Wenner Media

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Disney may have saved Jann Wenner's bacon in `01 via a $35 million investment in the then-unsteady Us Weekly, but last year Editor in Chief Bonnie Fuller saved his whole damn hog. Under her, newsstand sales skyrocketed as Us Weekly safely cleared the 1 million circ level it had promised advertisers-and was forced to back off from-when it went weekly in March `00. (Ms. Fuller was also Ad Age's Editor of the Year, and references to her magazine now crop up in places like "Will & Grace.") In '02, Mr. Wenner remade all his titles, replacing the top editors at Rolling Stone and Men's Journal, bringing in ex-FHM Editor Ed Needham to remake Rolling Stone and former Rolling Stone Editor Bob Wallace at Men's Journal. In conceptual terms: Rolling Stone is looking laddie-ized; Men's Journal, which has had an all-but-invisible profile in recent times, looks now to become the prestige Wenner book. In practical terms, the bang (in buzz and sharply spiked newsstand sales) that the company got from Ms. Fuller's work almost at once simply hasn't yet happened for Us Weekly's sibs. Ad pages rose overall for the company in '02 (up 5.3%), thanks entirely to Us Weekly's 9.8% surge-both Rolling Stone and Men's Journal posted declines. Many strange things have happened in this magazine downturn, but that longtime company stepchild Us is now the top dog at Wenner-well, that's gotta be near the top of the list. Were it not for that title's strong performance, this would be a decidedly down year for Wenner.

Rating: 2.5 stars

Best performer:

Us Weekly

ad pages

up 9.8% to 1,069.3

circulation

up 18.5% to 1.1 million

Worst performer:

Men's Journal

ad pages

down 7.3% to 921.5

circulation

down 5.7% to 602,092

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