LOS ANGELES--To magazine advertisers, how one reaches the Los Angeles market is much like choosing a route through the city itself: There are always the freeways, but there are lots of alternatives.
Los Angeles Magazine, the city's longstanding regional magazine, founded 34 years ago, is competing with newer publications such as Buzz, Detour, Movieline and Chatter for several categories, particularly fashion advertising. Each has a distinctive voice and a different way of covering the L.A. scene.
Discussing Los Angeles Magazine, Warren Morse, promotion director, said, "It's a survival guide to help people appreciate and get the most out of the city as they can. It speaks with an independent and sometimes irreverent voice."
With paid circulation at 155,265, Los Angeles Magazine has been the closest thing to a book of record. While it has in-depth stories covering the issues of the city, it is best known for its coverage and calendar of events, restaurants and openings, attracting advertisers such as Giorgio Armani, Guess and the Beverly Center.
But changes may be in the wind. Joan McCraw, a veteran of National Geographic, recently replaced long-time publisher Jeff Miller, who retired. Known as a tough, talented publisher, she arrived at the magazine with the additional title of president and is expected to make changes. For the first 10 months of the year, ad pages at Los Angeles Magazine totaled 844, up 9 percent from a year ago.
McCraw said she will work to contemporize the publication and keep it vital. Los Angeles will contain more substantial stories that get people talking about issues and the magazine. McCraw said she wants Los Angeles to become an "emotional guide," in addition to a "pocketbook survival guide" to the city.
Buzz in four years has gone from bi-monthly to monthly and is now considered by many as 'The Other' city magazine in town. Paid circulation is at 71,000, with the magazine planning to boost that through newsstand sales to 80,000 this January. Jocelyn McCormick, associate publisher, said the magazine's goal is to cover people who are making a difference in "the late Nineties and early 21st century.
While Los Angeles Magazine addresses where to go, what to do and how to do it, Buzz attempts to answer why in a city that increasingly asks that question. Compared to The New Yorker at first because of its emphasis on writing, Buzz expanded its scope in March 1993 when it acquired L.A. Style and incorporated part of that defunct publication into its own pages. The L.A. Style section covers the city's style from architecture to fashion and includes fashion shoots and interviews with style makers.
Buzz covers the different voices of Los Angeles, but there is a definite emphasis on Hollywood and its lifestyle. This has made Buzz popular outside of Los Angeles and has helped attract advertisers such as Calvin Klein, Joop Jeans and Barneys New York.
Although Movieline is a national magazine, its specialty makes it a quasi-city publication for Los Angeles, according to Anne Volokh, publisher. Its paid circulation is at 207,000, with about 25 percent of that going to metropolitan Los Angeles. Thousands of copies, however, are delivered free to Hollywood's power players.
"There is a paradox to Movieline," explained Volokh. "It is a movie magazine by definition, but since it covers Hollywood so thoroughly, it is a city magazine, as well. Other magazines cover the city at large. Movieline covers that part of Los Angeles that powers it: Hollywood."
Movieline has long covered trends of Los Angeles and Hollywood, and recently it has boosted fashion coverage. The September issue, for example, was designated a style issue on Hollywood and featured a profile on Anna Sui. A tagline on the cover asked, "Why do Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford, Demi Moore, Geena Davis and Johnny Depp dress the way they do?" The issue also featured photos of what the magazine termed Fashion Disasters, ranging from Laura Dern to Elle Macpherson.
Volokh said Movieline's research has shown that most people from 18 to 34 years old say they are influenced by celebrity fashion. She said Movieline will continue this fashion emphasis, which has helped to attract new advertisers such as Guess, Joan Vass and Casmir.
There are also a group of younger, hipper magazines that are vying for the Los Angeles market, including Detour, Chatter and Bikini. Of these, Detour has become the serious contender, with lots of style coverage, including party shots.
Detour magazine has come on strong this year with oversized pages and provocative fashion spreads. Ad pages numbered 275 through October, an increase of 24 percent from 210 for the same period last year. Circulation is at 80,000, and Luis Barajas, publisher, plans to boost that by almost double next year through a greater newsstand presence and subscription campaign.
Detour moved to Los Angeles three years ago from Dallas, but this month marks a real turning point for the publication. Barajas is adding 12 new people to his full-time staff of four, including a style editor, Long Nguyen, who will open a New York office. Detour moved to a new headquarters in West Hollywood, and the magazine covered the European collections for the first time.
"Now that we consider ourselves a national book, we've got to make sure everyone else sees us that way," said Barajas.

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