Piers Morgan, Joe Ripp and Hearst’s New ‘Freemium’ Millennial Magazine

The roster of media mavens, moguls and boldface names spotted today at Michael's.

lunch at michaels It was a bustling scene at Michael’s today, with media titans (Time Inc.’s Joe Ripp), talking heads (Piers Morgan, Donny Deutsch) and the usual mashup of movers and shakers all plotting their next big move while driving up the decibel level in the dining room.

I was joined today by James D’Adamo, ‘Chief Trending Officer’ and group advertising director of new mag TrendingNY (as well as group advertising director for Hearst Integrated Media), the pub’s editor Emily Cronin, Hearst’s vp of public relations Alexandra Carlin and Allie Haake, associate manager of public relations. Needless to say, the folks at Hearst really understand the art of the power lunch.

James D'Adamo, Diane Clehane and Emily Cronin
James D’Adamo, Diane Clehane and Emily Cronin

Between bites of Dover sole (Emily) and chicken paillard (James), the dynamic duo talked up Hearst’s latest offering, a ‘freemium’ monthly fashion/beauty/entertainment title targeted to millennial women in New York. After a successful four-issue pilot program last fall, TrendingNY’s first monthly issue debuted around town this week. Why a new free print magazine for young women living in and around Manhattan, when there are already so many freebies sprinkled around the city? “Hearst is always looking for new models,” said Emily. “TrendingNY is fun, fast read for young women who want ideas they can act on in real time. It’s a crib sheet for readers on your month in New York.” James added: “TrendingNY’s unique combination of hyperlocal of-the-moment content, distinct voice and targeted distribution model connects with young, stylish women where they live, work and play.”

Buoyed by reader reaction polled in the pilot issues (Results of an in-book survey indicated 80 percent of readers tried an idea featured in the magazine; 75 percent purchased or planned to purchase an item featured in its pages), Hearst is printing 100,000 copies every month, distributing 80,000 via “street teams.” They’ll hand out the magazine around town, including at subway stations at Astoria, Williamsburg and Union Square, plus outside popular shopping destinations like Macy’s, Sephora and H&M. The additional 20,000 copies will go to Hearst database-selected Manhattan women in the target demo of 18-34 via home delivery.

With so much talk these days about millennials eschewing the conspicuous consumption habits of their parents, I was surprised to learn just how much these up-and-comers are spending on pricey fashion and beauty. “In most cases they don’t make as much as boomers, but they certainly do outspend them in these categories,” said James, who told me that while millenials only make up 29 percent of all the women in the New York market, they account for 40 percent of the women who spend over $3,000 yearly on clothes. In fact, that group spent $1.7 billion on clothes in the past year. Clearly good news for TrendingNY advertisers like Estée Lauder, Solstice and Samsung.

Intrepid Emily and her all-female editorial team of eight (a combination of staffers and freelancers) act as their own built-in focus group in curating the content for women much like themselves. “We work hard and everyone pitches in,” she told me. “A good idea can come from anyone.” The mother of 16-month-old twins is clearly energized by helming a magazine for young women she can relate to. “When I first took the job, Eliot Kaplan handed me a blank paper sample and the message was clear–fill this up. We’re all in and I’m having a great time.” Having worked at Harper’s Bazaar under Glenda Bailey, Emily told me she learned a great from the longtime EIC, including the importance of staying focused on the mission of the magazine. “Glenda is an incredible leader with an unswerving vision. That’s very reassuring to a team.”

Not surprisingly, Emily told me social media plays a big role in connecting with readers. “We’re using it to tell them where we are and to talk to them about the issue.” The May issue profiles Instagram All-Stars, a group of New York up-and-comers who have built their personal brand on the site. Next month’s issue will feature the story “Why You Need to Care About Snapchat.” Since Cosmopolitan was one of the first of a dozen titles asked to be part of Snapchat, it only makes sense that TrendingNY would be telling readers how and why to use the app, especially when it comes to shaping their professional image. Career advice is an important part of the editorial mix. Aliza Licht, whose new book, Leave Your Mark, is a buzzy title that dispenses wit and career wisdom in the same wildly popular voice she uses to tweet for DKNY PR GIRL, is a regular contributor. “She’s a perfect mentor for our reader,” said Emily.