Two years ago, Condé Nast closed two of its three bridal books—Modern Bride and Elegant Bride—and doubled the frequency of Brides, the remaining one, to monthly. Now, Condé is reversing course, returning to a bimonthly schedule in 2013.
By going monthly, the magazine had sought to pull in more advertisers outside the mainstay dress category that historically have avoided bridal periodicals because of their high reader turnover. At the same time, Brides expanded its coverage to include topics outside the wedding itself, aiming to keep women reading the magazine longer, even post-honeymoon. By going back to a bimonthly schedule, the magazine seems to be giving up on that strategy.
“Advertisers have been asking to return to a bimonthly schedule,” a spokeswoman said. “They really appreciate the longer newsstand time.” And with most other bridal books publishing bimonthly, the change puts the magazine on par with its competitive set, added the spokesperson. Ad pages declined 12 percent to 1,299 in the first six months of the year. Single-copy sales, about a third of Brides' circulation, was down 27 percent in the first half.
December’s issue will be the final monthly edition of Brides. The magazine will publish a January-March winter issue and go to a bimonthly schedule with its April-May 2013 issue. The layout of the print magazine will stay the same, but there will be 10 to 15 percent more editorial content in each bimonthly issue.
Meantime, the magazine will put a bigger emphasis on digital. Starting Sept. 1, Brides.com will begin rolling out new features including redesigned image galleries and interactive tools like checklists and sharable inspiration boards, which should appeal to tech-savvy brides-to-be who have flocked to sites like Pinterest. Brides.com will also become fully optimized for mobile platforms, letting users take their tools with them. “This really reflects how the consumer engages with the brand,” said a Brides rep. “She’s hyper-connected; she wants daily interaction.”
Social media will also be a major focus for Brides. This fall the magazine is launching a contest for readers to win a crowdsourced wedding that will be live-streamed on Facebook through a partnership with Zuckerberg Media. Brides is seeking advertiser support for the program, which will allow the magazine’s Facebook fans to vote on every aspect of the wedding.