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Memo Pad: Arnault and More… Agin Stays, Sort Of…

WSJ., the Wall Street Journal’s glossy magazine, is back with a fashion-themed March issue.

ARNAULT AND MORE: WSJ., the Wall Street Journal’s glossy magazine, is back with a fashion-themed March issue, this time with a cover subject that delivers on several of its promises at once: access courtesy of the Journal’s resources (an interview with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault), a lifestyle cast to hard news (the article explores how LVMH might fare in the downturn, but also depicts Arnault’s family life by visiting his home), and glossy photography (a cover shot and inside portfolio of Arnault by Mario Testino).

What it delivers significantly less of are ad pages: there are 27 of them, out of 92 total pages in the national edition, and four additional ones in a New York version. By contrast, September’s premiere issue had 51 ad pages out of a total of 104. The third issue, unlike the first two, is saddle-stitched rather than perfect-bound.

Though the original plan was to go monthly this year, WSJ. is remaining a quarterly in response to market conditions. Publisher Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio put it bluntly: “The commitment is there, the investment is there, but the advertising is not. We’re still going full force, but the ad climate is extremely challenging.”

Asmodeo-Giglio emphasized that News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch remains committed to the magazine, despite the deep losses at the Dow Jones operation recently reported by News Corp. “I know that the magazine is a priority for him to maintain and to grow eventually,” she said, adding the initiative has brought in new advertisers that are often bundled with newspaper and digital buys at the Journal.

As for Arnault, in the story he hints LVMH might be looking to acquire more companies. “We’re about to enter a market of buyers over the next six-to-eight months,” he said. “There will be opportunities, and we will be looking at them.” According to the magazine, Arnault was at time of writing “in talks to invest in a fashion company with ecological and ethical goals founded by a global celebrity.” (Neither WSJ. nor Arnault elaborated, but could it be Edun, Bono’s green clothing line?)

Tina Gaudoin, the editor of WSJ., said the magazine will soon become even more “style-oriented.” WSJ. has yet to replace Sasha Wilkins, formerly executive style editor, though former Men’s Vogue fashion news editor Sara James has been acting as style editor. “We are working on the style editor position,” said a spokesman. — Irin Carmon

AGINS STAYS, SORT OF: Speaking of the Journal, Teri Agins — who has her first WSJ. magazine byline, on Rodarte, in the March issue — will continue to write her “Ask Teri” column and possibly additional freelance articles for the paper. Agins, a nearly 25-year Journal veteran, is going to be a contract employee in the wake of the elimination of the fashion and retail bureau, said a spokesman for the newspaper. Other projects may be ahead as well: “I will not disappear,” she told WWD. Some of the staffers who formed the now-defunct bureau have been reassigned to other parts of the paper, where they will continue to cover similar topics, but Francine Schwadel, Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan and Jennifer Saranow have left the company. — I.C.

 

NEW LOOK: Aside from information on cooking and crafts, the 100,000 monthly visitors to Martha Stewart’s blog on marthastewart.com are especially tuned in to her posts on fashion, beauty and travel. So the editors of Living decided to incorporate more of that content into the magazine. “Our reader who cares about her home and entertaining is also the kind of person who also cares about themselves,” said Gael Towey, chief creative officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, who is also Living’s acting editor in chief — although for the time being there’s no search to find a permanent one. Beginning with the April issue, the magazine will cover beauty in a new Apothecary section, and will have a dedicated fashion section. Living doesn’t have any beauty or fashion editors, relying on freelancers and executive editor Vicky Lowry, who has worked for Vogue and Women’s Sports and Fitness and oversees coverage on both subjects. Living will also run travel coverage in the front of the book about four times a year, including a service column with travel and destination information to be called Black Book. The moves could help lure advertisers in the challenging economic climate. Through March, pages have dropped 37 percent, to 180, according to Media Industry Newsletter. Circulation for the magazine remained flat at 2 million, but newsstand sales declined 17 percent.

In addition to the new, there also are some familiar things in the April issue — Martha’s Calendar, which includes Stewart’s daily to-dos (yoga, remove burlap from boxwood hedges) with her public appearances has been reinstated. Then there’s a 10-page spread on the Upper East Side apartment of former chief executive officer Susan Lyne. The apartment was decorated by Kevin Sharkey, MSLO executive editorial director for decorating. — Stephanie D. Smith

nt because of this,” said one industry source. “The premium men’s mag sector is challenging, but I think Bauer could have held its nerve for another year.” Bauer Media, which publishes titles such as FHM, Grazia and celebrity magazine Closer, said Arena Homme Plus, the twice-yearly style magazine, will not be affected. The six international editions, all of which are published under license, will also continue, according to the company. Arena’s April issue, which goes on sale March 12, will be its last. — Samantha Conti

 

NO BIG NUMBERS: Marie Claire made its reality television debut on Sunday with “Running in Heels,” which aired on the Style Network and featured editor in chief Joanna Coles and fashion director Nina Garcia. But if the magazine was hoping for a megahit, it’s got a long way to go: According to Nielsen, the hour-long show had an average of 156,000 viewers. While it’s not an apples to apples comparison, “Project Runway” — the program Marie Claire hopes to become involved with in its much-delayed sixth season and which also features Garcia — had 354,000 viewers during its premiere episode on Bravo, a larger cable network. — Amy Wicks

ONLINE WINNERS: The Magazine Publishers of America on Tuesday unveiled its third annual Digital Awards, with winners including Wired, SI.com, Architectural Record, Epicurious, National Geographic and In Style Mobile. The winners were revealed as the MPA reported some good news for the beleaguered magazine sector: traffic to consumer magazine Web sites rose 11.1 percent in the fourth quarter over the same period a year earlier, averaging 75 million uniques versus 67.5 million the previous year.

At the fifth annual Digital Conference Tuesday in Manhattan, during a session on “Three Digital Things You Need to Know Now,” Domenic Venuto, Razorfish’s senior vice president media and entertainment, said publishers need to focus on aggregation, data and social influence marketing in creating more effective online content.

During a session on “What Advertisers Want,” panelists advised publishers to use their smaller online brands as incubators for innovative ideas. “It’s no longer about advertising — it’s now about content,” said Stacy Deziel, managing partner, director of client service MediaCom Interaction. James Kiernan, vice president, group client director, MediaVest Worldwide, said publishers need to become more comfortable with the idea of working with social networking sites and, in some cases, partnering with competitors. The key with advertising is to integrate it with what consumers are already using. As for the long-running argument over whether paying for content is good strategy, Kiernan said there is so much free content already online, that “your content better be pretty darn good if you are going to charge for it. But I think there are pockets out there that are justified to sell.” — A.W. and S.D.S.

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