Prestige Puts Its Money on the Ad-Reading Über-Rich

It might seem crazy in these recessionary times to launch a magazine predicated on luxury ad spending. But that’s what Singapore-based CR Media did last week with the launch of Prestige New York, a glossy, oversized, controlled-circulation book, delivered free to 50,000 super-rich New York area homes. The launch issue carries 43 ad pages, including Bell & Ross and Harry Winston. Prestige plans to publish seven issues in 2009 and 10 in 2010.

The company is also planning later this year (or in early 2010) to launch U.S. editions of two other luxury titles, Luxx Jewellery [sic] and Tic Talk. Like their Asian versions, the U.S. editions would appear twice a year and be sent for free to upwards of 40,000 recipients.

Ad pages for luxury titles have nosedived along with the rest of the magazine industry. But Prestige publisher Ray Chelstowski, late of Wenner Media’s Rolling Stone, said Prestige would set itself apart by guaranteeing advertisers that it’s actually reaching the ultra-rich, using Larkspur Data Resources to identify households with a net worth of at least $10 million.

“There are [still] people who plan on buying three watches with price points of over $20,000 this year,” Chelstowski said.

Prestige is the first U.S. foray by CR Media, which publishes a string of high-end regional magazines in Asia.