TRENDING DOWN: Hearst has quietly shuttered its free newspaper TrendingNY, WWD has learned.
Editorial staff, which totaled about eight and were mostly freelancers, were told of Trending’s demise last week, just as the September issue of the fashion- and culture-inspired paper hit the streets. Employees packed up their boxes Wednesday, according to insiders, but they were entirely surprised.
The “freemium” aimed at Millennial women, which was launched last August, had not published in July, as planned. That was “worrisome” to the staff, a source said, as was the obvious declining number of advertising pages per issue.
Initially, TrendingNY was developed as a weekly paper to be distributed during fashion week. Each issue had a print run of about 50,000 copies, and were meant to focus on New York-centric cultural events. Just three months after it launched, Hearst said it was upping Trending’s frequency in 2015 to nine issues, with a new edition distributed the first week of each month from April to December.
At the time, Michael Clinton, president of marketing and publishing director of Hearst Magazines, said TrendingNY would feature heavier, glossier cover stock and its circulation would double to 100,000 copies an issue from the initial print run of 50,000.
Clinton said each issue would be “at minimum” 52 pages, and pointed to advertisers such as Banana Republic, Bloomingdale’s, Estée Lauder and Macy’s, as launch sponsors.
The hope was to lure in more beauty, retail and fashion advertisers, but insiders noted that it apparently hadn’t worked as planned.
Case in point: An insider pointed to the current and final September issue, which was billed as a thicker, more fashion-heavy edition (for obvious reasons), adding: “It was supposed to be a big issue. I didn’t hand count, but there were not a lot of ads. Each issue was thinner and thinner.”
A spokeswoman from Hearst said: “TrendingNY is a successful, ongoing experiment for us, a new model and a new way to reach young women. For now, we are moving away from a monthly frequency, but expect to see Trending ‘pop-up’ going forward.”
The pop-up model is used at freemium “Branché,” which is produced by the editors of Hearst-owned Marie Claire magazine.