In November, Time Inc. filed the initial public offering documents for its spin-off from parent company Time Warner Inc., which is expected to take place in the first half of next year. The filing wrapped up an eventful year for the publishing firm. Two months earlier, Time Inc. bought American Express Publishing and its five magazines, including Travel + Leisure, Food + Wine and Departures.
Joe Ripp took the reins as Time Inc.’s chief executive officer and a new reporting structure was installed, in which managing editors report to business executives. That ruffled a few feathers, stirring the departure of Martha Nelson, the company’s first female editor in chief in 90 years. In her wake, Norman Pearlstine returned to the company as chief content officer, a new role that tasks him with working with both the editorial and business teams, and reporting to Ripp.
BEZOS BUYS THE WASHINGTON POST
In August, Jeffrey Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, surprised media types when he agreed to buy The Washington Post Co. for $250 million. Acquired by Bezos’ private investment firm Nash Holdings, the purchase ended the Graham family’s 80-year control of the paper.
PETER W. KAPLAN
Fairchild Fashion Media’s editorial director Peter W. Kaplan died on Nov. 29 at age 59 after battling lymphoma for the past year. At Fairchild, Kaplan was instrumental in relaunching and redesigning WWD.com; was the driving force behind the relaunch of the former Fairchild men’s magazine M as a quarterly, and was an innovator of “reverse publishing,” print media derived from Web content, with the launch of Style.com’s twice-a-year print magazine.
Best known for his 15-year career at The New York Observer, where he served as editor in chief, Kaplan helped cultivate the voice of a generation of young journalists and craft a narrative about New York.
Anna Wintour, Vogue’s editor in chief, added the role of artistic director of Condé Nast. In the newly created job, Wintour oversees the direction of some of the company’s more pressured titles.
Since her appointment in March, she has consulted on the layout of Brides and Glamour, and has also been involved in key appointments at the top of several mastheads, including Teen Vogue alum Eva Chen as editor in chief of Lucky and Pilar Guzmán as editor in chief of Condé Nast Traveler.
FORBES FOR SALE
Forbes Media LLC is putting itself on the block. The publisher of Forbes magazine and forbes.com hired Deutsche Bank AG to examine the deal. Following years of dwindling sales, Forbes, a proponent of native advertising, is hoping to raise at least $400 million, but reports say $200 million is more realistic.
NEW YORK MAGAZINE CUTTING ISSUES
Beginning in March, the magazine will reduce its frequency to biweekly from weekly as ad revenues in the print version continue to slip and digital ad revenues to rise.
NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE DEPARTURE
Hugo Lindgren, editor of The New York Times Magazine, will depart at the end of the year. A successor for the Sunday magazine editor, who was appointed in 2010, has yet to be named.
NO MORE CONDÉ NAST INTERNS
Condé Nast will cease its internship program starting in 2014, following lawsuits filed by two former interns who claimed they were paid below the minimum wage during internships at W and The New Yorker. The decision follows a slew of similar lawsuits aimed against companies such as Hearst and Fox Searchlight.
DIGITAL VS. PRINT ADVERTISING
With the rise of digital publishing and iPad editions, companies and advertisers are increasingly focusing on the Web. The emergence of native advertising in recent years has enabled publishers to attract new streams of revenue even as it raises ethical questions about the separation between advertising and editorial.
According to Forbes Media chief revenue officer Mark Howard, native advertising is expected to account for 20 percent of his company’s ad revenue in 2013, up from 10 percent last year.
The Federal Trade Commission is eyeing the sector, holding an all-day hearing recently to discuss the pros and cons of native advertising.
Elsewhere, the increasing bundle of digital and print issues has driven both advertising and subscription revenue. According to data from the Magazine Publishers of America, Publishers Information Bureau-member consumer magazine titles show print “improving” and tablet ad units with “significant gains” in the third quarter. Print ad pages and tablet ad units on iPads were up 6.8 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in the period from January through September 2013 versus the prior-year period. Ad pages in print slid 1.8 percent, as tablet ad units grew 17.5 percent. Print ad revenue expanded 4 percent from the year-ago period.
According to the Alliance for Audited Media, for the 390 U.S. consumer magazines reporting comparable paid and verified numbers, total paid and verified circulation fell about 1 percent. Paid subscriptions were down 0.1 percent, and single-copy sales declined by about 10 percent.
Digital editions continue to be a small but growing piece of magazines’ total circulation mix, nearly doubling year-over-year. For the first half of 2013, magazines reported a total average of 10.2 million digital replica editions, or paid, verified and analyzed nonpaid, accounting for 3.3 percent of total circulation. This compares with 5.4 million digital editions, or 1.7 percent of total circulation, in the first half of 2012, AAM said.