ALL MALE: Though skeptics of Men’s Vogue still wonder whether there exists a high-earning male reader looking for the family history of his custom shirtmaker, a celebrity profile and theater criticism all in the same place, the magazine is prepping for its next phase. Later this year it will release its first audit by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and in September, the title will go to 10 times a year and raise its rate base by 25,000, for a total of 325,000, said publisher William Li.
For now, Men’s Vogue is staying niche and skewing older; the magazine hasn’t gone head to head with fellow Condé Nast men’s titles Details and GQ as much as might have been expected. (Condé Nast also owns WWD.) But some of the so-called “c-level executives” targeted by Portfolio look a lot like Men’s Vogue’s hoped-for reader — so much so that Vogue publishing director Tom Florio told WWD he’d asked Portfolio publisher David Carey about running an ad for Men’s Vogue in Portfolio. (Ultimately, there was no room, Florio said.) Perhaps that’s why one insider has jokingly dubbed the two recent entrants to the luxury market “Mensfolio.”
Florio rejected the idea that Portfolio directly competes with Men’s Vogue for either readership or advertising. “We don’t really see them going at the same guy. That’s not our approach.” (Portfolio is also hoping for a 40 percent female readership.) Though Men’s Vogue often covers finance and business and the largest chunk of its readers are in finance (12 percent, according to a brand new subscriber study, which also puts the reader’s median household income at $182,548), Florio said: “It’s our treatment of it that’s different.”
Despite that coverage, plus the odd fashion story teased on the cover with business overtones (“Blue-Chip Watch Portfolio” this month), Men’s Vogue hasn’t captured much business-specific advertising thus far, and overlaps with Portfolio’s launch issue are mostly in fashion and luxury. Though it’s too early to tell, Florio said he thought Portfolio’s coaxing of business advertisers to the company could only help Men’s Vogue. But some have questioned whether smaller, niche advertisers, given a limited ad budget, would choose the relatively clear-cut business magazine over one named Vogue.
The magazine is in the process of weaning itself off verified circulation, initially a list of 200,000 culled from the Condé Nast database. Li said that list had been shrunk to 30,000 as of this month, and that total paid subscriptions were now at 177,000. According to a mandatory filing in the November/December issue, the magazine averages 135,000 at the newsstand.
Florio maintained the magazine served a market of older men left cold by the existing polarities of “metrosexual nonsense and the beer and babes” of the lad mags, which, he said, represented “men who resented the rise of women’s power.” He also claimed political influence: “We basically launched [Barack] Obama‘s campaign, right or wrong,” he said, citing the September/October cover featuring the Democratic presidential candidate.
Though a press release issued when the magazine was first green-lit promised 10 issues in 2007, there will be only eight this year. Florio said the magazine would go on a 10-times-a-year schedule starting in September. — Irin Carmon
POSING FOR THE CAMERA: Donna Karan, Sting and Trudie Styler, Ali MacGraw, Rodney Yee and wife Colleen Saidman, along with other famed yoga instructors, hit their downward dogs for Vanity Fair’s June issue. Photographer Michael O’Neill, who credits yoga with helping him regain use of his right arm after surgery to remove bone deposits from his neck, traveled from New York to Hawaii to India to shoot yoga masters for the photo essay, “Planet Yoga.” The subjects aren’t your average weekend yogi — Karan, for example, has been practicing yoga since she was a teenager, and was photographed in her home in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The issue hits newsstands May 8 nationwide; outtakes from the shoot will be on vanityfair.com beginning Wednesday. — Stephanie D. Smith