Conde Nast Preps Special Interest Pubs
Conde Nast will produce as many as half a dozen special-interest publications bearing the brand of familiar consumer magazines exclusively for newsstand sale later this year. Ranging in price from $9.99 to $12.99, these special-interest publications will be produced under the banners of big Conde Nast titles, including Vogue, Glamour, GQ, Bon Appétit and The New Yorker. The first of the special-interest pubs, "Glamour Do's and Don't's," should hit the newsstands sometime later this summer.
Previously, Conde Nast has generally shied away from "one-off" special-interest publications, preferring to focus its editorial and business resources on the company's prestigious core print products. However, over the last few years, the strategy has paid off for other big publishers like Time Inc., which has published a number of special-interest titles under the Time and People brands devoted to topics like the late entertainer Michael Jackson, Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Haiti earthquake.
The special-interest publications are the latest in a series of brand extensions and new products from the high-end consumer magazine publisher. Last week Conde Nast said it was reviving the Gourmet brand as a special iPhone app called Gourmet Live, feeding off the venerable-but-defunct food title's huge content archive. Gourmet Live is available for smartphones, including the iPhone and BlackBerry, as well as phones using Google's Android operating system and e-readers like Apple's new iPad. The previous week Parade and Conde Nast announced the launch of new newspaper-distributed monthly food magazine Dash, drawing on content from Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Epicurious, as well as content from Parade. In April, Conde relaunched the "Epicurious Recipes and Shopping List" as "Cook's Companion."
WaPo Brushes Off 2 Newsweek Bidders
While recent auctions of print magazines have been noteworthy for the tepid reaction of potential buyers, the Newsweek auction can't be going that badly, judging by the latest developments. The Washington Post Co. dismissed two different bids for the magazine on essentially editorial grounds. One bid -- from the publisher of Newsmax, a conservative newsweekly -- will not be considered because of that organization's ideological agenda; WaPo claims that Newsweek is politically neutral, and wants to keep it that way. WaPo is also showing the door to potential bidder Thane Ritchie, an Illinois hedge fund manager also known for his strong political views. Overall, about a dozen bidders have expressed interest in the beleaguered newsweekly.
Smithsonian Celebrates 40th with Free Digital Issue
Smithsonian is celebrating its 40th birthday with a promotional download offer for its interactive July/August 2010 issue. The issue, which looks ahead with articles on the theme "40 Things You Need to Know About the Next 40 Years," includes contributions from President Barack Obama ("Why I'm Optimistic"), entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, philanthropist Melinda French Gates, director James Cameron, comedian George Lopez and others. It will be distributed via Smithsonian and through Zinio, the world's largest newsstand, for download on computer, iPhone or iPad. Readers can visit here to receive the interactive edition as a free download from the Zinio newsstand through Aug. 31 or download the Zinio application in iTunes through July 20 and automatically receive the issue as part of the download.
Bloomberg Names Casey Circ Head
Bloomberg named Alec Casey head of circulation, a new role. Casey joins from Hearst Magazines, where he served as vice president of consumer marketing. He is responsible for driving circulation at Bloomberg Businessweek and executing circulation and consumer marketing strategies. Previously, Casey worked at Time Inc., serving as consumer marketing director at Sports Illustrated For Kids and before that, held numerous marketing roles at Sports Illustrated. He also held positions at Reader's Digest and Booz Allen & Hamilton.
Playboy Downsizes Again
Playboy Enterprises shed even more employees over the last year, according to Folio:, with the payroll shrinking 12% from 651 people at the end of the first quarter of 2009 to 573 people at the end of the first quarter of 2010. In the company's first-quarter earnings announcement, CEO Scott Flanders said a broad, ongoing reorganization and restructuring will eventually "transition Playboy to a brand management company and in so doing, to more cost-effectively monetize our powerful brand and assets."