'Essence' Redesigns, Transitions To Bimonthly Schedule

Essence has redesigned its magazine as it gears up to celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, shifting its publishing schedule from monthly to six issues a year.

The format, which focuses on the lifestyles of black women, will transition to double-issues distributed bimonthly, starting with the January/February 2020 issue.

Essence will also produce four special-edition, newsstand-only book-a-zines throughout the year, beginning in 2020.  

The switch to the new schedule and format “will enable the brand to deepen its content offerings not only in the magazine, but across our digital and social platforms and our live events,” stated Essence Chief Content and Creative Officer MoAna Luu. 

Newsstand pricing is $7.99 for the rest of 2019. It will go up to $9.99, starting in 2020 for the double issues.

Essence says there will be up to 80 additional pages per issue, with new columns in the Fashion and Beauty sections.

The Culture section has expanded to include fine arts and "explore the contributions of Black creatives from around the world."

A new Living section will focus on travel, home, food and drink, tech and parties, including recaps of the top trending social events worldwide.

“We have always responded to the diverse and evolving needs of the community of Black women we serve with the urgency, quality and understanding they deserve, and that remains our focus in everything we do — to test, learn and grow with the community that grows with us,” stated Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications.  

Most of the changes to Essence took effect in the September global fashion issue, which hit newsstands on Friday.

“The redesigned magazine will also feature interactive pages that translate across digital platforms, extending the magazine’s exclusive cover stories and in-depth features to Essence podcasts and video series for bonus content and experiences,” Luu stated.

The cover features tennis player, activist and entrepreneur Serena Williams.

“We are making significant investments to innovate and elevate our magazine experience," Ebanks added.

Starting with the September issue, Essence will be more widely available internationally, including throughout London and the Caribbean, South Africa, Nigeria, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Brazil, Bermuda and Germany.

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