ROLL OF THE DICE: Like every other conventional publisher, Hearst is gambling on the Web. But unlike most, it’s also on one serious shopping spree. It’s only September, but Chuck Cordray, vice president, general manager of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, said it has already “accomplished much of what we wanted to do” in the digital space this year. Hearst Magazines’ recent acquisition of RealAge.com brings a slew of activities to a close, including the February launch of nine mobile sites for titles such as Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmogirl, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, Redbook and Seventeen. In addition, 14 magazine Web sites have launched, as well as Mypromshopper.com, Mybacktoschoolshopper.com, MisQuinceMag.com and TheDailyGreen.com, which will go from beta to full-scale site in November. But Hearst isn’t all about in-house development: the company has also acquired Ecrush.com and shopping site Kaboodle was jointly purchased by Hearst Magazines Digital Media and Hearst Interactive Media. Ugo Networks, an online entertainment company, was bought solely by Interactive Media.
So what does Cordray expect next? In 2008, the plan is to spend more time growing the existing properties and integrating the marketing components. And that’s no easy task. The majority of digital agencies tend to buy by demographic, instead of by brand, so Hearst has to figure out a way to package its magazines with its acquired Web properties, such as Kaboodle, without disrupting the current ad-dollar flow to either. Cordray claimed the magazine sites, such as Cosmopolitan.com, are “well ahead of the plan,” and, like at every print-focused company, represent a big source of growth. Any further acquisitions will depend on Hearst’s capabilities — and the asking price, of course. Kaboodle, for example, was acquired (versus developing a similar site in-house), “because I don’t know if we could have built it on our own,” Cordray said. — Amy Wicks
MUSICAL CHAIRS: Joanne Lipman on Thursday made two high-level moves and filled a hole on the masthead left vacant since she dismissed deputy editor Jim Impoco last month. Managing editor Blaise Zerega is giving up that post to become deputy editor as of next month, and Jacob Lewis, currently managing editor of The New Yorker, will replace Zerega as managing editor. Zerega is relocating to San Francisco with his family at the end of the year, where he worked for three years as managing editor of Wired before joining Portfolio. In his new post, Zerega will focus on editorial duties, as opposed to managing the day-to-day operations. He will oversee technology coverage and special issues, and work more with Portfolio.com managing editor Chris Jones. — Stephanie D. Smith
SERIOUS ABOUT GREEN: Magazines have gone green — or at least many of them produce one green-themed issue per year — and now the fashion industry appears to be next in line. Liz Claiborne is currently in “very serious green discussions,” about its “physical surroundings and production of apparel,” and has hired consultant William McDonough on the matter. Tim Gunn, chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne, spoke on the green topic during Cosmogirl’s Kiss of Approval awards breakfast Thursday. Talk then shifted to magazine covers and editor in chief Susan Schulz said, “I wish we could get a gorgeous model [on the cover] and make someone’s career, but I can’t risk that.” She said “cleaner” celebrities, like Miley Cyrus (“Hannah Montana”) on the April cover, and Zac Efron and Ashley Tisdale of “High School Musical 2,” for the September issue, have sold well, “but that could change on a dime,” she admitted. “Sometimes it’s all about timing.” — A.W.
SUNDAY SIX: With a separate staff from its namesake, Margi Conklin says Page Six the Magazine is a separate entity from its New York Post daily bretheren. “We’re a lifestyle magazine. We’re not breaking hot news on Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan. It’s a breezy, fun read that you take to brunch.”
The premiere issue, which arrives Sunday, will be fashion-heavy. The issue includes a feature on the top 25 best-dressed women at New York Fashion Week that names journalists, patternmakers and celebrities. “You’ll find Anna Wintour, but perhaps some lesser-known names in the journalism realm as well,” said Conklin.
The new weekly version will be the first time Page Six the Magazine has used original photography for its own stories — it shot Christie Brinkley in her Hamptons home and the stars of the new CW series “Gossip Girls” for its cover story. Kelly Killoren Bensimon will pen a twice-monthly column (two additional columnists are soon to be announced). Regular features will include a weekly look into a stylish New York woman’s apartment and stories on money and power in New York.
While just four staffers put out three earlier versions of the magazine, Conklin, who joined Page Six the Magazine in July from British start-up Grazia, hired 20 employees, several from defunct Jane. Former Jane lifestyle editor Katy McColl will write the next cover story. Former FHM creative director Ian Knowles oversaw art direction for the launch issue. Though the staff is mostly separate from the New York Post, writer Maureen Callahan joined Page Six the Magazine full-time as a contributing editor, while the paper’s features reporter Danica Lo will contribute lifestyle articles.
The premiere issue will carry 96 pages, including ads from fashion and luxury brands like Jill Stuart, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Calvin Klein, Mercedes and BMW. Conklin said the size will drop to around 68 pages going forward. — S.D.S.