BULKING UP: Teen Vogue is the latest fledgling to get a boost from its bigger sisters at Condé Nast and its corporate sales office. While the magazine has racked up an eye-opening 307 ad pages in just four issues so far, it’s an open question as to how many of those arrived directly or were the fruits of the efforts of former Vogue publisher Richard Beckman and his sales team. The team has been pitching Teen Vogue to Condé Nast’s largest clients as an inexpensive vehicle toward potential six-figure discounts, according to several executives at rival publishers and Condé Nast clients who have heard pitches. Condé Nast wins by fattening up and building momentum for fledgling books — Lucky and Allure were earlier beneficiaries of the tactic — and the clients save more money. The losers are Teen Vogue’s competitors.

“I know people who have purchased ads in it who really haven’t spent any time studying the editorial direction of the magazine because that isn’t the reason people are in there,” said a publishing executive at one of Teen Vogue’s rivals. “[Teen Vogue] can be used as a very efficient solution to larger corporate budget challenges, and that’s an advantage no one else in the category has.”

This story first appeared in the August 29, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But a company spokeswoman denied that corporate sales staff pitch Teen Vogue to clients as part of the Advance Magazine Group corporate buy. “Like all Condé Nast magazines, Teen Vogue is eligible for corporate buys — no more and no less than the other books.”

It starts with a meeting to discuss a client’s “super buy,” the slang for the large orders worth millions of dollars placed across an assortment of Condé Nast magazines. Big spenders are handed discounts in return. Participants are urged to buy more pages each year with the promise of ever greater savings. But it’s an ever-escalating scale.

A client that’s buying 130 pages now, say, may need to buy 135 to shave another 1 or 2 percent off its order (which can amount to six-figure sums). An extra five pages in Vogue or Glamour might cost more than the discount’s worth, but buy them at the inexpensive page rate of Teen Vogue, and suddenly those pages are practically free.

“They’re using it [the ‘super buy’] as a tool to drive its pages,” said an executive at a Condé Nast client who saw the plan. “I think Lucky was a beneficiary of this, and I think Teen Vogue is, because it was Richard [Beckman’s] pet when he was at Vogue.”

“They definitely come in and bring this up and always remind you that [Teen Vogue is] very cheap and can get you to the level you need to be at,” said one media buyer who has advertised in the magazine. “I’m sure they use whatever tactics they can. Cargo will be the same way — very inexpensive and a way to pepper your super buy.”

The super buy process even works in reverse.

“If you have a budget cut, which a lot of us have experienced in the past couple years, you can lose your discount, and that can cost more than cutting back,” one advertiser said. “If you just move money around from Glamour to [Teen Vogue], you may keep your discount but spend a quarter million less.”

— Greg Lindsay

EVERYONE’S GOT A PRICE: Over $300,000 and equity in the company! The prospect of working with Bonnie Fuller! It’s enough to convince Jared Paul Stern. The New York Post gossip writer, who penned the Fashion Buzz column and subbed for Richard Johnson on Page Six when he was on vacation, is headed to the Star as the magloid’s executive editor.

“He described it as an offer he couldn’t refuse,” said one Post source, who heard Thursday morning. Of course, at $300,000 plus, you’d be hard pressed to find a newspaper that could match it.

— Jacob Bernstein

THE WAY TO PLAY THE PRESS: A journalist calls you on Monday, having heard that you’re up for a top-level editorship. You deny having been called (a savvy media type never talks on the record about having been approached for a job). Maybe you’re not even interested. But the same week, you go to lunch with the person who’d ultimately greenlight your hire, preferably at a popular media hangout where everyone will see you.

So Slate editor Jacob Weisberg may be denying he was contacted about becoming editor of The New York Times Magazine, but he did, according to a source, break bread with New York Times executive editor Bill Keller this week at Esca, the Times haunt on 43rd Street. — J.B.

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