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- It’s Vice, So It’s a Party
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THE NEW GIRL: In September, David Zinczenko declared to WWD he had big plans for Women’s Health, one of the three magazines he oversees as editorial director at Rodale Inc. “I expect it to be a higher circulation than Men’s Health,” he said. Men’s Health, where Zinczenko is editor in chief, has a circulation of 1.9 million.
Now, after a three-month search, Rodale has tapped a new editor in chief for the women’s title: Michele Promaulayko, who was most recently executive editor of Cosmopolitan. Promaulayko worked for eight years as the number-two to Cosmo editor in chief Kate White, and oversaw several of the brand’s spin-offs. She edited Cosmopolitan Style & Beauty, a special issue dedicated to fashion and beauty, and edited this year’s book, “Cosmo’s Sexiest Beauty Secrets,” and edited “Cosmo’s Guide to Red-Hot Sex.”
“An editor of Michele’s caliber enables Women’s Health to go head-to-head with the biggest women’s magazines in the business,” said Zinczenko. Incidentally, Men’s Health has shown its affection for the Cosmo brand in the past, having shared editorial content on relationship issues and advice, and completed joint studies about the behavior of their young male and female readers.
“I call working for Kate the best editor in chief boot camp on the planet,” said Promaulayko who was also one of the founding editors of Teen People. “She’s incredibly fun but incredibly talented.”
She takes over the magazine after a three-year period of rapid growth. Through the first half of 2008, circulation of Women’s Health has grown to 1.1 million, a 45 percent growth over the same period in 2007, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Its newsstand sales have grown 11 percent, to an average of 307,000 (for comparison, Self sold 331,000 copies on average for the first six months of the year; Cosmo sold 1.7 million copies). Women’s Health’s rate base will increase to 1.35 million with the January/February 2009 issue; the magazine also publishes 12 international editions. Meanwhile, ad pages for the magazine grew 12.5 percent to 727 in 2008 despite the recession.
After founding editor in chief Tina Johnson left Women’s Health in August, Zinczenko took over editorial responsibility, changing the layout and starting to use celebrities on the cover beginning with October’s cover subject, Elizabeth Banks. That issue sold 340,000 copies, or 82,000 more than the same one in 2007. While concrete editorial plans won’t be put forth until Promaulayko takes up her new post after the holidays, she foresees a continued emphasis on fashion and beauty.
— Stephanie D. Smith
NO BUYING SPREE AHEAD: Jeff Bewkes, chief executive officer of Time Warner Inc., said on Wednesday that the spin-off of Time Warner Cable should be complete by 2009 and will result in a $9 billion windfall to parent Time Warner. But don’t expect that cash to translate into acquisitions, at least not in the near term. Shareholders will be the first beneficiaries, with dividends and buybacks, and then, the media giant may consider acquisitions in the form of “network or studio positions,” said Bewkes, soberly adding that “the history of our company would make you concerned about the dangers of acquisitions.”
— Amy Wicks
NO SALE FOR REED: Reed Elsevier, the Anglo-Dutch company which publishes titles including Variety and New Scientist through its Reed Business Information arm, said Wednesday it had ended talks to sell that division, citing the current tough market conditions. “In view of the recent deterioration in macroeconomic outlook and poor credit market conditions, and after discussions with short-listed bidders, the board has judged it not possible to structure a transaction on acceptable terms at this time,” the company said. Now, RBI will be managed as a separate division within Reed Elsevier, headed by Keith Jones, who has been appointed chief executive officer of RBI. Jones was previously chief executive officer of RBI’s U.K. division. However, the company said it still plans to sell RBI in “the medium term,” when market conditions are more favorable. “Whilst the short-term outlook for RBI is challenging given the recent deterioration in economic outlook, we believe the business has significantly more value to our shareholders than could be realized in a transaction at this time,” said Sir Crispin Davis, chief executive officer at Reed Elsevier.
Reed Elsevier first revealed plans to sell RBI in February, in order to reduce the company’s exposure to the division’s advertising revenue model and cyclicality of RBI’s business. Reed Elsevier’s primary business is providing workflow solutions and information through products such as LexisNexis. Texas Pacific Group was reported to have been among the possible bidders for RBI, along with the German publisher Gruner + Jahr.
— Nina Jones
MADONNA VS. THE MAIL: Another British tabloid has fallen foul of the country’s legal system. Earlier this week, a judge at London’s High Court ruled in favor of Madonna after she brought legal action against the Mail on Sunday for publishing pictures of her wedding to soon-to-be-ex Guy Ritchie.
According to the London-based Press Association, Madonna is seeking damages in excess of 5 million pounds, or $7.4 million, which the singer’s lawyer, Matthew Nicklin, said equated to the value of the photographs, which were shot as a wedding gift by Jean-Baptiste Mondino. In the New Year there will be further proceedings to assess the damages to be paid. Nicklin said the Mail on Sunday had obtained the images after an interior designer working at Madonna’s Beverly Hills home “surreptitiously” gained access to an album containing the images — and copied them. The Mail on Sunday is reported to have paid 5,000 pounds, or $7,400, for the images. A spokeswoman for Madonna said she would donate any damages awarded to her to the charitable foundation Raising Malawi.