September shows in Paris, Milan, New York and wanted to focus on, 'mainly because it's very beautiful'. She shows me a Gucci dress that she says is 'almost like a Jackson Pollock' and a Prada skirt and top printed with 'something like Edward Dulac or Rackham in this techy fabric'. Tacky fabric? I ask, bewildered. 'No, techy - it's a new sort of organza.' The problem with the painterly theme is that Chanel and Dior don't have any clothes that fit the bill and both are big advertisers. Kate Phelan has brought a leopardskin print dress from Dior but Alex says flatly, 'No leopardskin'. So they both go through the Dior look book (catalogue) in search of other clothes that could be called painterly and decide that a spotted dress will do.

    What shocks me is that many of the clothes on the rail are quite grubby - some of them are even torn. Apparently these designer samples go from magazine to magazine, location to location, getting staler all the time. I can't see why fashion houses don't run up some more samples but apparently they don't, so one of the many problems of organising a shoot is that you have to book the clothes, as well as the photographer and models, and return them on the due date on pain of death.

    (Continued...)
     
    #1 Cicciolina, Mar 7, 2008
    Last edited by moderator hellothere: Mar 17, 2008
  2. Cicciolina

    Cicciolina New Member

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    The clothes are all size 10 but Kate Moss 'can fit anything'. Apparently she even has 'miracle feet' that can wear any shoe size. But Alex is a bit worried about her hair. 'Does she still have the fringe? I don't mind the fringe but I don't want her hair scraped back.' She also tells Phelan not to let Kate look 'too boudoir. Keep that coolness about her, not too overtly sexy.' (A couple of weeks later, I see the photos of Kate Moss in the art room and exclaim rudely, 'God, she looks awful.' She has a sort of Mia Farrow or pottery-teacher hairdo and looks dead-eyed and desiccated. The art room goes into shock until Robin Derrick the creative director murmurs, 'Of course we haven't done any retouching yet'.)

    I ask Alex if Kate Moss is always a safe bet for a cover? 'Nobody's a safe bet, but a famous model helps.' One of her problems, she says, is that there are so few superstar models now. In the good old days you could take your pick of Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Helena Christensen and a dozen others but now - although there are plenty of good models who are well-respected in the fashion industry - their names mean nothing to the public. They work so hard, they don't seem to have any life outside modelling.

    The other problem, Alex explains, is that top models and photographers earn so much more from advertising that they only do the editorial shoots they want to do - they are not the obedient puppets they used to be. For the March issue, for instance, she wanted to do a 'hippie nomad' story that could easily have been shot in Morocco, but Mario Testino wanted to go to Peru (because he is Peruvian) so Peru it was. Testino told me later that he always does his best work in Peru - and indeed the pictures are stunning. Lucinda Chambers, the fashion editor on the shoot, said going to Peru with Testino was 'like the return of the Sun King' - they worship him there.

    Going to Peru cost a packet - but then Vogue can afford a packet. Alex said I would have to ask Stephen Quinn (of Kimberly fame) about the money side because he is the publishing director. He said of course he couldn't give exact figures because Condé Nast is a private company, owned by the Newhouse family, but 'profitability has never been higher. British Vogue is the most profitable magazine in the company, outside the US, by far.' It ran 2,020 pages of advertising last year (60 per cent of the magazine is advertising) and advertising rates can be as high as £22,000 a page, though the average is more like £16,000. Which, if my calculator is correct, means they made over £32 million from advertising last year. The cover price of £3.80 probably pays for the production costs. Anyway, it's a rich magazine that doesn't have to worry about where the next airfare is coming from (and they usually manage to do deals on air fares anyway) though one staffer did confide that there was a bit of a fuss when they managed to incur a £14,000 excess-baggage charge on a trip to Papua New Guinea.

    But this high dependence on advertising makes for what seems to me a shocking cosiness between editorial and advertising. Newspapers are always careful to keep a firewall between the two, but Vogue has an 'executive fashion editor' whose job is to check that advertisers get sufficient editorial mentions to keep them happy, and Alex has to apologise if they get left out - 'I seem to spend my whole life apologising!' she laughs. 'But Vogue makes most of its money out of advertising - and it does make an awful lot of money - so we've got to have a good relationship with our advertisers. They're not going to place £100,000 a year and then say, "Feel free not to use any of our goods" - life's not like that. So although there is this feeling sometimes that creatively it's not pure, well - magazines are a business, you're not sitting there writing poetry.'

    She added that that was why she wanted me to come to Vogue - to see the constant juggling act her job entailed. 'I hope you will have seen by now that it's quite complex what we do here, quite dense. I think people tend to think, "Oh well Vogue's got lots of money so they just say, 'Go off and shoot some pretty clothes and give us the pics'", but it's not quite like that.' No, I can see that, and I can also see why Condé Nast felt they needed a strong editor, rather than a fashion expert, at the helm.

    But I do still wonder whether Alex finds it fulfilling? 'Oh it's certainly fulfilling, there's no question about that. Sometimes I walk down the road and I think, how lucky can you be?' But other days she thinks maybe she should be at home with her son, maybe she should be writing a book. She is still not quite of the fashion world and admits that, even after 16 years, she has few or no designer friends. 'They're not soulmates. But then we're not there to be friends,' she says bracingly. 'I suppose in a way I compartmentalise my life. I do the job and I edit Vogue and I feel I'm very professional, but I'm not that emotional about it. The rest of my life I'm extremely emotional about, but I don't bring that into the office. And I suppose some people find that quite difficult, they don't understand how I can do that, but it's the only way I could do this job, because I do have very much another life of friends and family and things I like doing and that's what I define myself by - I don't define myself as editor of Vogue. Which is lucky because a lot of my life I wasn't editor of Vogue and hopefully I will have another life after being editor of Vogue.'

    http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,332397365-118446,00.html
     
    #2 Cicciolina, Mar 7, 2008
    Last edited by moderator ANBS: Mar 7, 2008
  3. xixixixi

    xixixixi New Member

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    thank you so much !!! i was reading this article in chinese on a train this morning and wondering if i could find it at all in english version in tfs !
    and there you go !!!!
    thank you thank you thank you :smile:
     
  4. Meg

    Meg inspired contemplation

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    ugh I started reading this last week when it came out and I was just so bored I quit. I really disdain the Observer Women section which is terrible. This article makes Alexandra Schulman sound boring (in my eyes anyway). I think this would only be interesting if you didn't know anything about fashion.
     
  5. Cicciolina

    Cicciolina New Member

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    Meg I see what you mean by that, but I think the interviewer doesn't have a background in fashion which is why she makes some sweeping generalisations and probably doesn't understand the particular aesthetics compared to other people. Still I think there are some interesting parts in it which may interest some people :D
     
  6. MissMagAddict

    MissMagAddict The future is stupid

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    Yes I have to agree with you Meg & frankly I think the UK press interviews her too much. I posted it in her BTL when it first came out. Perhaps some of our UK Vogue fans will enjoy reading it here.

    Thanks Cicciolina:flower:
     
    #6 MissMagAddict, Mar 7, 2008
    Last edited by moderator Sarahh: Mar 7, 2008
  7. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    I'd quite like it if there was an ongoing thread in this forum where people could post links to articles about redesigns, circulation figures etc, so we could have a single place of reference about these disparate things here.

    I see such articles all the time, and they're never big enough to start a separate thread, yet not relevant enough to append to the end of a particular magazine's thread (tried that recently, got deleted). So you end up posting no link to the article at all.

    If it hadn't been for Cicciolina posting the above article here, I'd never have known it existed, as I don't visit that many threads outside of this one. Yet relevant it is, to the magazines we discuss right here, and the type of comments we make about editors' choices and viewpoints.
     
  8. MissMagAddict

    MissMagAddict The future is stupid

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    ^Thank you tigerrouge...I'll bring your idea to the other mag mods for discussion.

    :flower:
     
  9. Meg

    Meg inspired contemplation

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    yeah Cicc you are probably right. I mean if you said to someone on this forum minnie mouse look with miu miu I think most people would understand it, and it actually even makes me think of a shot from the Paris (or is it London?) street style thread. I just hate hate hate when people talk about fashion and make it sound so crazy. The whole putting "(me neither)" in brackets for example. It's basically saying 'oh these fashion people, they are so crazy, no one gets what they are talking about! what will they come up with next?!' instead of taking a real approach to who works behind the scenes, what they do. The only interesting thing in the whole thing was acknowledging that their use of certain clothes in editorials is directly linked to who advertises.
     
  10. cosmocat

    cosmocat Active Member

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    ^Yes, I think that last point was quite revealing, the way they were trying so hard to find something from Chanel and Dior which would fit the theme.
     
  11. Miss Dalloway

    Miss Dalloway Well-Known Member

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    I think its so interesting that Alexandra Shulman admitts she is not to caught up in the fashion world or even fashinable, yet she is very good at her job because she is an intelligent woman (and a very talented writer, imo).
    I enjoyed this article, thanks for posting.

    ps:I think Tigerrouge's suggestion is wonderful and i would welcome a thread like that. :flower:
     
  12. kimair

    kimair frozen

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    from wwd...

     
  13. kimair

    kimair frozen

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    on the Interview magazine from wwd...

     
  14. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    The Trouble With Exporting Glamour
    Hans Kundnani, The Guardian
    Monday February 18 2008
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/feb/18/pressandpublishing2

    Condé Nast's German version of Vanity Fair cost €50m to launch. But, one year on, is it a must-read glossy for the wealthy or a very expensive flop?

    It was supposed to be "a new magazine for a new Germany" that would "frame and define the aesthetic of the Berlin Republic". Edited in a minimalist all-white office, a stone's throw from the Brandenburg Gate, and aimed at "Germany's new high-powered elite", it would be "exclusive and current, modern and elegant, humorous and pragmatic, clever and sexy".

    But a year after it came on the market, the German edition of Vanity Fair is widely considered an expensive flop that has plunged the German arm of Condé Nast into crisis. It was meant to replicate the US edition's recipe of "glossy on the outside, gritty on the inside" - but critics say it has succeeded in neither respect. Earlier this month the magazine also lost its editor when Ulf Poschardt, who formerly edited Süddeutsche Zeitung's weekly magazine supplement - in some ways the prototype for the intelligent lifestyle magazine German Vanity Fair aspired to be - resigned.

    Such troubles illustrate the difficulties of franchising a brand across different media markets and cultures, even when the brand is as strong as Vanity Fair. Launched last February at a cost of €50m - which made it Condé Nast's biggest ever investment outside the US, and the most expensive and hyped new magazine in Germany in years - it was meant to be a prototype for other editions that would be rolled out across Europe (a Spanish edition will be launched in September). Instead the German edition is in danger of devaluing the original brand.

    Younger staff

    The man behind the magazine is Bernd Runge, the ambitious head of Condé Nast Germany, a controversial figure who was a Stasi informant when he was a student in Leipzig in the 1980s. The original plan was to launch the German edition as a monthly - but in the summer of 2006 Runge decided to make it a weekly like the Italian edition, which was launched in 2003 and had an established circulation of 250,000. The decision still baffles many in the German media industry and even within the magazine.

    Why decide on a weekly magazine? The market is certainly more lucrative - but it is also more competitive than the monthly market. It is also far more crowded than the Italian weekly market, with heavyweight news magazines like Der Spiegel and Stern, which have circulations of more than a million, and established celebrity magazines such as Bunte (circulation: 710,000) and Gala (370,000).

    Vanity Fair has, in effect, attempted to compete with them all - with a much smaller, younger staff. Condé Nast publicly stated that its initial circulation goal was 120,000 - which it reached in the last quarter. "Hard" sales (in other words subscriptions and newsstand sales) for the fourth quarter of 2007 met that target.

    "It's exceeded expectations," says Tim Draut of Omnicom Media Group, a leading German media agency. But newsstand sales fell from 106,000 in the third quarter of 2007 to 90,000 in the fourth quarter, although Draut says that is "no big drama" for a new magazine. Of course, critics say those figures have come at a high price and media insiders believe Runge's real target was much higher. "He wanted a sensational success story," one says.

    Kai-Hinrich Renner, a media critic for Die Welt, says: "It's highly improbable that someone like Bernd Runge would really be satisfied with a circulation of 120,000. "They bought the circulation very expensively by cutting the cover price. Even the normal cover price is very low. If you have to go below even that, it's a huge problem." Götz Hamann, media critic for Die Zeit, says: "They will need a long time to make money from it. It's not a sign of self-confidence that they started a price war by cutting the price to €1."

    "They tried to cut prices to sell more copies, but it didn't work," says Michael Jürgs, a former editor-in-chief of Stern. "In the long-term it won't help. Nobody needs Vanity Fair in Germany. It's already dead." Competitors were initially rattled by Condé Nast's entry into the weekly market and feared that, given the magazine group's resources and content from its US magazines like the New Yorker, Vanity Fair might steal some of their advertising revenue.

    Gruner + Jahr, which owns Park Avenue, a monthly magazine which is visually remarkably derivative of the US Vanity Fair, was planning a new weekly rival in case Vanity Fair succeeded. But executives at the Hamburg-based company soon breathed a sigh of relief, when the first disappointing circulation figures for the newcomer emerged.

    The first cover featured Til Schweiger, a German Brad Pitt, who seemed to embody the new magazine's aspiration to make Germany glamorous. After that it experimented with different covers - the German chancellor Angela Merkel one week; Knut, the baby polar bear from the Berlin zoo, the next - as it struggled to find its niche.

    But without the month-long run-in time of its American counterpart or the much greater resources of its German weekly rivals such as Spiegel, Vanity Fair has struggled to produce original, agenda-setting political reporting - and its occasional attempts to provoke controversy have seemed opportunistic. Last November, it ran a Q&A between Michel Friedman, a Jewish television presenter, and Horst Mahler, a neo-Nazi, which began with Mahler saying "Heil Hitler, Herr Friedman".

    At the same time, Vanity Fair found it hard to replicate the glamour that has been the key to the success of the Italian edition, partly because the rich in Germany are more private and less brash than in either the US or Italy.

    Political reportage

    Six months after launch, pressure to increase circulation led the glossy to frequently halve its original cover price of €2 - already much lower than its competitors - and give away free CDs. That in turn pushed the magazine further downmarket. With market research confirming that its political articles were lost on its readers, it added more human interest content and cut the length of stories.

    Since then, circulation has gone up. Despite being criticised for being lightweight, it remains very different from the Italian edition, which is much more fashion and celebrity-focused - more like Grazia than the American edition of Vanity Fair. The German edition could yet move further in that direction, although Condé Nast insists it is not abandoning serious political reportage. Meanwhile staff remain confused about the magazine's identity. "We have the feeling no one is talking to us," one reporter says.

    In any case, the celebrity market in Germany is becoming even tougher. OK! launched in Germany last week and Hamburg-based Bauer, which publishes InTouch in Germany and is in the process of buying Emap's consumer magazines for £1.14m, is expected to launch another weekly celebrity magazine in the German market in the near future.

    Whatever changes the new editor makes, the German edition of Vanity Fair is likely to be far removed from Poschardt's original, somewhat hubristic vision of a "new magazine for a new Germany", which in the end turned out to be an anachronism. "It would have been cool in 1998," says Steffen Grimberg, the media editor of the Berlin-based Tageszeitung. "But not in 2008."
     
  15. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    Lords of the bling
    Stephen Armstrong, The Guardian
    Monday March 10 2008
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/10/pressandpublishing.advertising

    It hardly seems the best time to launch luxe magazines that rely on high-end advertising. So why are there so many of them? And can they really be recession-proof?

    At last month's Paris fashion week the must-attend party was at the Mini Palais restaurant, the Sunday before the first show. The guests gliding across the modernist dancefloor, sipping chic cocktails, were a who's who of hip - including Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf and good old Jarvis Cocker.

    So who was it that could summon these grandees of haute couture? Anna Wintour, editor of US Vogue? Bernard Arnault, president of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy? No, you Prada-wearing devil - it was the International Herald Tribune.

    Or rather, it was the IHT's new weekly magazine, known as T. Launched at the end of last year, T is an internationalised version of the style mag that comes with the New York Times - IHT's parent paper. For those who have flicked through the Tribune, it might seem odd that such a paper would even contemplate a style mag, let alone launch one that demands the attention of Karl Lagerfeld.

    This, remember, is the paper associated with cramming six or seven densely worded stories on to its front page, and using headlines such as "EU warns members of barring investment". And yet the IHT is far from alone.

    Glossy lifestyle

    Last month the Wall Street Journal appointed Tina Gaudoin, editor of the Times quarterly style magazine Luxx - who has a CV that includes Tatler, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue - to develop and launch WSJ. A glossy lifestyle title, covering fashion, design, cars and property, it is due to launch this September.

    Last year also saw the Economist launch Intelligent Life - covering travel, style, food and gadgets. It even included the first fashion shoot in the title's 164-year history. And as far as business magazines go, the Economist was trailing its rival Time by a couple of years. The news weekly created Time Style & Design, which has five issues a year in Europe, back in 2003.

    Although Gaudoin has yet to announce details of WSJ, flicking through T, Time Style & Design and Intelligent Life gives an approximation of what she must be aiming for. T is the closest to a newsstand equivalent - featuring a celebrity on the front page (Charlize Theron for spring 200:cool:. Celebrity chat is by far the largest feature, with other copy coming as opinion columns from IHT fashion editor Suzy Menkes and design editor Alice Rawsthorn.

    Time Style & Design and Intelligent Life, on the other hand, underpin their drooling lifestyle shots with strands of harder analysis. Life's Philip Pullman interview opens with the number of books he has sold so far, while Time's fashion feature looks at how young, wealthy Muslim kids in the Middle East are buying western designer labels.

    So what's going on? Are boardrooms suddenly filled with slick-suited executives bitching that the vice-president's Hugo Boss suit is, like, so five minutes ago? Well, yes and no. Essentially publishers have realised that the kind of "high net worth individuals" who run corporations are as bling as Beyonce - and there's plenty of advertising revenue out there chasing their cash.

    According to Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer of the Wall Street Journal, luxury brands had been coming to the title for some time, noting how a page ad in the paper for a watch costing thousands of dollars shifted product almost overnight. What they really wanted, however, was somewhere they could really show off. "Our clients wanted to see their ads in full colour on a glossy page," he explains.

    It's the same story at the Tribune. "The luxury style, design and fashion sector is probably our most important in terms of readers and revenue," explains Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, the IHT's publisher.

    The advertisers appear to be responding. Prada, Chanel, Ferragamo and Armani are clustered between the shiny covers of Time and T. The beauty of this revenue stream for struggling newspaper groups threatened by the internet's increasing dominance of news provision is that the web isn't even close to competing in the luxury sector.

    "The media habits of the really wealthy are all about editing choice," explains Margaret Johnson, group CEO of Legas Delaney, who has been researching the market for clients such as watchmakers Patek Philippe. "They don't read the likes of Vogue as aspirational titles. They are very rich and very busy, and they want someone to help choose their shopping list. As a result, they're likely to take recommendations from journalists that they trust. So far the internet has yet to deliver what they want from a good glossy. "

    Given the collapse of the sub-prime market and the impending recession, however, can the market support all these launches?

    "At the start of the year we were expecting that we'd have to tighten our belts a little," says Tony Chambers, editor-in-chief of Wallpaper. "In our recent awards issue we featured Loro Piana cashmere carpet, which sells for €1,180 per square metre. You'd expect that sort of luxury to look vulnerable in tougher economic times. In fact, it's gone the other way. We're getting to the point where we're having to spread advertisers out across different issues."

    Loyal relationships

    Certainly that's what the news groups are hoping for. "If you talk to the Financial Times about the last recession, you'll find that financial advertising fell away, but fashion and lifestyle ads in How To Spend It stayed solid throughout," explains Dunbar-Johnson. "It appears that this is a recession-proof sector."

    However, Gillian de Bono, How to Spend It editor, raises some concerns. She was expecting rival launches three years ago, when the market was booming: "Our revenue held up during the last recession, but we were the only people in the market," she explains. "We have some evidence that some luxury advertisers are going to cut back. Let's just say I'm glad we've got our loyal relationships. I wouldn't like to be launching right now."

    But others see a brighter future for the new launches. "The idea [is] that the Asian economy is growing independently and can survive a US recession," says Margaret Johnson. "Certainly you're seeing many more of these super-rich coming from eastern Europe, China, India and the Middle East than ever before.

    "We're talking about a growing global class that operate at a different level to the rest of us. In fact, what's most surprising is that it has taken this long for them to get their own media."
     
  16. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    Dragons' Den hero aims to breathe new fire into his dream

    James Robinson, The Observer
    Sunday March 16 2008
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/16/pressandpublishing

    Wanted: imaginative investor with spare cash to spend on glamorous magazine group with good prospects. Industry expertise preferable, but not essential. He won't say as much, but Huw Gwyther, the young publishing entrepreneur plucked from obscurity when he appeared on the first series of the BBC's Dragons' Den, is searching for a fresh influx of money to fund Wonderland, the aspirational title he founded four years ago. Such an advertisement will not be appearing in his magazine any time soon, but industry sources believe he is unlikely to turn away suitors should they beat a path to his door.

    Gwyther is plotting an international expansion drive from his offices in London's fashionable Notting Hill, but establishing a presence in overseas markets is expensive and he concedes that more established rivals could provide him with invaluable resources and industry clout. After toiling for years to establish his company, an outright sale is not an option, but offloading a stake could prove too tempting to resist, particularly if a prospective buyer brings experience as well as money to the table.

    Gwyther, 32 this year, was expecting a hostile reception when he asked the panel of hard-nosed entrepreneurs on the business show to invest in a glossy magazine, but he emerged from the dragons' lair armed with £175,000 from one of the judges – mobile-phone entrepreneur Peter Jones.

    Jones took 40 per cent of the business, and Gwyther retained a controlling stake, building a burgeoning publishing empire that has won credibility in the fickle fashion world, which, in effect, bankrolls many lifestyle titles.

    It is a fiercely competitive market, with established players including the upmarket Tatler and underground title Another magazine competing for a share of a limited audience. Several new publications, including Monocle, the eclectic periodical created by Wallpaper* founder Tyler Brule, are also vying with uber-trendy upstarts such as Pop for readers and advertisers.

    Gwyther has spent the past several years flying around the world, glad-handing clients in glamorous locations. 'It's been harder work than I expected,' he says, 'but these people become your friends as well as your contacts. It's fun.'

    The hard work has paid off; his holding company, Visual Talent, has survived and prospered. Wonderland, published every other month, sells around 80,000 copies, half of them overseas, and a six monthly title, Man About Town, launched last year, about 25,000. Something of a man about town himself with his tailored jacket and designer stubble, Gwyther wants to take Wonderland monthly and launch editions in emerging markets.

    Moscow, which has the highest number of billionaires per capita of any city, is high on his list, and he flew to Hong Kong to search for similar opportunities in the Far East last week. He would also like to publish Man About Town, a coffee-table magazine full of culture and arts coverage, more often.

    The company has outgrown its west London offices and new premises are being sought further east, where the City's creative community has migrated in recent years. But Gwyther will need more resources to make those dreams a reality. Although both titles are filled with an impressive array of advertising from most of the major global luxury-good giants, including LVMH, Gucci and Prada, the last accounts filed by Visual Talent show that it had less than £70,000 in the bank.

    Gwyther claims the group is profitable; every penny made is being ploughed back into the editorial offering, which he argues has improved month on month. But after persuading Jones – who confessed he had rarely read an upmarket lifestyle magazine, let alone invested in one – to part with his money, a further injection of cash is required.

    Jones's cash helped pay for offices and a small staff of a dozen or so. But a partnership with an established publisher with the buying power to negotiate better deals with suppliers, or ensure Gwyther's titles are placed prominently on magazine racks, could prove fruitful.

    Another large magazine group, such as Vogue publisher Conde Nast or National Magazines, which publishes Esquire, would fit the bill, though with a global economic downturn looming, some wonder if luxury titles will struggle to survive. Others insist they are recession-proof, arguing that high rollers continue to spend regardless of the economic weather. Gwyther will be hoping any prospective investors take the latter view.
     
  17. kimair

    kimair frozen

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    National Magazine Awards 2008 Finalists

    The New Yorker and New York, stalwarts of recent years, continued to lead with 12 and nine nominations, respectively. Vanity Fair was strong with six nominations, followed by GQ and National Geographic with five each. Esquire, which was nominated seven times last year and won once, did not have as much luck this year, with one nomination, for magazine section.

    In core fashion titles, W received two nominations – one for General Excellence and one for photography – while Elle was nominated for essays and Glamour for general excellence in the over two million circulation category.

    First-time nominees included Domino, Good and The New York Times Magazine which, in all its permutations, received a total of six nominations. The Times magazine was eligible this year, as ASME moved to include newspaper supplements for the first time, and had a strong showing both for its main weekly and for its T style and Play spin-offs.

    wwd
     
  18. Omnis

    Omnis Active Member

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    Major fashion magazines's sales

    I was just wondering how the major fashion magazines compare when it comes to sales.

    Vogue Paris say the sell about 130 000 copies of their magazine.

    What about Vogue Italia, Vogue UK, Vogue Germany, Vogue US, Numéro, i-D, V, W, etc? :flower:



    Edit; Somehow I managed to write an extra s in the topic, but I'm not able to edit it. :(
     
    #18 Omnis, Mar 21, 2008
    Last edited by moderator : Mar 21, 2008
  19. Papyrus

    Papyrus New Member

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    Good thread, but I think this should go in the Business of Magazines thread?
     
  20. tigerrouge

    tigerrouge don't look down

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    I remember a few years back, posting all the Vogue circulation info for a thread at fashist, and many people were surprised at how few copies are sold of Vogue Italia and Vogue Paris, people forget they're almost like loss-leaders, they're Conde Nast's reputation-makers, while other magazines in the stable get on with the hard work of raising some revenue to pay for these vanity publications.

    That said, I can't see Vogue Italia failing to make money on carrying so many ads in their heftier issues, which brings me to trying to remember where I read an article that claimed that in carrying such huge amounts of advertising, magazines do start paying for themselves - for their own production - and a future business model could see magazines be offered free to readers, who agree to be exposed to all that advertising.
     

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