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TWO DECADES LATER...: Since Entertainment Weekly launched two decades ago, starting with a K.D. Lang cover in February 1990, the Time Inc. title has published 16 covers with Julia Roberts, 15 “Harry Potter” covers and was earlier than most to the Tina Fey party, back in May 2002. Managing editor Jess Cagle is marking the magazine’s 20th anniversary with three special issues this year, themed around 20 years of Oscar, great characters in pop culture and the greatest television casts. “We’ll also have a page in every issue, with memorable moments from past issues,” said Cagle. A few days ago, the title also launched a version of ew.com that is optimized for mobile phone users.
Anniversary issues typically lead to a boost in advertising, but so far this year, the magazine hasn’t had to rely on the hype: ad pages are up 30 percent year-over-year as of the March 5 issue, thanks to a rebound in the domestic and Asian automotive category and ads from West Coast media. In 2009, paging fell 20 percent, to 965. Total circulation remains flat, at 1.8 million, and paid subscriptions were also flat.
Movies, TV, books and music have been the bread and butter of the magazine, but more recently, coverage of theater, apps, games and Web sites, as well as its own digital property, ew.com, has been added to the mix. “We’re going to keep expanding the stuff we cover,” said Cagle, who declined to talk about how this will translate to the digital space, on new platforms such as the iPad.
L.L. BEAN’S NEW SIGNATURE: L.L. Bean Signature, the Freeport, Maine company’s anticipated contemporary collection for men and women, will open for business March 15 when both its stand-alone catalogue and dedicated e-commerce site launch. More than two million copies of the subbrand’s first catalogue, produced in conjunction with branding firm Toth Brand Imaging, will be distributed nationwide. Shot by lenswoman Anne Menke, the 48-page Signature catalogue features Maggie Rizer and other fresh-faced models frolicking through iconic New England settings, from rocky seascapes to author E.B. White’s farmhouse. The brand’s digital platform includes a dedicated Web site, LLBeanSignature.com, which will sell the line’s updated Bean classics like straight-leg washed chinos, checked shirts, chambray shirtdresses and leather moccasins. The site will also include shopping tools that allow users to buy complete looks styled by the line’s creative director, Alex Carleton, founder of Rogues Gallery. Heritage items, pulled from the company archives and updated, will also be for sale on the site. The brand’s Facebook page will also make its debut this month.
— Brenner Thomas