NOW, AT LAST: If anyone can publish online, why not a big luxury brand? On Thursday, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will launch the full version of its long-promised arts and luxury media site, Nowness.com. The digital magazine has been in teaser mode since LVMH shut down its online store, eLuxury.com, and switched the site to the new name and concept.
Each day the site features one new story, which can take a variety of formats, including text, video, music or an interactive project. Since January, Nowness has shown details from the Chanel spring 2010 presentation, a song from Gil Scott-Heron’s most recent album and a short article about the late Susan Sontag on the occasion of her birthday, among other things.
So far, as on many luxury sites, the interactivity is not a free-for-all, but relatively controlled. Visitors can’t leave comments, but they can vote “like” or “don’t like” on each presentation, and the site will direct a visitor to similar or different content from the archive. A navigator called the “Explorer” groups random titles from the archive by color and size to graphically represent their popularity.
Earlier this week, the invitation-only preview of the full site featured a short film noir, “Mean to Me,” directed by artists David McDermott and Peter McGough and featuring model Agyness Deyn. The film made its debut earlier this month in New York and will be shown at film festivals and galleries.
“It is important to have a voice online to represent the values of luxury,” said digital executive vice president of Nowness Kamel Ouadi. “It is also an act of leadership and innovation because the site brings a new way to showcase and explore content.”
Visitors can share site content via e-mail and social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Digg. An iPhone app is in the works.
The site has been getting about 10,000 visitors a month, although Ouadi said the company expects more after the full launch. The site has several thousand fans on Twitter and Facebook, and a database of 300,000 members who have registered on the site.
Eventually, Nowness will think about revenue and advertising, as well as content partnerships with brands, “as soon as traffic is high enough to be interesting to potential partners,” Ouadi said. The site wants to work with luxury brands outside the LVMH family, he said. — Cate T. Corcoran
SMART MOVE?: News Corp.’s Dow Jones & Co. will acquire Hearst Corp.’s 50 percent stake in SmartMoney early next week, according to sources close to the deal. Dow Jones then will have sole ownership of the personal finance magazine. “Hearst and Dow Jones have been partners in SmartMoney since 1991 and have regularly discussed what is best for the brand,” said a Hearst spokeswoman. “We are in talks to transition SmartMoney 100 percent to Dow Jones ownership, where it will be aligned with their other personal finance properties. A specific timeline has not yet been determined.” A spokesman at Dow Jones declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news of talks between Dow Jones and Hearst on Tuesday. According to the latest Media Industry Newsletter numbers, the March issue of SmartMoney is up 7 percent in ad pages; meanwhile, ad pages fell 23 percent, to 387, last year, compared with 2008. — Amy Wicks
LUCY’S NIGHT: “I never actually had a bat mitzvah but if I did, this is what it would feel like,” said Lucy Danziger to the crowd gathered at the Monkey Bar on Monday evening to celebrate her new book, “The Nine Rooms of Happiness.” “The book provides a strategy for women to approach problems in a new way. It provides the tools to care for the inner self,” said Danziger.
The editor in chief of Self, in Hervé Léger, and co-author Catherine Birndorf were joined by a few of Danziger’s former colleagues, including New York Times executive editor Bill Keller and New York’s Adam Moss. Fellow Condé Nast editors and publishers also turned out, with Danziger’s former college roommate and current New Yorker publisher Lisa Hughes on hand, and Graydon Carter was spotted as well as Trip Gabriel, Charlie Rose and Evelyn Lauder. — A.W.
OLYMPIC STYLE: InStyle fashion director Hal Rubenstein is at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, critiquing the style of ice-skaters and ice dancers, and hosting a spring fashion show on the top of Grouse Mountain. “Everyone’s been getting a little touchy about the ice-skating costumes,” he noted, referring to the aboriginal-inspired looks worn by the Russian ice dancers. “It’s no different than going to a ballet.” Rubenstein is in town for a few days for the fashion show, airing Thursday on the “Today” show, and then he’s off to Milan. — A.W.