BEAUTIFUL LOSER: The bad circulation virus continues to spread. The newest magazine to show symptoms is House Beautiful, which missed its rate base of 850,000 for the 12-month period ended June 30, 2004, according to an audit report released earlier this week. The magazine had previously reported delivering a bonus of more than 8,000 copies for the period. The 0.2 percent shortfall was largely the result of 7,600 subscriptions that were originally reported as paid but reclassified by auditors as “market coverage copies” — a euphemism for nonpaid. Asked about the disqualified subscriptions, a spokesman for Hearst Magazines, which owns House Beautiful, attributed them to “the mistaken claim of a reputable agent,” whom he declined to identify.
That agent, it turns out, is not EBSCO, In-Flight, Publishers Communications Services or Synapse — the ones whose names have been linked to past circulation hiccups. Instead, it’s American Collegiate Marketing of Okemos, Mich., which bills itself as the largest vendor of discount subscriptions to college students and educators. Irving Lesher, the company’s owner, says it handles around 900 titles, only a small portion of which are part of the NEA Teacher’s Program — the one that produced the disqualified House Beautiful subscriptions. “There was nothing wrong with the program, but the documentation wasn’t handled correctly when the orders were entered at the various fulfillment companies,” he said. (“That’s a crock,” said a circulation executive who does business with ACM, when told of Lesher’s explanation. “The fulfillment companies have been handling orders forever. They know what they’re doing.”)
Lesher declined to say which other magazines, or even how many, are part of the NEA Teacher’s Program. (Hearst’s spokesman said none of the company’s other titles would be affected.) What’s clear is that even more magazines than previously thought will be seeing substantial revisions of their subscription files come audit time.
— Jeff Bercovici
LET SERVE: The first stand-alone issue of Men’s Vogue hits newsstands in New York and Los Angeles next week, and already the magazine is throwing its first big event. Just don’t call it a launch party, since Men’s Vogue is technically still just a brand extension of Mama Vogue and won’t get an official green light for a launch until the first round of newsstand numbers are in.
On Thursday, Men’s Vogue editor in chief Jay Fielden, tennis champ Roger Federer, David Lauren of Polo Ralph Lauren and Anthony K. Shriver will host a dinner at Pastis to benefit Shriver’s pet charity, Best Buddies, an organization that helps people living with intellectual disabilities. With Federer co-hosting and the U.S. Open starting on Monday, the guest list naturally includes tennis celebs — from Serena Williams to John McEnroe to Jim Courier — along with currently ranked players such as Scott Oudsema, who also appears in ads for Polo, a sponsor of this year’s Open, Yves Allegro, Federer’s doubles partner and coach, Mikail Youzny, Tim Henman and Tommy Haas.
— Sara James
FASHION WEEK PHOTOS: The first Web site to showcase ready-to-wear collections in their entirety online, firstview.com, will reach a decade in business during next month’s New York Fashion Week. Founding photographers Don Ashby and Marcio Madeira, along with their third partner, Maria Valentino, will stage an exhibition at Staley Wise Gallery in SoHo to celebrate. The partners’ work, along with photographs from freelancers Olivier Claisse, Just Loomis, Greg Kessler and the late Gauthier Gallet, will be on display from Sept. 6-10, with an opening party on Sept. 8, the same day that fashion photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia opens his “Lucky Thirteen” exhibit at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in Chelsea. That show will be up until Oct. 8.