Clare McHugh, who has been working with Time Inc. since January on Sports Illustrated spinoff SI for Women, approached corporate Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine with an idea for a new title aimed at women over 30. Mr. Pearlstine skirted the normal path for magazine development at Time Inc. to find money for a prototype issue.
"It was an interesting enough idea that I thought it warranted further development as a prototype so we can see what it would look like," said Mr. Pearlstine, adding that the concept is "aimed more at a pyschographic than a demographic slice of the women's market.
BEYOND 'GLAMOUR,' 'COSMO'
Ms. McHugh described the magazine as being "for people who are past reading Glamour and Cosmopolitan. It's over that crowd." She denied rumblings it is modeled after Maxim, which has found success in the U.S. with an editorial formula that combines sex, beer and sophomoric humor.
Of Mr. Pearlstine's support, Ms. McHugh said: "Norm has been very generous and encouraging. He wants to do something fresh and sexy and fun, like I do. So now we are trying to see what that would be."
Time Inc. used to fund start-ups at the corporate level. But under CEO Don Logan, the company now operates as a group of decentralized business units. Each is headed by a president, responsible for a bottom line and for funding line extensions and launches. People, for example, has spun off a number of titles, including In Style, Teen People and People en Espanol.
These days, it is difficult to start new titles outside of those units.
"We haven't figured out how to start a new idea and launch it without the support of one of the presidents," said one insider.
NO CHAMPION YET
Mr. Pearlstine did find corporate development funds for Ms. McHugh's prototype. But he has yet to seek out a champion for the project from within one of the business units.
"It's very preliminary. We're not at the point where we would be ready to take it to the business side," Mr. Pearlstine said.
Time Inc.'s People Group, headed by President Ann Moore, has several other women's titles currently in development, including an In Style spinoff focused on homes and another on weddings. Susan Wyland, former editor of Martha Stewart Living, is overseeing those projects. Both are much further along than Ms.