Show business types may be curious about the kinds of industry scoops they’ll get from the soon-to-be revamped Hollywood Reporter. But those in publishing and journalism circles are more interested in something else: the reception of the Reporter’s slick new weekly magazine.
As most other magazines are cutting back, the Reporter is launching a glossy large-format weekly magazine geared to the fashion-celebrity-lifestyle market. Think W, Vanity Fair or Vogue.
The dramatic change to the paper product – it will reserve pages for feature stories and photo spreads – follows years of debilitating layoffs, plummeting ad sales and competition from a new generation of hard-hitting entertainment blogs.
But turning a trade magazine into a fashion-lifestyle-celebrity publication is a particular challenge.
“The question is if they can make the jump from subscription trade to newsstand gem,” said Dan Weikel, managing partner at Insignia Brand Partners, an advertising and PR firm. “Getting space on the stands isn’t easy.”
The magazine is part of a multipronged approach. The 80-year-old Reporter soon will stop sending out a daily newspaper; subscribers will get an e-mail blast with breaking news every morning. Beginning Nov. 3 subscribers will also get the new weekly magazine.
An annual subscription will cost $250, down from the current $300. The magazine’s newsstand price will be $6.
The new magazine will move away from its former diet of studio ads and turn to luxury consumer ads for products such as vehicles, liquor and designer clothing.
But with its history as a trade magazine, it could be difficult for the Reporter to attract a new kind of advertiser, said Samir Husni, director of University of Mississippi’s Magazine Innovation Center. He said that with the onslaught of celebrity news in print and TV, the magazine will have to prove itself to both readers and ad buyers.
“Now that we’re bombarded by Hollywood, what are they offering?” he said. “They have to ensure advertisers that there are fish in the pond where they’re going to go fishing.”
The Reporter plans to expand its news coverage in order to appeal to wealthy influencers instead of only show business executives and insiders. This means adding articles on food, fashion, society and real estate. To do this, the Reporter has been aggressively hiring staff.
Sharon Waxman, editor in chief of entertainment website TheWrap.com, said a number of her staff has been tapped for jobs, but they rejected the overtures.
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