WSJ Mag Broadens Coverage

The Wall Street Journal will start to look more like its mainstream rival The New York Times on Dec. 4 when it puts out the first issue of WSJ., its weekend lifestyle magazine supplement, edited by Deborah Needleman.
WSJ. has covered the intersection of fashion and business since it launched two years ago. But the first issue of Needleman, the former chief editor of Domino who also heads up Off Duty, the Journal’s new weekend lifestyle section, broadens the fashion coverage to help deepen the magazine’s appeal with female readers and fashion advertisers.
“Part of what we’re doing is creating a woman-friendly place,” Needleman explained. “What I’m trying to do in every issue is a women’s fashion story and a men’s fashion story, and I want to try to do a couple’s fashion story. This reader is not buying fashion magazines. So I feel like there’s a real opportunity here.”
It could be a risky move, given the female Journal reader isn’t fashion-obsessed. And fashion advertisers already have a glut of glossies to run in.
But WSJ. publisher Anthony Cenname is betting advertisers will be drawn to the magazine’s high-end audience and presence of luxury accessories ads. It does seem that there’s money being spent; fashion was one of the strongest performing magazine categories this year, increasing ad pages 11 percent.
Cenname hopes to increase the magazine’s fashion advertising to nearly half from about one-fifth today. He’s off to a good start in terms of sheer pages: the forthcoming December issue carries 45 ad pages, up from 31 in the year-ago issue. He said high-end retailer Calypso is one confirmed new client but declined to name others.
In addition to the increased fashion content in every issue, women’s fashion will be the theme of WSJ.’s March and September issues in 2011 (when it also begins publishing monthly from six times this year), following the cycle of the major fashion monthlies. October will be a men’s fashion issue.
Needleman has also added a beauty column; a consumer column, The Shift (which may draw comparisons with the Consumed column in the Times’ own weekend supplement); and Soapbox, which she described as “a highly opinionated, cranky op-ed.” Former Walt Disney CEO and current Vuguru exec Michael Eisner is penning the first one, in which he opines about the need for old media to adapt new modes of delivery.