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IN WITH THE NEW: The publishing world is all about what’s new and what’s next, so 2012 should be right up its alley. There are lots of changes ahead in Media Land. Here, a brief summary of what lies ahead (but get ready for those surprises that no doubt lurk around the corner).
• After a tough year at newsstand (sales dropped 17 percent through October), Glamour is planning a major overhaul of the magazine. The new Glamour will debut in March, with new columns and contributors. Insiders say to expect a more trendy and pop-culture-driven magazine. Not one, but two firms have been tapped to assist design director Geraldine Hessler: a design firm run by Michael Angelo, the former art director of Nylon, and Triboro Design, run by the husband and wife duo David Heasty and Stefanie Weigler.
• Glenda Bailey is plotting big changes for Harper’s Bazaar, with a reboot planned for the March issue. In addition to increasing in size (think Town & Country), Robin Derrick of Spring Studios has been hired to assist in a redesign. Early chatter indicates that the magazine will be unrecognizable from what it looks like today. Derrick, former creative director of British Vogue, will work with Bazaar’s creative director Stephen Gan on the revamp.
• Wired Magazine already has undergone its redesign. Led by creative director Brandon Kavulla, it relies on “easy-to-scan geometry and forceful use of bold type and letterforms,” according to an editor’s letter. This is how Kavulla, a self-described “type junkie,” describes it: “Rather than simply changing the section logo or the bar at the top of the page, I wanted to force the whole page to change.”
• In May, Brides will unveil a redesign from new editor in chief Anne Fulenwider. She joined the title in September, succeeding longtime editor Millie Martini Bratten.
• Will a few changes in the art department at Vanity Fair result in a new look for the magazine in 2012? Last month, editor Graydon Carter hired T, The New York Times Style Magazine’s senior photo editor Judith Puckett-Rinella to become photo director, and in September, Chris Dixon replaced longtime creative director David Harris.
Remember when models were replaced by actresses on the covers of magazines? These days, actresses are taking a backseat to reality stars such as Kim Kardashian for the covers of Glamour, Cosmopolitan and W. As WWD recently reported, the results have been mixed, but that hasn’t stopped American Media Inc.’s launch of Reality Weekly (the debut issue has Kardashian on the cover). It arrived on newsstands in late December with 500,000 copies, and in six weeks, that number will increase to one million. David Pecker, AMI’s chief executive officer, is betting that it will be a big hit, thanks to the $1.79 cost per issue. Check back here in a few weeks to see if he’s right.
Laura Lang, former head of digital marketing firm Digitas, was named Time Inc.’s ceo last month. Lang has no experience in publishing (a positive or a negative, depending on whom you talk to), and the industry is waiting to see what her first big move will be. Lang’s presence at Time Inc. clearly indicates that the company is looking to optimize its ability to serve marketers. The rest of her game plan remains uncertain, at least for now.
Get ready for a steady stream of stories about magazines and their new e-commerce initiatives. Last year, there were moves from InStyle, Elle, Vogue, Esquire and GQ, to name a few, and plenty more are in the hopper. Women’s Health launches its first Gilt Groupe sale on Friday, for example. Hearst is planning an e-commerce site tied to women’s fashion.
Magazine executives have expressed boundless optimism about the tablet and what it means for the future of magazines. And this was before Amazon’s Kindle Fire was released in November. “There’s going to be this fantastic trade war between Barnes & Noble and Amazon and Apple that’s going to be an enormous benefit for the magazine industry,” said Hearst president David Carey, at an event in October. “Right now, we have 25 million print subscriptions in our company. And that complexion could change. Maybe one day it will be 22 million in print and 6 or 7 million tablet.” Meanwhile, Condé Nast president Bob Sauerberg said the company would bring in $15 million through tablet subscriptions and advertising by the end of 2011. This year will see if the momentum gathers pace.
Finally, a look ahead to 2012 wouldn’t be complete without a few New Year’s resolutions.
Cosmopolitan’s editor in chief, Kate White, will continue her campaign to get Rachel McAdams on a cover. Apparently “The Notebook” actress isn’t interested, but White is upping the stakes this year, joking that “even if I have to give her my first-born son,” she’s willing to do anything. In between calls to McAdams, White said she will focus on getting 200,000 digital subscribers, another e-book bestseller and hit 10 million uniques on Cosmopolitan.com.
Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Marie Claire, is also tech-minded this year. She wants to learn to code HTML. After that, she’ll work on perfecting her martinis. “I tend to overshake them.” Coles, are you a fan of Bruce Lee? If so, perhaps you can share a few martinis over movies with Lucky’s Brandon Holley, whose only resolution is to watch Lee’s movies. “I’m newly and unexpectedly obsessed” said Holley.
Michele Promaulayko, from Women’s Health, can probably relate to Holley’s obsession, since she wants to learn how to meditate (Lee was a master of it). Promaulayko has hired a meditation coach to stay on track. “I’m determined not to fail.” But isn’t being anxious about succeeding at meditation a bad start?
Then there is Seventeen’s Ann Shoket, who picks one word each year and makes it her mantra. This year, it’s “brave.” “Being timid never gets you anything,” she said, which is a very Seventeen magazine kind of thing to say.
Martinis, movies and meditation did not make David Zinczenko’s list this year. "Most people make resolutions when they want to change direction in their lives, but I'm happy with the direction my life and work are going in. Given how many dumb things have happened in 2011 — from tweeting Weiners to the Congress that Couldn't to anything involving tigers (Tiger Moms, Tiger Blood, Tiger Woods) — I resolve to stick to basic, sound judgments. After all, the easiest way to win is to stop making yourself lose."