Byline: Lisa Lockwood

NEW YORK — Advance Publications announced Monday that it is shifting Details magazine from Conde Nast to Fairchild Publications.
Under the plan, announced by S.I. Newhouse Jr., chairman of Advance, the magazine will suspend publication after the May issue and will be re-launched by Fairchild in October. Fairchild, like Conde Nast, is a division of Advance, and is the parent of WWD.
According to Advance, Fairchild will reposition Details as a national men’s fashion magazine and the consumer counterpart to DNR, Fairchild’s business newspaper for the men’s wear industry.
Mary Berner, president and chief executive officer of Fairchild, and Patrick McCarthy, chairman and editorial director, will oversee the advertising and editorial direction of the new Details.
“Fairchild is known as a company whose editorial premise is being first in style. This fits nicely with our other properties, including Jane and W, and we’re looking forward to giving it our best shot,” said Berner.
“Our goal is to create a provocative, stimulating fashion magazine for young men,” added McCarthy. “Over the next several weeks, we will be assembling the editorial team to do just that.”
Steven T. Florio, president and chief executive officer of Conde Nast, informed some 75 members of the Details staff Monday morning about the impending change.
Mark Golin, who was recruited as Details’ editor in chief in February 1999 from a similar post at Maxim, will be leaving the publication. Linda Mason, publisher of Details, will be reassigned to a new post within Conde Nast.
Fairchild is expected to appoint both a new editor and publisher of Details shortly. The new Details will be based at Fairchild headquarters at 7 West 34th Street here.
“Much of the staff will have an opportunity to meet with Patrick [McCarthy] and Mary [Berner] to see if they’ll move to the new Details,” said a Conde Nast spokesman. They will also be told of other opportunities within Conde Nast and Fairchild. Those that aren’t reassigned will leave Friday, March 24 with a severance package, she added.
The spokeswoman noted that subscriptions will be extended four extra months to compensate for the four months that Details won’t be published.
Faced with formidable competition in the men’s market, Details has been hit on the advertising and circulation fronts the past year.
Details’ ad pages slid 22 percent in 1999, and for the first four months of 2000, were off 17.9 percent, according to Media Industry Newsletter. For the second half of 1999, newsstand sales — a key barometer of a magazine’s health — were off 15 percent.
Founded in the Eighties, Details has been through several incarnations since it was conceived by Annie Flanders as a downtown culture magazine. She and a group of investors sold the publication to Advance in January 1988, and it became part of Conde Nast in June, 1990.
James Truman took over the helm in February 1990 and repositioned it as a cutting edge, young men’s lifestyle book in September, 1990. Truman remained until February, 1994, and circulation grew from 100,000 to over 300,000. In 1993, Ad Age named Details its Magazine of the Year, and Adweek named it No. 1 on the hottest magazines in America with a circulation under 500,000.
Since then, the magazine has been through a series of editors, including John Leland, Joe Dolce, Michael Caruso and now Golin.
The magazine’s rate base is currently 500,000.
“Unless we have a circulation of 700,000, we can’t make a business of it [at Conde Nast],” said Truman, now editorial director of Conde Nast. “When the magazine tried to grow beyond 500,000, it hasn’t worked,” he said.
“In the climate of what other men’s magazines have been doing — the large magazines — it’s not something we do particularly well or are comfortable doing,” said Truman. “We want to return to our original roots as a fashion-driven edgy magazine.”

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