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THE MARCH READ: A new editor in chief gives publishers a new selling point for their magazines. This year, four new editor in chiefs are sending out their important March issues, so what kind of bump did Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, WSJ. and T: The New York Times Style Magazine manage to achieve?
Among the two Hearst Corp.-owned monthlies, Marie Claire, under publisher Nancy Berger Cardone and new editor in chief Anne Fulenwider, built on last year’s successful issue and was up 15 percent for 207 pages, the magazine will report to Publishers Information Bureau.
Cosmo, which is now led by Marie Claire’s former editor Joanna Coles, and longtime publisher Donna Kalajian Lagani, saw a hefty increase as well — 13 percent to 130 pages. Traditionally, March hasn’t been as important to Cosmo as to the other titles, but Coles, who brought high fashion to Marie Claire, is likely to steer the magazine in that direction.
For March, Coles did three covers with Miley Cyrus, who’d previously been a winner for her at Marie Claire — her March 2011 cover was that magazine’s third-best seller of the year.
The luxury style magazines from the daily papers are seeing strong fashion issues, which will be out Feb. 16 for WSJ. and Feb. 17 for T The New York Times Style Magazine. T, now under Deborah Needleman, surged 23 percent to 132.5 pages, surely in no small part thanks to the buzz surrounding Needleman’s hire. WSJ., now run by Kristina O’Neill, formerly of Harper’s Bazaar, saw a 29 percent spike, to 65 pages.
At the other major fashion titles, March is a mixed bag, though the news is mostly good. Vogue is again a behemoth with 457 pages, up almost 3.5 percent. No word yet on who landed the cover, although if history is a guide, it’ll likely be a pop star — Adele and Lady Gaga took the last two.
Not too far behind is InStyle, lately Time Inc.’s only reliable bright spot — the issue, which features Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, and Mila Kunis, stars of an upcoming revisionist version of “The Wizard of Oz” — has 361 pages, up 4 percent. Also at Time: People StyleWatch, which has Blake Lively on its cover, has 172 pages, up 27 percent.
Elle, now officially Hearst’s biggest business behind Cosmo, has 338 pages, up 7 percent. On the editorial front, Robbie Myers and Ariel Foxman are also competitive — Elle has snagged Samira Nasr, InStyle’s style director, to be its new fashion director. Carol Smith continues to tell a good story at Harper’s Bazaar, which was up 21 percent to 330 pages.
W, under new publisher, Lucy Kriz, reports 210 pages, up 3 percent.
Teen magazines are seeing surprising growth — Teen Vogue has 124 pages, up 30 percent, while its Hearst rival, Seventeen, saw a larger margin of growth, 66 percent, bringing its page count to 92.
The news was less flattering at Town & Country, which lost publisher Valerie Salembier in September and is now run by Jennifer Levene Bruno — it’s down 13 percent to 75 pages. Glamour is also down, 12 percent at 161 pages, but the magazine was coming off the strong numbers of its redesign issue last March, whose overall page count was the largest in four years. Separately, it is also publishing a supplement aimed at Hispanic readers, Glam Belleza Latina, which has 27 ad pages. Former Lucky publisher Marcy Bloom closed March with 103 pages, down three percent.
“Coming after the Christmas season, which wasn’t so good, I’m pleasantly surprised,” said Steve Cohn, editor in chief of Media Industry Newsletter, which tracks ad pages. “The numbers show domestic fashion advertising is still strong, continuing from 2012 when fashion was strong but the rest of the magazine sector was weak.”
The trend wasn’t lost on Wired publisher Howard Mittman, who has been pursuing brands that wouldn’t normally advertise with the technology bible. Fashion contributed to a 16 percent bump in pages in the March issue, which clocks in at 52 — Hermès and Ralph Lauren have the back covers in March and April.
“We recognize, just to be candid, we’re not going to be going after a significant amount of runway business. But we felt like we had a really strong case to hang on to our endemic base of advertisers while also using that as a platform for other areas, like fashion,” he said.