'WWD' accessorizes brand with new titles

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A number of trade publishing companies are using print magazine launches to bolster their presence in the consumer realm.

Case in point: Fairchild Publications' Women's Wear Daily, the fashion trade journal, last month launched a consumer-oriented print magazine called WWDScoop. The quarterly magazine, billed as "an insider's guide for the fashion jet set," covers fashion, gossip, the arts, design, home and beauty for an upscale audience.

The premiere issue had a 110-page folio with 42 ad pages. The magazine is being mailed directly to Women's Wear Daily subscribers and prequalified consumers from the database of Fairchild's parent, Advance Publications. Additionally, the magazine will appear on newsstands in key markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas with international distribution in Hong Kong, London, Milan, Paris and Tokyo. The cover price is $7.95.

Led by Edward Menicheschi, president-WWD Media Worldwide, Women's Wear Daily has quietly engaged in a launching spree over the past three years. Like WWDScoop, many of these launches have straddled the line between trade publications and consumer magazines.

For Menicheschi, the strategy behind the launches is twofold. First, they satisfy marketers' increasing demand for a narrowly focused product reaching a certain subset of readers. And second, they leverage what he calls Women's Wear Daily's "brand elasticity," which enables the trade brand-because it is so closely tied to the world of fashion-to move onto the consumer side of that business as well.

Among the consumer-oriented launches or relaunches over the past three years from Women's Wear Daily are: WWDFast, an examination of youth culture that was launched in 2004; WWD Young Hollywood (2004); WWDCollege, a look at the university fashion scene with bonus distribution in sorority houses, (2003); WWDAccessories (2003); and WWDBeautyBiz Shopper (2003).

Additionally, Women's Wear Daily has aimed a number of launches and relaunches exclusively at the trade: WWD Executive Technology (2005), WWDWeekend (2003) and Denim In-Depth (2002).

Menicheschi explained the process that Women's Wear Daily uses to gauge its launches. "The first thing we ask ourselves is, `Can we bring something new to the table?' " he said, noting Women's Wear Daily's international reporting staff can bring an insider's view to the world of culture and gossip.

The next question, he said, is: "Can we produce something of the quality that can carry the name Women's Wear Daily?" Third: "Is [the product] narrowly focused?" And fourth: "Is it a viable business?"

Fairchild is not alone in extending a trade brand into the consumer arena. In July 2004, Advanstar Communications launched DIRTSports, a magazine covering off-road racing and aimed at consumers. The company already published Off-Road Retailer, a magazine for dealers in the sector, and these dealers told Advanstar that a niche was available for a magazine aimed at enthusiasts.

And Ziff Davis Media, which has long served both consumer and trade audiences in the technology sector, has most recently placed its bets on the consumer side. Last year, both of its print launches targeted consumers: Extreme Tech and Sync.

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