New York Mag Goes Biweekly

Editor-in-Chief Adam Moss: Break in Tradition 'A Little Sad' but Necessary

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New York magazine will reduce its frequency from 42 issues to 29 -- effectively going from a weekly to biweekly -- in a move that reflects shifting reader habits as much as it does the economic realities of putting out a print magazine, the company said Monday.

The magazine will save $3.5 million in manufacturing costs because of the shift from weekly to biweekly, according to Larry Burstein, New York's publisher. And even though it's reducing frequency, the subscription price will remain the same -- resulting in an increase in the cost per print issue for readers. The newsstand price will also increase to $6.99 from $5.99.

Adam Moss, editor-in-chief of New York, said he plans to reinvest those dollars back into the magazine and its website, bulking up some of its coverage and adding staff.

"You'll see a bigger, better New York," he said of the printed product.

The magazine hopes the less-frequent but "bigger, better" print edition will help better capture ad dollars from fashion and luxury marketers, which still have an appetite to advertise in print, according to Mr. Burstein.

In shifting to biweekly, New York ends a 45-year run of printing its version of the city on a weekly, or nearly weekly, basis. But the economics of pushing out frequent print editions have dimmed as advertisers continue to migrate to the web and the costs of paper, printing and distribution rise. Ad pages at New York magazine this year through the Nov. 25 issue declined 7.5% from the period a year earlier, according to Media Industry Newsletter.

Revenue from digital advertising is expected to surpass that of print next year, Mr. Burstein said.

The magazine's single-copy sales in the first half of this year climbed 23% from the first half last year, to 16,070, according to its report with the Alliance for Audited Media. The gains were fueled by digital editions, however, as print newsstand sales declined 13%. Total paid and verified circulation inched up 1% to 408,822.

The new magazine will have roughly 20% more editorial content per issue, with more visuals, according to a company statement on Monday. New York's fashion blog, The Cut, will also get its own section in print. Three annual issues will focus on single, ad-friendly topics: best doctors, food and drink, and gifts.

Online, New York plans to start a new section on science that "play off studies and observations on reporting," according to Mr. Moss. "Particularly, it's content that's made to be shared," he added. The site will also add to its political coverage to the blog Daily Intelligencer, bulk up its Vulture blog and add more content around music.

And the magazine is planning what Mr. Moss called "pop-up blogs" that have limited runs and single advertisers, such as blogs around the Super Bowl, Art Basel or gay marriage, he said. The food blog Grub Street will take on a more national feel, he added.

Moving to biweekly schedule, with even more content online, better reflects the way people read, according to Mr. Moss, who said readers want a more substantial magazine, with a constant flow of information online. "At the end you get a better magazine and better web journalism, but it does require a break in tradition that's a little sad," he said.

Mr. Moss also acknowledged that ultimately he would have wished not to change the magazine's frequency. "This magazine has lived happily as a weekly for 45 years," he said. "But the truth is that reinventing the magazine to the extent that we will have to as a biweekly is very exciting."

The new frequency takes effect in March, the company said, resulting in 30 issues published in 2014.

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