THEY DIDN’T EVEN WATCH THE OSCARS ON THE WEB: If media watchers were sobered by the fact that this year’s Academy Awards telecast drew the lowest television ratings on record, the news gets even worse: The Web didn’t fare a whole lot better.
Celebrity-focused Web sites reported an increase in traffic, but those who reported news from the event (Gary Busey’s rabid attack on Jennifer Garner) fared better than sites that simply uploaded red-carpet photos. On Sunday, people.com’s unique visitors increased 56 percent to 1.5 million, while page views grew 49 percent to 20.3 million. Monday’s traffic also beat last year’s — uniques jumped 23 percent to 2.5 million, and page views increased 10 percent to 57 million. Us Weekly nearly doubled the number of page views on Oscar Sunday, to 1.3 million, while Monday’s page views grew 64 percent to 3.9 million. Ew.com, which gets more traffic in the week before the show because the site forecasts Oscar picks and reports industry chatter prior to the big event, saw a 150 percent gain in page views that week, to 22.4 million. Sunday’s page views more than doubled to 2.5 million, and Monday’s page views increased 19 percent.
But fewer people seemed interested in the red-carpet fashion the day after. In Style, which focuses on Oscar fashions, saw Sunday’s unique visitors and page views increase 40 percent and 68 percent, respectively, over last year. But Monday’s numbers declined. Unique visitors fell 27 percent to 174,268, while page views decreased 37 percent to 2.9 million. Style.com also reported declining unique visitors on Sunday and Monday. The site reported 89,000 uniques (down 7 percent) on Sunday and 128,000 uniques (down 7 percent) on Monday. Page views increased slightly on Monday, to 8.6 million.
Finally, Vanity Fair, who signaled to Hollywood it was not in a celebratory mood when it canceled its annual Oscar bash at Craft weeks before the ceremony, reported a 25 percent decline in traffic from last year across Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. A spokeswoman attributed the drop to the fact that the magazine had no party coverage on its site. So that was the reason for the party. — Stephanie D. Smith
THEY’RE ON THEIR WAY: On Thursday, Ingrid Sischy, Sandra Brant — and their traveling cat, Cassidy, flew to Paris to fit in a few shows before fashion week ends. “We’re on the road right now,” Sischy told WWD, declining to talk about which shows she will attend. “We’ll see friends and art,” said Sischy. As for the shows ahead, Chanel is this morning, and this weekend includes Alexander McQueen, Chloé, John Galliano, Nina Ricci, Lanvin and Louis Vuitton. — Amy Wicks
POLITICALLY CORRECT: Reading about Sen. Barack Obama’s undergarment preferences seems to be of more interest to Us Weekly’s readers than Britney Spears’ custody battles. The magazine posted a excerpt on its Web site from its three-page feature on the presidential candidate late Wednesday night, slugged “Barack Obama Refuses Boxers or Briefs Question.” The story generated the second-highest traffic ever for a single article on the site, second only to the news on Heath Ledger’s death. In just 12 hours, the Obama story got 434,002 unique visitors and more than 3.6 million page views. The magazine’s political coverage has expanded as the race between the Democratic candidates draws tighter: Three weeks ago, Us Weekly convinced Sen. Hillary Clinton to comment on her best and worst fashion moments in a Hillary-themed “Fashion Police” spread. So, John McCain, get ready — Us Weekly might be calling you next to critique your best and worst D.C. style. — S.D.S
TIME INC. IS ADDING SOME JOBS: There is at least one title hiring at the financially challenged Time Inc.: In Style. The title has added Suzanne Karotkin to its masthead as senior design editor. Most recently she was senior market editor at Harper’s Bazaar and previously held editorial positions at Vogue, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, W and WWD. She will be charged with developing stories in the Life & Home section. Also, Honor Brodie was promoted to assistant managing editor from features editor. Honor will oversee the Life & Home section and also will oversee the magazine’s coverage of celebrity homes, design, food, entertaining, travel and shopping. — S.D.S.
TRAVELING ON: Travel + Leisure has hired Pamela Norwood away from GQ to join as vice president-associate publisher, marketing, at the travel magazine. Norwood had worked as executive director, creative services, at GQ since 2004, and spent the prior three years in the same role for Condé Nast Corporate and Condé Nast Bridal Group. Norwood worked at T+L’s parent company, American Express Publishing, from 1996 to 2000 as creative services director of Food & Wine and corporate creative services director for the company. Meanwhile, at Condé Nast Traveler, Daryl Bowman was promoted to advertising director, international. Bowman, who was previously sales development director, will oversee the magazine’s European, fashion, retail and jewelry business. — S.D.S.
DESIGN ON A DIME: Aside from how-tos on painting and gardening, This Old House is known for its guidance on expensive room additions. But the current housing crunch appears to be having homeowners reconsider remodeling their kitchens or decks until the market improves — just look at the dismal financial results from Lowe’s and The Home Depot. This Old House’s remedy is to add a new section, called Elements of a Style, which helps readers create a certain aesthetic for far less than redecorating their homes entirely. “It’s after you’ve done the big remodel, but it’s the stuff you do before you’re really done done — before you take your shoes off,” said editor Scott Omelianuk. The section features interiors and some product picks from Target and J.C. Penney (a $195 Jonathan Adler classical bust is easier to swallow than a $2,000 refrigerator for your kitchen). But, unlike other shelter magazines that have hefty style content (such as Domino and Elle Decor), This Old House has no plans to include content on entertaining or signature cocktails in its pages. “We’re going to stop short of putting in recipes or how to throw a party. We’re not going to do a report on the Milan Furniture Fair.” April’s section will focus, coincidentally, on Depression modern decor — a streamlined style developed during the Great Depression — and product picks from Wal-Mart and Restoration Hardware. — S.D.S.
GIANT MOVES: Emil Wilbekin is back in magazines. The former editor in chief of Vibe will join Vibe’s budding urban lifestyle rival, Giant. Wilbekin was the editor of Vibe from 1999 to 2004 and, while there, helped the title win a National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2002. Since leaving that title, Wilbekin has worked as vice president of brand development at Marc Ecko Enterprises and has consulted for Sean John, AXE and Microsoft. Wilbekin succeeds Smokey Fontaine, who will become chief content officer and direct digital strategy for Radio One, Giant’s parent company. Fontaine relaunched the magazine from an entertainment magazine to an urban lifestyle bimonthly title in 2006. — S.D.S.