The downward spiral in luxury ad spending was Time magazine's stated reason for suspending publication of its spinoff Time Style & Design-and not an unreasonable one, given the market. But the title had other challenges unrelated to the lack of luxury bucks, print buyers said.
Print buyers have been skeptical about Time Style & Design since it started in 2001 as an oversized, twice-yearly special, covering style and various aspects of the fashion industry. While its recipients were high-end (its media kit says Style & Design is polybagged to 550,000 Time subscribers, with a median household income topping $160,000), they may not have been inclined to read about the world of fashion while they were in a hard-news frame of mind.
"You're getting a Time magazine for a very different reason from the reason you're getting fashion editorial," said Kelly Foster, a senior partner at Mindshare USA.
Its association with Time magazine also made it difficult for the title, despite being well turned out, to talk to high-end advertisers.
"It's a mass brand in the U.S., so to convert a luxury advertiser to it is a hard prospect," Foster said.
Style & Design's seesawing frequency, going up to six U.S. issues before retreating to four, also was problematic, said a print buyer for luxury clients not authorized to speak for attribution.
"That was awkward, and it changed a lot," the buyer said. "It wasn't always aligned with the top sales periods."
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