COUNT THE WAYS: Celebrity blogger Mario Lavandeira, aka Perez Hilton, has reached a new level of ubiquity, what with all the magazine profiles, New Year’s Eve MTV appearances and sharing party-hosting duties with Christina Aguilera that same night at the Hudson Hotel. In many of those appearances, he has illustrated his ascendancy in the gossip pantheon with claims to massive site traffic — more, he has said, than a week’s worth of celebrity weeklies.
In early November, Lavandeira claimed on his blog to have 2.6 million unique hits a day, but by the end of that month, a week of posting about Britney Spears‘ egregious exposure pushed that number to an alleged 3.97 million in a 24-hour period.
This appears to be the root of Lavandeira’s claim on his Web site, repeated in media outlets like Geraldo Rivera and ABC News, that his daily readers are more than that of “Us Weekly, Star magazine, and In Touch, in a week combined” or that he has “more readers than People magazine gets in an entire week.”
Well, it depends on how you define “readers.” The statement is true only if one were to count them by paid circulation (and assume that the nearly 4 million high is typical — or even accurate). People’s paid circulation adds up to 3.8 million, but that’s hardly an indication of the magazine’s overall readership. MRI numbers are a more common, if relatively unscientific, method of counting how many people actually read a magazine, since its polls count those who say they saw an issue, not just subscribers or newsstand buyers.
Even if perezhilton.com were to receive 4 million hits a day, it still wouldn’t dent People’s most recent MRI figure of 41.5 million. (Star’s MRI readership is 10.5 million, while Us Weekly is at just over 11 million, spokeswomen for the magazines said).
Lavandeira did not return requests for comment or further elucidation of his traffic, but perhaps interested parties can take it up with him at Tuesday’s party for Village Voice gossip columnist Michael Musto and his book “La Dolce Musto,” which Lavandeira is cohosting with Rosie Perez.
— Irin Carmon
DIGITAL FACELIFT: Kate Betts is about to rejoin the world of fashion bloggers. The editor of Time Style & Design will churn out her innermost thoughts during the upcoming fashion season as part of the redesign of Time.com’s Web site, which is being unveiled today.
While the frequency, tone and content of her musings have yet to be determined, Betts will be blogging for the second season in a row — she tried it out in the fall in a dry run.
Betts joins Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic of The Washington Post, as establishment fashion journalists having to go beyond watching the collections and perhaps writing reviews. But Givhan’s blog last season revealed the potential pitfalls, since it focused more on party coverage than on shocking revelations about designers or models.
The increasing number of fashion reporters blogging comes as Web sites receive more access to the tents and post images and reviews from shows in real time. Meanwhile, fashion editors at other outlets could be joining Betts and Givhan, as writers such as The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn and the International Herald Tribune’s Suzy Menkes are said to be getting corporate pressure to do their own blogs.
As for the relaunch of Time.com, Richard Stengel writes in his editor’s letter in this week’s Time — which, incidentally, was the first to come out on Friday per its new publishing schedule — that the redesign after nearly four months of development has an easier-to-navigate layout and cleaner design. The most obvious difference will be the red border that trims the site, but other improvements play off the Internet’s biggest strengths: Time.com will have more pictures and videos; a new news aggregator, “The Ag,” which gathers the top news stories of the day from daily papers and blogs available daily by 7 a.m.; a free archive of every Time story and cover since its 1923 launch, and more original stories posted throughout the day.
Time.com editor Josh Tyrangiel said in recent months Time.com had increasingly published fresh content throughout the day on the site — as many as 10 stories on slow days and upward of 25 on busy ones. But with the redesign, complete with time stamps with each story, “You’ll be able to finally see how frequently things move.”
Several new blogs will also make their debuts, including “Swampland,” with contributions from Washington editor Ana Marie Cox, columnist Joe Klein and Washington bureau chief Jay Carney; “Looking Around” by art critic Richard Lacayo, and a Middle East and China blog reported by Time correspondents in both regions.
— Stephanie D. Smith
RIDE THE WAVE: In a publishing era when “value added” has numerous meanings, Ocean Drive Media Group has come up with another permutation. The owner of glitzy and celebrity-filled Ocean Drive magazine, as well as 10 other lifestyle titles, has formed an in-house marketing firm with its vice president of public relations, Lana Bernstein, to cater to companies not interested in buying ad space — at least for now — as well as celebrities it can plaster all over its pages. And, of course, Jerry Powers, chief executive officer and founder of Ocean Drive Media Group, is hoping a good portion of the companies attracted to the agency will eventually end up buying ads in his magazines. In the meantime, his VIPs will be invited to events run by LBA, where they are associated with Ocean Drive.
LBA clients so far include the NFL and Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade, who asked the agency to produce his upcoming 25th birthday party, which Ocean Drive would host. Bernstein will seek out the appropriate companies to sponsor Wade’s party, such as Converse and Gatorade. What does Wade get? Well, a free birthday party, for one thing.
Separately, Powers has more on his plate than LBA, as he is preparing to launch a magazine, Michigan Avenue, this fall, in Chicago.
— Amy Wicks