As InStyle’s third publisher in as many years, Agnes Chapski thinks there’s still some room to grow the magazine’s business.
“What Laura Brown and her team have been doing is refreshing and unique,” Chapski said on her first official day on the job. “I was excited about partnering with her. I think [InStyle] has so much potential.”
Specifically, Chapski is looking at business around digital-only channels like social and video as areas where she will be taking a “deep dive” right away.
“There’s a phenomenal amount of potential with our digital assets,” Chapski added. It seems to be true, to an extent. Rival titles over at Hearst Elle and Harper’s Bazaar have over 4 million followers on Instagram, while InStyle has 2.6 million. Vogue roundly beats all three titles on Instagram with nearly 23 million followers. And advertisers are projected to spend $18 million on digital video this year, a small amount of ad spend overall, but a 25 percent increase over last year, according to a new report from Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Beyond Instagram, InStyle’s print and digital readership has continued to shrink. According to December data from MPA The Association of Magazine Media, the magazine’s combined print and digital audience was down on a year-to-date average of just over 10 percent, with desktop viewing down almost 30 percent and mobile viewing up 31 percent. Video traffic was up only 6 percent, leaving total audience down for the year by about 2 percent. This is the most recent data from the MPA, which at the start of the year said it was switching its reports to a quarterly basis from its typical monthly accounts.
Nevertheless, one area Chapski isn’t looking to grow, at least not right now, is events. She said InStyle is already “very, very good” in that space, but she does want to make sure “any event we’re doing is aligned and distinctly an Instyle event.
“It can’t be an event that anyone can plug their name onto,” she added.
As for her departure at the end of March from NewBeauty, where she was president for just over a year after working for nearly 20 years as chief revenue officer of Condé Nast’s Allure magazine, Chapski didn’t have too much to say on what led to the complaint she filed in New York state court against her former employer Sandow, the owner of NewBeauty.
The summons to her complaint, which was never made available by the court, noted that Chapski was “compelled to resign for good reason” citing “improprieties at Sandow in which she could not participate.” Chapski filed suit seemingly in an effort to get her bonus and six months of severance pay, amounting to at least $350,000.
While the case has not yet been formally dismissed, according to court records, Chapski said the complaint no longer exists, without disclosing specifically whether a settlement had been reached.
“Everything is good now,” she said.