THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT: The latter half of 2004 was not a good time to be an entertainment magazine, judging from figures released Monday by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Spin, Blender and Premiere all recorded large drops in newsstand sales, although all managed to meet their circulation guarantees to advertisers.
Vanity Fair reported average single-copy sales of 335,912, a 22.5 percent drop from the same period in 2003. Its total circulation was off 5.4 percent, to 1.12 million.
Rolling Stone has been without a managing editor since June, when Ed Needham left to take over Maxim. Maybe it’s time to hire a replacement: Rolling Stone’s newsstand average was down 15.8 percent, to 134,303. Total circulation dipped 1.5 percent to 1.27 million.
Wenner Media general manager Kent Brownridge noted that newsstand sales make up less than 15 percent of Rolling Stone’s total. “This is not something we’re going to jump out the window over,” he said.
As for the other titles, Blender was down 15.3 percent on the newsstand, to 100,624 per issue, Spin slid 26.1 percent, to 57,978, and Premiere was off 9.8 percent, to 80,380.
Oddly, two magazines that were up in both single-copy sales and total circulation somehow managed to miss rate base. Organic Style defaulted on its 750,000 rate base by 2.7 percent despite an 18.7 percent surge in total circulation. A spokeswoman said the magazine, which raised its rate base by 25 percent last March, failed to account for the effects of a dramatic September redesign, which temporarily confused newsstand buyers.
Playboy missed its 3.15 million rate base by 3.1 percent. A spokeswoman said the shortfall was a result of the magazine’s decision to cut back on agent-sold subscriptions.
Among fashion titles, Elle posted the biggest newsstand gain, climbing 23.9 percent to 297,867. Its total circulation rose 4.7 percent to 1.08 million. Vogue was down 5.9 percent on the newsstand, to 463,262, and flat overall at 1.26 million. Harper’s Bazaar was down 3.7 percent on the newsstand, to 177,332, and down 2.1 percent overall, to 715,032. W was off 16 percent in single-copy sales, averaging 45,900, and down 1.9 percent overall, to 461,987.
In Style was off 6.8 percent on the newsstand, averaging 849,740, but more than made up for it on the subscription side, posting a total gain of 4.6 percent. Its overall circulation was 1.73 million. Lucky broke the 1 million mark for the first time, with an average circulation of 1.04 million (up 13 percent vs. ’03). Its single-copy average, at 291,933, was up 15.1 percent.
Vogue, W, Lucky and Vanity Fair are all part of Advance Publications Inc., parent of WWD. — Jeff Bercovici
DRUGS ARE FOR KIDS: Keep A Child Alive is hoping to capitalize on a little controversy with its new ad campaign, which features Alicia Keys; models Naomi Campbell, Carol Alt and Maggie Rizer; Alan Cumming; Tyson Beckford; designer Daryl Kerrigan, and others wearing T-shirts and tank tops that say “DRUG DEALER” on them. A URL directs readers to becomeadrugdealer.com, where users can click on tags like “drugs for kids,” “cartels,” “trafficking” and “recruit.” Only after reading the small hand-lettered type does the purpose of the site become clear. Becomeadrugdealer.com is part of an advocacy campaign to provide antiretroviral drugs to children in Africa with HIV and AIDS.
“This is for the underground, to catch people’s attention,” said Elizabeth Santiso, director of communications for Keep a Child Alive, which so far has placed the Alicia Keys ads in the February issue of Vibe and the premiere spring issue of new publication Vibe Vixen. A wider rollout is still in discussion with the organization’s agency, Fallon Worldwide. “AIDS is a pandemic,” said Santiso. “If someone thinks this campaign is shocking, I say, ‘Well don’t you find it shocking that there’s a tsunami in the AIDS world every three weeks, and no one’s doing anything about it?’”
Drug dealing and its related social ills is evidently not as pressing a problem. — Sara James