It was a massive rewrite for the Hollywood Reporter: move breaking news online, kill off the daily trade paper and replace it with a glossy, celebrity-filled weekly magazine.
The goal was to attract advertisers from outside Hollywood. And it worked.
“We’ve been successful breaking through,” said Lynne Segall, publisher of the Reporter.
A June edition of the Reporter had 59 full-page ads, including a cover wrap and a fold-out insert, compared with the 24 full-page ads the Business Journal counted in the magazine in early 2011.
Rival trade publication Variety followed the same script. Variety shut down its daily print edition, moved breaking news online and invested in a high-end weekly that launched in March.
It’s a rebuke to the notion that print is dead. Instead, the magazines have re-invested in ink. They’re publishing fewer but more expensive editions to lure a wealthy, urbane readership.
At first, nobody was quite sure if the Reporter’s audience – and advertisers – would go for it. But now, Segall said revenue at the Reporter will be about $50 million this year, compared with about $30 million the magazine was generating in 2010.
The numbers can’t be independently verified. Also, the revenue includes lines of business such as events as well as paid circulation and ads on the website – but the largest part comes from selling display ads on paper, she said.
“Print continues to be the main driver for our revenue,” Segall said.
The publication is owned by New York financial services firm Guggenheim Partners and has about 160 employees, according to its masthead, including international bureaus and contributing editors.
Many of the ads now come from luxury brands the magazine had wanted to lure when it announced the shift. For example, the Reporter in November published a supplement that featured timepieces of actor Don Cheadle and TV host Bill Maher, among others. Segall said the edition was “editorially driven,” but it did bring in a big dose of watch ads.
Variety is tweaking the format. Like the Reporter, its new weekly uses plenty of photography printed on high-quality paper to create an aesthetically pleasing print product.
But while the print edition features the occasional celebrity cover shot, the stories inside have kept a focus on news more relevant to entertainment industry insiders and executives, rather than a consumer crowd. For example, there is a story in a June issue on how “Iron Man 3” was marketed to Chinese audiences.
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