Saturday, 6 September 2008

A magazine for the rich (and lucrative ads)

Just in case you missed it, here below is the NYT article on the WSJ's magazine.

It makes reference to Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Journal, proceeding 'to make a veiled swipe at T magazine'.

O.K. then, so what was this veiled swipe? Can't the NYT journalist tell us? He manages to do so regarding Thomson's comments on the FT magazine (spot on, incidentally).

(BTW: I received my T magazine in the post yesterday. I had a skim. Look, I understand, but some of the writing - no, actually quite alot of the writing - could be submitted to Private Eye's Psued's Corner. Pages of it. The 'perfume plant' - I can't think of his name but it's sure to be something like Horacio - is off this planet and badly needs to be reeled in.)

Funnily enough, only last week an ex-IHT employee suggested to me that the future of the IHT would be best assured as a glossy weekly.

I don't agree, that's not what I would like to see happen as a reader of the IHT but selling (even more) ads for the very rich could, as I have said, be a more central component in subsidising my daily IHT habit.

But ads = content decisions, at the NYT and the WSJ and the IHT. All this talk of chinese walls in American newspapers between business and edit is baloney, that finished a long time ago now.

The ad director tells the publisher he can sell a 8 page fashion supplement? Edit will come up with an 8 page fashion supplement just like that.

A magazine for the rich (and lucrative ads)

Selling any print advertising these days means sailing against the wind, but as some categories battle a gale, the safest harbor is in ads for luxury consumer products.
That is the theory behind WSJ., the new magazine from The Wall Street Journal, which was unveiled to reporters Wednesday and will be delivered to many subscribers Saturday.
It joins an increasingly crowded field of magazines unabashedly celebrating wealth and consumption, all trying to take advantage of the healthiest part of a shrinking print advertising pool. And it is the latest in a series of bids by The Journal to capture a bigger piece of the consumer ad market and lessen its traditional dependence on ads aimed at businesses.
At just over 100 pages, the first issue of WSJ. has 51 advertisers, mostly of the type publications covet: high-end makers of clothes, handbags and other accessories, with brand names like Hermès, Audemars Piguet and Dior. Executives at The Journal said that some had signed on for two years.

"And 19 advertisers are new to The Wall Street Journal," said Michael Rooney, chief revenue officer of Dow Jones & Co., the division of the News Corp. that publishes The Journal.
In this climate, 51 advertisers is "a very solid number, a respectable number," said Roberta Garfinkle, senior vice president and director of print strategy at TargetCast TCM, a media agency.
"It's a smart move on The Journal's part to go after that luxury retail marketplace that they really haven't had," she said, despite the growing number of magazines chasing essentially the same ads. "What remains to be seen is their execution."
The Journal starts with a major advantage in that it can offer advertisers the wealthiest readership of any American newspaper. An even more affluent subgroup of subscribers will receive the magazine, Rooney said, with an average household income of $265,000.
Out of The Journal's U.S. Saturday circulation of about 2 million, 800,000 copies — those sold by subscription or at newsstands in 17 large markets — will include WSJ. In addition, 160,000 copies will be distributed on Fridays outside the United States. The magazine begins as a quarterly, with plans to go monthly next year.
Executives would not say how much The Journal had invested in WSJ. or when the company expected it to break even.
For several years, advertising for luxury goods has outpaced mass-market and business-to-business ads, and a number of publishers have tried to capitalize on that trend, including The New York Times, which introduced T, a style magazine, in 2004.
As the economy has struggled over the last year, the divide between high-end ads and others has widened. Ad pages in United States magazines fell 7.4 percent in the first half of 2008, according to the Magazine Publishers Association, but some categories appealing to affluent consumers — high-end apparel and other retail, and hotels and resorts — were roughly flat.

Newspapers have fared worse, with advertising revenue down almost 8 percent last year, and about 13 percent in the first half of 2008. The Journal does not make figures public, but executives there have said that ad revenue is down sharply this year.
In this decade, The Journal has taken several steps to broaden its identity as a publication primarily about business news, read mostly by men, to win more consumer ads. It added the softer Personal Journal and Weekend Journal sections, and in 2006, began publishing on Saturdays.
Since being taken over last December by News Corp. and its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, the paper has put greater focus on general-interest news, including politics and international news.
WSJ. resembles How To Spend It, the weekend magazine of The Financial Times, a Journal competitor, with slightly less focus on consumption — though there is plenty of that, from canine couture to face cream to trench coats. It aims a bit more for features articles, with items on, among other things, business executives, philanthropy, feuding over the America's Cup and the workout regimen of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, a piece planned well before she became Senator John McCain's running mate.
Tina Gaudoin, editor in chief of WSJ., said her magazine was less about how to spend it and more about "how to live it."
Reflecting the magazine's high style, its unveiling was held at the Pierpont Morgan Library over a breakfast that included smoked salmon, caviar and raspberry parfait, with a digital slide show and executives reading from teleprompters.
Robert Thomson, managing editor of The Journal, poked a little fun at the pomp, saying, "This being convention season, histrionics are the order of the day."

Thomson, like Murdoch, likes to take a few shots at the competition, in keeping with the rough-and-tumble of the British newspaper industry — he was the editor of The Times of London — and Wednesday was no exception.
Referring to the industry's woes, he said, "We don't have the fetid air of failure at Dow Jones," and proceeded to take a veiled swipe at T magazine. And as for the magazine of The Financial Times, he said, "How to Spend It is like a BMW 3 series, and this is a BMW 7 series."

International Herald Tribune
New York Times

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