The move will thicken the already mad competition for fashion advertisers, complicate sales for similar brand extensions such as Cosmopolitan Style & Beauty, and provide another platform for the already formidable People brand.
It was 2002 when People Style Watch first emerged from the pages of the People mothership, where it was and continues to be a regular feature, as a single issue sold only at newsstands. Last year it appeared three times.
"It's evolved a lot over time," said Paul Caine, People's publisher. "Each year we've taken a look at the frequency. We entered this year doing four issues; we added a fifth because of the demand we saw in the first half. After looking at the continued demand, we decided to increase the frequency next year to 10 issues."
That also means People Style Watch will offer subscriptions for the first time, seeking just under $20 for one year. But Mr. Caine said he expected the bulk of the title's sales to come from newsstand, where it has thrived. The summer 2006 issue, which included about 34 ad pages, sold close to 600,000 copies on the newsstand, he said. The original People magazine reported selling an average of 1.5 million copies per issue over the first half of the year, part of its 3.8 million total paid circulation, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Next year the full-fledged People Style Watch will offer a rate base for the first time, set at 550,000 copies.
Competitors for fashion advertising, though, seem to be proliferating far more quickly than fashion ads.
This week's Fashion Rocks concert, part of Conde Nast Publications' annual fall-fashion program, is one such competitor, as are most of Conde Nast's year-round titles. Hearst Magazines is upping its presence with a series of events this September under the rubric "30 Days of Fashion." Bauer Publishing's fast-growing Life & Style Weekly is increasingly chasing fashion advertisers. And individual titles from Hearst's Town & Country to New York magazine to Martha Stewart Living are going after pages once more or less fated for books like Vogue, Elle and GQ.
Magazine advertising for apparel and accessories, meanwhile, totaled 12,298 ad pages from January through July, up just 2.2% over the equivalent period a year earlier, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Apparel and accessories contributed 24,380 ad pages to magazine publishers last year, essentially unchanged from 2004.
Fills a void
Mr. Caine said People Style Watch fills a void in the market for accessible fashion coverage. "I'm not convinced that every fashion and beauty magazine is perfectly right for the consumer right now."
Neither is Christopher O'Connor, senior VP at MPG, who said some advertisers may prefer a more narrowly targeted title than People Style Watch. "I'm not convinced it makes sense to be all things to everyone in this category."