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Posts Tagged ‘Wenner Media’

Anything But a (Star-Spangled) Banner Week at Wenner Media

WennerMediaLogoHoly cow. According to Lisa Granatstein, managing editor at Mediabistro’s very-soon-to-be sister publication Adweek, this happened at Wenner Media:

[COO John] Gruber was ordered to fire Rolling Stone‘s head of brand and content and marketing solutions over the phone while the exec was on vacation after newly promoted Wenner Media digital chief Gus Wenner was said to have told his father that he didn’t like him, the sources added.

Not surprisingly, Gruber has bolted. Granatstein notes that this is the highest-ranking shuffle at Wenner Media since Gruber took over for Kent Brownridge in 2005. She also got confirmation of another major departure – Rolling Stone publisher Chris McLoughlin.

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Gus Wenner Continues His Climb at Wenner Media

Rolling Stone logo GJann Wenner — founder of Wenner Media — likes what he sees in his son, Gus Wenner. One year after Gus was named rollingstone.com’s editor, he has been promoted once again — this time to head of digital. The younger Wenner will now oversee the sites for Rolling Stone as well as Us Weekly and Men’s Journal.

With the promotion, every other Wenner Media exec has officially had their dreams of climbing to the top of the company crushed. There is no stopping the 23-year-old Gus from taking over the company. It’s happening. Probably sooner rather than later. As Jann already said, “It’s a path open to him if he wants it.”

In other words, the only way Gus doesn’t become head honcho of Wenner Media is if he somehow decides he’d rather do something else. Perhaps that’s where the hope lies for Wenner Media execs. They could try to get Gus interested in something new — like archery! That could be fun! And Jann would probably buy Gus his first set (quiver?), which would make the transition easier. Good luck to you all.

Us Weekly Increases Newsstand Price

Us Weekly — a magazine you can depend on for content like “stars’ sexiest bikini selfies” — is increasing its newsstand price. The celebrity title will now sell for $4.99 an issue.

The bump comes exactly one week after People increased its price to $4.99, which prompted OK!Star and the National Enquirer to follow suit. 

The New York Post reports that the move to up Us Weekly’s price was debated inside Wenner Media, but ultimately they decided the magazine had to be on par with other glossies in its market.

Men’s Journal Publisher Chris McLoughlin Moves Over to Rolling Stone

It was just last month that we were writing about the strategic alliance between Wenner Media’s Fitness and Men’s Journal. And how that deal quickly came together through the efforts of respective publishers Eric Schwarzkopf and Chris McLoughlin.

This week, McLoughlin is on to bigger and better Wenner things. A year and a half after being appointed publisher of Men’s Journal, the magazine industry vet is moving over to Rolling Stone in the same capacity. From this afternoon’s announcement:

“We’re thrilled to see Chris apply the strategic thinking he displayed at Men’s Journal as he assumes his new role at Rolling Stone,” said Jann Wenner, chairman of Wenner Media. “Chris’s sales and marketing expertise will further redefine and expand the Rolling Stone brand as we increasingly engage and grow our audiences in both the print and digital space.”

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Men’s Journal and Fitness Combine Forces

Wenner Media’s Men’s Journal and Meredith’s Fitness are sick of being underdogs to titles like Men’s Health and Shape, so they’re teaming up. Adweek reports that the titles have entered into a sales partnership that they hope will entice advertisers.

By combining the titles, the pair can tell companies that their ads will now be seen via a circulation of 2.2 million, a little below Men’s Health and Women’s Health (3.3 million), but a notch above Shape (2.15 million).

The deal was proposed by Eric Schwarzkopf, Fitness’ publisher. He called Men’s Journal’s publisher, Chris McLoughlin, and the two discussed the idea. “By the time he [Schwarzkopf] got done talking, I thought, ‘This is fantastic,’” McLoughlin told Adweek.

The duo also explored each other’s offices. While Schwarzkopf loved Wenner Media’s headquarters — “I could live in their building because I just love music,” he said — McLoughlin didn’t have much to say about his counterpart’s building. He called it “interesting” and explained, “They’ve got a lot of space over there.” You lose again, Meredith.

Rolling Stone Cuts Exec Editor Eric Bates

Rolling Stone has laid off Eric Bates, its executive editor and a member of its staff since 2003. Before his time at RS, Bates held top editorial sports at Mother Jones and Southern Exposure. 

“I’m going to be rooting for them [RS] and looking forward to whatever is next for me,” Bates told the New York Times.

In related news, Mark Neschis, corporate communications director for RS’ parent, Wenner Media, has been let go as well. Neschis had been with the company since 2005.

Wenner Media Struggling with $200 Million in Debt

Wenner Media is attempting to refinance about $200 million in debt, but — according to The New York Post — things aren’t going smoothly. The debt has been around since 2006, when the company bought out Walt Disney’s share of the joint venture that had owned Us Weekly.

Most of the loan is due by next October, so Wenner Media still has time, but Standard & Poor doesn’t think it will be easy. S&P gave the debt a “B” rating just a few days ago, and stated that the “outlook is negative, reflecting our view that leverage will remain elevated as a result of unfavorable secular industry trends.”

For what it’s worth, Wenner Media feels confident that everything will work out. “The company’s refinancing process is going very smoothly, and we anticipate that it will be completed in a timely manner,” a spokesperson told the Post.

Yahoo! and Wenner Media Strike a Cross Branding Deal

Yahoo! and Wenner Media are teaming up to create new content as part of a new cross-branding deal. Under the agreement, Yahoo!’s omg! and Yahoo! Music will share content and maintain a brand presence with Us Weekly, Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal; and vice versa.

The reason for the deal is simple: To extend all of the brands’ reach.

“This partnership combines boutique-quality entertainment content with unmatched scale,” said David Kang, Wenner Media’s chief digital officer, in a statement. “Rolling Stone and Us Weekly are iconic brands in music and celebrity news. As a leader in digital media, Yahoo! is the perfect partner to help these brands grow their digital footprint.”

Wenner Media Withdraws from MPA for Second Time

Wenner Media has quit the MPA, magazines’ trade association, for the second time. The publishing house first left the MPA in 1990, pledging only to rejoin if the organization dedicated itself to a revitalization, reports Ad Age. In 2010 Wenner came back, but that stay is over now.

Wenner Media hasn’t offered a reason for its second departure, but it does coincide with the “Power of Print” ad campaign — which was spearheaded by Wenner — ending.

Wenner Media Adds Chief Digital Officer

David Kang has been named Chief Digital Officer of Wenner Media. He comes to the company from Hearst Magazines, where he most recently worked as Creative Director of Content Extensions. At Wenner Kang will be responsible for all paid content, ad sales, social media and e-commerce for Wenner’s brands, across all digital platforms.

“David’s deep experience and expertise in digital will be an asset to Wenner Media,” said John Gruber, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. “We look forward to working with David as he develops new ways to connect and engage our audience and further increase our brands’ multiplatform reach.”

Kang’s first day will be January 20.

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