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Hearst Plans for Fewer (but Bigger) 'Harper's Bazaar'

Magazine to reduce frequency, increase trim size
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Harper’s Bazaar had a rough first half of 2011. It was the only major fashion magazine to suffer a decrease in ad pages (down 5.4 percent) and experienced the biggest decline in newsstand sales. Now Hearst, its publisher, has decided to make some changes, increasing the magazine’s trim size while reducing its frequency (for the second time in two years), according to WWD.

“For now, the cover price will remain at $3.99, $4.99 for September and March,” said a spokeswoman for the magazine's publisher Carol Smith. “We’re also moving to 10 issues, continuing to publish a June-July summer issue and, now, a year-end December-January issue. The bonus Runway Report will run in September, with additional single-topic issues around franchises like Fabulous at Every Age and Mr. Blasberg’s Best Dressed. The rate base [of 700,000] will remain unchanged.”

The spokeswoman wouldn’t address the magazine’s trim size increase, but sources at Hearst told WWD that it wouldn’t be as big as W or the British Harper’s Bazaar’s September and March issues, which are the same size as W. Although W’s trim size might appeal to advertisers, they said, magazines that big don’t usually do well on newsstands.

Sources said that Bazaar’s new trim size will probably be closer to fellow Hearst titles House Beautiful and Country Living, which increased trim sizes by a respective 12 percent and 16.5 percent in the last few years, and the changes will go into effect early next year. The magazine will also upgrade paper and cover stock, they said.