OFFICE POLITICS: The fallout from the magazine industry’s ongoing circulation-reporting woes is getting personal. After 14 years on the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ board, Peter Armour, senior vice president of consumer marketing for Condé Nast Publications (parent of WWD), faces a challenge for his seat at next month’s annual meeting. David Rock, director of online and partnerships at Ziff Davis Media, is campaigning for Armour’s spot, claiming Armour has been insufficiently energetic in representing publishers’ concerns.
Armour responded last week with a letter to ABC members defending his tenure on the board and asking for support. “The individual opposing me has every right to do so,” he wrote. “However, does he have the understanding of the inner workings of ABC, the experience to deal with some of the most important advertisers and advertising agency chief executives from the top organizations in the U.S. today?”
ABC’s board has 36 seats in total, 19 of which are held by advertisers and agencies, and the rest of which belong to newspaper and magazine companies. According to a source with strong ties to ABC, board members running for reelection go unopposed almost without exception. That Rock saw fit to contest Armour’s seat is a sign of how frustrated many circulation executives are with the balance of power within the ABC. “If you’d had different representation over the past 15 years, you would have had a lot more mutual respect [between publishers and advertisers],” claimed the source. “You wouldn’t have had all these scandals.”
Nevertheless, Armour’s board seat appears safe. According to the ABC source, almost all the big publishing companies, including Time Inc., Hearst and Hachette Filipacchi, will cast their votes for him, meaning Rock, who is not well known in the industry, would need near-unanimous support from small publishers to win. Besides, added the source, with new rules governing sponsored subscriptions already in place, changing the magazine industry’s representation would have little effect. “There’s nothing to argue about at this point. The publishers have made their bed. The advertisers have the upper hand.”
Neither Rock nor Armour responded to requests for comment.
— Jeff Bercovici
FAST TIMES: Teen People’s new managing editor, Lori Majewski, said her goal is to turn the magazine into “a monthly that thinks like a weekly.” One easy way to do that: Hire a bunch of former colleagues from her days as executive editor of Us Weekly. Jeremy Helligar, who left Us last year to become a senior editor at Entertainment Weekly, is making an intra-Time Inc. transition to become deputy editor in charge of features, and Shirley Halperin, a staff editor at Us, has signed on as West Coast editor. Halperin replaces Lauren Tabach-Bank, who left last month to head up Celebrity Living’s West Coast bureau.
Majewski is also trying to up Teen People’s metabolism more directly, by accelerating the turnaround time on news stories. When she took over a month ago, Hurricane Katrina had just hit New Orleans. Her staff informed her that it would be too late to get coverage of the disaster into the November issue, which was set to close in a week. “I was like, ‘Do you know how much you can do in a week?'” she recalled. The story appears on page 102.