Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, House Beautiful and Town & Country each will mail Italia-I Style to 250,000 subscribers with their May editions. Italia contains 54 ad pages from Italian marketers ranging from Prada to Barilla Group's pasta purveyor Barilla. Full-color open page rates in Italia, across the four titles, are $20,000. By comparison, a page in Esquire, which has a rate base of 650,000, is $80,000.
The supplement, Hearst's most ambitious in terms of size and scope, left some magazine-world observers finding it somewhat ironic.
In 1998, Hearst briefly resigned from the Publishers Information Bureau following a flap that ensued after rival Conde Nast Publications mailed bagged copies of a personal-finance supplement, Currency, to subscribers of all its magazines. Conde Nast was allowed to count a percentage of ad pages in Currency toward the ad-page counts at its titles, resulting in 507 ad pages going to the company's PIB tallies, despite some controversy over whether the supplement was labeled in accordance with PIB rules.
At the time, Hearst Magazines President Cathleen Black issued a statement to Advertising Age citing concerns over how such pages were counted.
No rivals are making such claims about how Italia is labeled, and Jeff Hamill, Hearst's senior VP-sales and marketing, said it and other Hearst supplements are "well within PIB guidelines," as is its tallying of its ad pages. Hearst said there is no comparison with Currency and that it is counting only branded ad pages for Italia.
(When supplements are sent to a percentage of a magazine's total circulation, that percentage of the supplement's ad pages counts as PIB ad pages. By this figuring, Italia will produce 85.5 pages for Hearst's total PIB count, with tallies at individual titles ranging from House Beautiful's 15.6 to Town & Country's 31.1.)
Through a spokeswoman, Steven T. Florio, president-CEO of Conde Nast Publications, declined to comment.
Italia marks the inaugural effort of the Hearst Image Group, which is a bid to woo luxury advertisers to what Valerie Salembier, publisher of Esquire and Italia, called "big creative projects" across the four titles Italia will be packaged with-with the possibility of other Hearst titles occasionally dropping in.