GAN’S PLAN: The last few days have been eventful for Stephen Gan, the soft-spoken cofounder and president of Fashion Media Group, which publishes CR Fashion Book, V magazine, VMan and Visionaire. His split with business partner Cecilia Dean had become public, but Gan, who also serves as creative director for Hearst Magazines’ Harper’s Bazaar, said the breakup “wasn’t a sudden one.
“For those in the know, it wasn’t a surprise but a clarification of the way we worked,” Gan said of his relationship with Dean.
This story first appeared in the August 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Dean, he said, would continue working on Visionaire, which he called “more of an art book,” and he would work on V, VMan and CR, the glossy he oversees with Carine Roitfeld. Dean and James Kaliardos, both of whom cofounded Fashion Media Group with Gan, will expand Visionaire into film, digital, exhibitions and apparel, according to Gan.
As for V and CR, Gan denied recent reports that the magazines would fold or go digital only.
“It’s totally wrong and it’s mudslinging,” he said, musing that the rumors were probably from a “disgruntled ex-employee from CR.
“There’s a changing of the guard. It’s that time of year. People are on their way out. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it,” he said, referring to staffers who recently left the company for other jobs.
Gan also denied that Hearst picks up the printing costs for CR — a deal Roitfeld was rumored to make with executives at the publishing company when she signed to become Harper’s Bazaar’s global fashion director. A Hearst spokeswoman and said the publisher had nothing to do with CR.
“CR has been a prosperous venture for me,” Gan said. “It’s an experiment that’s paid off from Day One.”
To back that up, Gan said September advertising pages totaled 154, up from 148 pages last September. CR pulled four more pages than its big launch issue in 2012, which carried 150 pages. Gan offered that V’s September issue has 156 ad pages, a 50 percent increase over last year. VMan, too, had a better September, with 68 pages of ads, versus 63 a year ago.
In order to grow its youngest magazine, CR — which Gan admitted is in “need of a boost” digitally — the title is relaunching its Web site on Aug. 28. The print version of CR will go on sale on Sept. 4, while V and VMan go on sale Sept. 10 and Sept. 18, respectively.
Although he acknowledged the difficulty that the overall magazine industry is facing, Gan said each book has a 70 percent sell-through on the newsstand. “For larger magazines, there’s a 30 percent sell-through,” he noted. “It’s very promising that seven out of 10 of our magazines end up in someone’s home.”
Drilling down further, CR will print 65,000 copies for the newsstand, while V will circulate 60,000 and VMan will circulate 55,000. Gan also gets revenue from subscriptions and single-copy sales bought online. Gan revealed that V has roughly 9,500 print subscribers and 40,500 digital subscribers. In 2014, according to a spokeswoman, V’s total circulation is 100,000, CR’s is 65,000 and VMan’s is 90,000.