JUMPING SHIP: Vogue’s loss is Town & Country’s gain: William Norwich, who has served as a contributing editor and columnist for Vogue since 2004, is new T&C editor in chief Stephen Drucker’s first big hire. At T&C, Norwich will be a special correspondent covering social and cultural trends and oversee the people and parties coverage. “He’s going to have a bigger role and be part of my inner circle,” Drucker told WWD. “He won’t just be a columnist or contributor. He’ll help me construct a new, more exciting Town & Country.”
Drucker said it’s too soon to say when readers will begin seeing changes to the magazine — although sources said Drucker could produce a magazine in the vein of Tatler, making Norwich’s appointment all the more vital. “You will start to see small changes, but it won’t be an overnight change,” he said. “But a year from now, it will be a very different magazine.”
This story first appeared in the May 6, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Norwich said he’s been an admirer and de facto historian for Town & Country ever since profiling the magazine’s longtime photographer Slim Aarons for The New York Times Magazine in 2001. “I told Anna [Wintour] and she’s very excited for me,” Norwich added.
“Billy has the long view of the social world,” said Drucker. “He knows how all the pieces at every level fit together. We’re going to report in the tradition of The New York Times’ legend Charlotte Curtis.”
— Amy Wicks
PARADIS FOUND: Models now may outnumber celebrities in fashion campaigns, including those photographed by uberbusy Karl Lagerfeld. But the designer couldn’t resist aiming his lens once again at Vanessa Paradis for Chanel’s Coco Cocoon handbags line. “She is the most divine person to work with and to be with. So why change?” mused Lagerfeld of Paradis, who has done two other bag campaigns with the designer and who also appears in ads for Rouge Coco lipstick. The latest black-and-white images were taken at Lagerfeld’s Rue de Lille studio, the session ending with a hug and peck on the cheek from the designer. The worldwide campaign is slated to break in a range of weekly titles and June monthlies, with bags hitting stores May 15.
— Miles Socha
ANY TAKERS?: Who wants to buy an ailing newsweekly that posted a 37 percent decline in ad revenue last year despite a major and much-ballyhooed overhaul that it claimed would reinvent the category as man knows it? The Washington Post Co. said Wednesday that it may put Newsweek on the block, and Allen & Co. has been retained to explore a potential sale. In interviews Wednesday, editor Jon Meacham said he would like to partner with a few wealthy individuals to buy the title — that is, if there are any wealthy individuals willing to roll the dice (all they have to do is look at how well Elevation Partners’ purchase of Forbes has gone). Year to date, Newsweek is down 14.8 percent in ad pages to 294, according to Media Industry Newsletter. The magazine cut its rate base to 1.5 million in January from 2.6 million, while ad revenue for The Washington Post’s magazine publishing division totaled $184.2 million last year, a 27 percent decline from 2008.
Sources said the title is likely to sell for less than $10 million, presumably plus the assumption of debt.
“It will be a tough sale with a lot of lookers, but not many bidders,” said Reed Phillips, managing partner at DeSilva+Phillips. He pointed to a few reasons: The losses are large and newsweeklies are out of favor because of the impact of the Internet. “Buyers will like the strong brand name, but be terrified of the large losses and the complexity of the business.” Phillips said potential buyers could include Open Gate Capital, owners of TV Guide, Politico, The Huffington Post and Thomson Reuters, which might see a need for a print platform — à la Bloomberg’s purchase of BusinessWeek. Other names mentioned in the wild speculation game were, indeed, Bloomberg and even Rupert Murdoch (but isn’t he always mentioned?)
AT THAT OTHER NEWSWEEKLY PUBLISHER…: For the first time in two years, Time Inc. posted an increase in advertising — up 5 percent for the first quarter — and, looking ahead, the division expects the trend to continue. The top seven ad categories all posted upticks in spending and, in the style and entertainment group (which includes People, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly), advertising was up in the double digits. Overall, the publishing segment reported revenues of $799 million and $50 million in operating income. Online ad revenues were up 2 percent, to make up 14 percent of Time Inc.’s total ad revenues. Time Inc. rarely mentions its namesake news division in reporting its results.
Parent Time Warner Inc. reported first-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Total revenues at the company rose 5 percent to $6.3 billion and net income jumped 10 percent to $725 million.