WHAT’S THE FREQUENCY, DENNIS?: It’s looking increasingly likely that Time Inc. or Hearst Magazines, or both, will launch weekly men’s magazines in the not-too-distant future. Two former Maxim editors are heading up the projects: Mark Golin at Time Inc. and Keith Blanchard at Hearst. So where does that leave the company that actually owns Maxim, Dennis Publishing? Surely it won’t be content to sit on its hands while other publishers plunder the market that it essentially created.
Apparently not. According to several sources, Dennis is looking into shifting the frequency of one of its two men’s titles to biweekly from monthly. Insiders consider Stuff a likelier candidate for the frequency increase than Maxim, which is far too lucrative to mess with. A biweekly makeover also would provide an opportunity to let some air out of Stuff’s rate base. Its current level of 1.3 million demands large infusions of agent-sold subscriptions, making it expensive to maintain.
But any move to a new frequency faces hurdles. While men’s weeklies Nuts and Zoo have been hugely successful since they made their debuts in the U.K. last year, the publishing economics are very different in America, where magazine retail purchases are mainly driven by women. The male-oriented titles that have succeeded here at higher frequencies — the weekly Sports Illustrated and biweekly Rolling Stone and ESPN The Magazine — are mainly reliant on subscriptions, and even the monthly lad magazines are gradually trading newsstand buyers for subscribers.
Asked about the speculation, a Dennis spokesman said, “We do not tinker with successful magazines and both Maxim and Stuff are very successful. We also do not believe that a weekly men’s magazine in the States is a viable business.” Sure — but tell that to Hearst and Time Inc.
— Jeff Bercovici
NO LONGER TEEN QUEEN: Teen People’s six-year reign as the newsstand champ in its category is over. Through May, the Time Inc.-owned title is averaging single-copy sales of about 370,000, according to its own estimates. That’s down from 416,000 in the first half of last year, according to its official circulation report. Meanwhile, Cosmogirl has been selling more than 400,000 copies per issue (up from 380,000 last year), making it the new category leader. The Cosmopolitan spin-off outsold Teen People in February, April and May. Observers speculate that Teen People’s celebrity focus has made it vulnerable to stepped-up competition from celebrity weeklies, especially In Touch, with its teen-friendly $1.99 cover price. Teen People also has been without a publisher since March, when Jack Rotherham left to start a new regional magazine for Californians.
This story first appeared in the June 3, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Elsewhere in the category, publishers’ estimates show that Seventeen is selling upward of 310,000 an issue, slightly ahead of last year’s average; Teen Vogue is averaging just more than 200,000, down from 240,000 in first-half 2004, and Elle Girl is beating last year’s pace by 7 percent, selling about 150,000 copies an issue. All the publishers confirmed the estimates except for Teen Vogue, which declined to comment.
MIU MOVES: Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin just shot Miu Miu’s fall ad campaign at Drive In Studios in New York. The ads will feature Selma Blair, Evan Rachel Wood, Lou Doillon, Eleanor Friedberger and Lukas Haas. Haas, who played an Amish boy in the 1985 movie “Witness” with Harrison Ford, also just did a fashion shoot for L’Uomo Vogue while in Cannes promoting “Last Days” by Gus Van Sant and the indie film “Brick.”
— Sara James