NEW YORK — In the magazine industry, fall is launch season, and this year is no exception. Condé Nast Publications and Hachette Filipacchi Media both unveiled plans for major launches on Wednesday.
Condé Nast (a unit of Advance Publications, parent of WWD) said it will start a Chinese edition of Vogue in September 2005, while Hachette will introduce a low-priced women’s magazine called For Me this November.
Chinese Vogue marks the first foray by Condé Nast into that country’s huge and relatively untapped magazine market. Published under a “copyright cooperation agreement” with a Chinese company called China Pictorial, it will have a circulation of between 100,000 and 1 million, said Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International.
“Publishing in China is not like publishing in any other country,” said Newhouse. Despite the liberalization of many economic sectors, he said, “The media is one of the areas which is still very closely controlled. All the local publishers are in reality organs of the Chinese government.”
Before moving forward with the launch, Condé Nast had to secure a permit from the country’s General Administration for Press and Publication. The agency finally approved a batch of permits this year, including Condé Nast’s, after a three-year embargo.
The next hurdle is hiring an editorial staff. Quality journalists are hard to come by in a country with no free press. Condé Nast’s solution is to create them: The company recently hosted a training seminar on the island of Hainan for 75 journalists and government officials, said Newhouse.
Over at Hachette, president and chief executive Jack Kliger made the announcement that the firm is putting its two cents into the budget lifestyle category. For Me will debut on Nov. 9 and will sell for $1.45, two pennies less than Time Inc.’s recently launched All You. The Hachette version is also aimed at a slightly younger audience — 25- to 35-year-old women.
Jane Chesnutt, a Hachette senior vice president, group publishing director, and editor in chief at Woman’s Day, oversaw the first issue. “What we found in our research,” said Chesnutt, “is that there isn’t anything out there meeting the needs of this particular woman, at this moment in her life.” Describing For Me’s content, Chesnutt added, “There are fashion and beauty components, career issues, decorating, food.” And unlike All You, which eschews celebrity coverage, For Me will add Hollywood to the mélange.
“There’s going to be a celebrity on the cover,” said Chesnutt. “But the celebrity component is in keeping with the title. It’s information on how this person solves problems, what beauty products she uses, how she deals with relationships — information readers can take and use in their own lives.”