Free magazine targets affluent in the Big Apple

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New York is the playground for the affluent, and now a freebie magazine wants to be everywhere they are.

Manhattan Style is a new magazine from Joseph DeCristofaro, founding publisher of Hamptons Country. With complimentary distribution in more than 500 luxury locations in New York, it targets wealthy, educated men and women ages 26 to 50 with an average annual income of about $350,000. Initially, it will be published every other month by Faro Media, with a switch to monthly planned for June 2001.

"Our readers will demand the finest in goods and services, and we will provide that for them," said Mr. DeCristofaro, who is publisher, editor and chairman of the venture set to launch Nov. 15. "Our readership is based on where we distribute -- in the finest spas, hotels, health clubs, restaurants, apartment buildings, galleries, retail shops and in VIP mailings to the city's most influential decisionmakers."

While potential readers could well afford to pay for the magazine, Mr. DeCristofaro stressed the key for Manhattan Style is distribution that reaches its target audience, noting that complimentary distribution gives the advantage of having unlimited marketing capacity. "We will have replenished circulation, distributing magazines to each location several times a week. In this way, our advertisers will receive a full month's exposure with every issue."

ADDING INVESTORS

The publication is currently backed by private investors, and Mr. DeCristofaro said it is "in the process of establishing further strategic partners and investors with New York industry leaders." Faro is also planning to launch three or four more similar magazines next year in California and New Mexico.

For this launch, Mr. DeCristofaro is teaming with luxury market veteran and Faro Vice Chairman Jack Laschever -- former publisher of Conde Nast Publications' GQ and American Express Publishing Corp.'s Departures -- and Cindi Cook, the former managing editor of Hamptons Country and New York editor for Nylon's launch. Ms. Cook is managing editor of Manhattan Style.

Circulation, at 50,000, is expected to grow quickly. The magazine will also be available by subscription. A color page costs $8,000.

LUXURY BRAND

Luxury brands currently advertising in the title include Christian Dior, LVMH/Prada's Fendi and Sara Lee Corp.'s Coach, along with retailer Saks Fifth Avenue. Other style-setters on board are Cartier, Ferrari North America, Ford Motor Co.'s Aston Martin, Land Rover North America, Ralph Lauren, Rolls Royce's Bentley, Rolex Watches USA and Whitbread Beer Co.'s Stella Artois.

In addition, Manhattan Style is targeting local advertisers, such as realtors, designers and interior decorators. The magazine will possibly offer different rate structures for these advertisers.

Among the magazine's highlighted editorial content departments are "Manhattan Guide," to review new shop openings; restaurant sections featuring star chef Charlie Palmer of Aureole restaurant and Bryan Miller, former restaurant critic at The New York Times; high-fashion layouts; party pages; and destinations.

Mr. DeCristofaro is no stranger to the free distribution model. He founded Hamptons Country in 1995 as a complimentary publication geared toward the free-wheeling and free-spending Hamptons crowd. The magazine was purchased in 1998 by Marvin Shanken, owner of Cigar Aficionado and Wine Spectator.

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