THE NEW RECRUITS?: It is the end of Stefano Tonchi’s second week as editor in chief of W, and sources say he is getting ready to make some key hires. Multiple sources speculate Jody Quon, photo director at New York magazine, is a frontrunner for the creative director job, which was left vacant when Dennis Freedman departed at the beginning of April. Tonchi, who came up as a fashion editor, is said to be interested in hiring a creative director with a strong photography, rather than fashion, background, and Quon fits that description — prior to joining New York in 2004, she served as deputy photo editor at The New York Times Magazine. But insiders say Quon might not come easily — or cheap — as New York editor in chief Adam Moss, who worked with Quon at the Times and hired her at New York, is said to be trying to persuade her to stay.
Meanwhile, T magazine issue editor Armand Limnander is the second of the supplement’s staffers (after Lynn Hirschberg) believed to be making the switch to W to join Tonchi. Insiders say Limnander is coming aboard in a fashion news director role, and will oversee the front of book.
— Nick Axelrod
IN THIS CORNER…: How will The New York Times combat The Wall Street Journal’s new daily New York section, set to launch on Monday? Media observers aren’t the only ones closely watching the contest for advertising, which became clear during a Times Co. earnings call on Thursday, when executives were peppered with questions from analysts about Journal owner Rupert Murdoch’s new venture.
“We don’t shy away from the competition,” said chief executive officer Janet Robinson, adding the company has a well planned strategy on how to compete in every category. One analyst asked how the Times would fare, as compared to a local Journal edition that reportedly will give away ads for free and cut ad rates by as much as 80 percent. From a volume perspective, the Journal could gain the advantage, but “a free ad in any vehicle may not necessarily be as effective as a paid ad in a property that indeed has a very, very responsive audience,” Robinson noted.
Meanwhile, in earnings news, it appears luxury advertising is on the rise, thanks to an uptick in spending in the T franchise. Other national print categories that fared better during the period were media, health care and national automotive. Still, in the news media group, print advertising revenues declined 12.3 percent during the quarter, partially offset by digital advertising, which rose 11.2 percent. In the company’s Internet businesses, including nytimes.com, total revenues rose 15.5 percent to $90.4 million. In more digital news, the company is planning to introduce a new paid iPad app, followed by its new metered pay model on nytimes.com. The company posted a net income of $12.8 million compared with a loss of $74 million during the prior year’s quarter, thanks to a significant cost restructuring.
— Amy Wicks
HOUSE OF HP: Computers and fashion may make strange bedfellows, but don’t tell that to HP. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based information technology company is selling products aimed at women — like the HP Mini 210 Vivienne Tam edition notebook — in glammed up retail environments that are a far cry from the traditional electronics big boxes and superstores. HP boutiques will bow at Brazilian shopping center Iguatemi São Paolo on May 11; Estnation in Tokyo, May 14; Macy’s, May 18, and Lord & Taylor, May 19; Oriental Plaza in Beijing, May 22, and La Rinascente in Milan, May 26. The first HP boutique opened last week at KaDeWe in Berlin. “Traditional computer-electronics stores are not female friendly,” said Tracey Trachta, executive director of worldwide marketing communications. With HP’s female audience growing, the 20- to- 40-square-foot shops are an opportunity to get consumers to “think about HP products in a different context,” she said. Notebooks and minis from HP’s “spring” collection will be merchandised with accessories such as handbags, jewelry and shoes chosen by store buyers. “In many ways computers are accessories,” Trachta said. “They could be impulse purchases.” HP has hired Sarah Jessica Parker to appear in its TV campaign, “PC is personal again.” The computer giant is also involved with Parker’s film “Sex & The City 2,” which opens next month. HP products “are visible in the movie, but that’s not the crux of the partnership,” said Trachta. “Sex & the City 2”-inspired walk-in closets in fashion malls across the country will showcase HP PCs next to Manolo Blahnik shoes and a few of Carrie Bradshaw’s (Parker’s character) favorite things. Pop-up runways at traditional electronics retailers will give consumers a chance to walk the catwalk and have their picture taken carrying an HP product.
— Sharon Edelson