IF EVIDENCE WERE NEEDED: The third quarter presented more of the same for magazine publishers, with advertising revenue falling 18.6 percent to $4.5 billion, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, which bases its figures on publishers’ rate cards. Meanwhile, ad pages dropped 26.6 percent to 38,625 from July through September. Food and food products advertising was the only category that produced a gain, rising 10.1 percent in revenue and 3.9 percent in ad pages, while the other top 11 categories once again experienced declines. A few subcategories managed a boost in advertising, including hygiene and hair care products and cleansers, polishes and building equipment within home furnishings supplies.
— Amy Wicks
MSLO CHANGES: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia can join the list of media companies streamlining their operations. WWD has learned that Body + Soul publisher and managing director Janesse Thaw Bruce is leaving the company and will not be replaced. Instead, a spokeswoman confirmed, MSLO will be overseen by group publisher Sally Preston, who also has Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food in her portfolio.
Through October, Body + Soul’s ad pages were down 19 percent, to 440 pages.
Bruce was an investor in Body + Soul before taking it over and selling it to MSLO in 2004. MSLO is clearly focusing on revamping the title: in August, it tapped Elle executive editor Alexandra Postman to take over at the title, succeeding Alanna Fincke, and moved editorial operations from Watertown, Mass., to New York.
— Irin Carmon
SIMPLY GOOD NEWS: Finding good news in publishing is difficult these days, but not impossible. Take Real Simple, which has had growth in circulation and advertising in 2009. During the first half, the home and cooking magazine reported a 1 percent growth in newsstand sales, to 393,578. Though the magazine’s editorial formula has already gathered 2 million readers, managing editor Kristin van Ogtrop and new creative director Janet Froelich made some tweaks to the November issue. Froelich joined Real Simple in February from The New York Times magazine.
Aside from new photographers and contributors, fonts and navigational signals to the reader, Real Simple will add 14 columns, including Fashion Fit Lab, Beauty with Brains and Trends Worth Trying, which gives advice on beauty, fashion and home products that are hot that month. Froelich said the section is framed with large datelines across the top to signal immediacy.
On the advertising side, the title has rebounded somewhat from a brutal 2008, when pages fell 33 percent last fall. The October issue carried 8 percent more pages than October 2008 and November will be 10 percent larger than last year’s. Its December issue is on track to carry more than 30 percent more paging than last year’s. Publisher Kevin White said the magazine’s refreshed look and circulation growth have helped rope in new clients, from Chanel to Lancôme to Garnier, and increase market share. Up next, Real Simple will unveil social networking and community features on its Web site, and release a cookbook, “Real Simple Best Recipes,” later this month. The magazine is also launching an iPhone application for the holidays tied to its December gift guide.
Speaking of upbeat news, when Paula Deen stopped by Hearst Tower on Friday to celebrate her new Good Housekeeping cover, she revealed her own magazine, Cooking with Paula Deen, is doing well. “I think it’s my broad appeal,” she told WWD, adding that ad pages for the bimonthly title are up 30 to 40 percent for the year. “I think more people are learning more about me.”
— Stephanie D. Smith and Amy Wicks
FUND-RAISER: “How do you like my dress?” author Mariane Pearl asked the crowd assembled at the Bowery Hotel on Thursday. “Gucci! It doesn’t happen too often, so take pictures for posterity.”
The occasion was to raise funds for Pearl’s in-progress documentary, “Resilient,” partly inspired by her columns in Glamour on ordinary women who have overcome hardship to try to change their lives. Gucci is providing more than a dress; it’s also throwing in a grant from its Documentary Fund to help Pearl and her collaborators finish the film on four remarkable women.
What ties their stories together is the idea that “it’s not what happens to you, but what you do about what happens to you,” said Pearl, who first entered the public eye after the kidnapping and murder of her husband, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in Pakistan seven years ago.
Co-host and Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive spoke warmly of Pearl, but added, “She’s not Mother Teresa. I’ve rarely heard profanity like when we sent her, a woman of Cuban extraction, to the Arctic Circle.” Maybe Gucci should send some outerwear.