For the NYU Summer course Cultural Capital: Media & Arts of NYC, I chose to research the Magazines sector. New York is home to the “big three” publishing giants* which each own a variety of popular titles:
Condé Nast (Vogue, W, Glamour, Allure, Self, Teen Vogue, GQ, Details, Lucky, Architectural Digest, Brides, Golf Digest, Golf World, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveler, Wired, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, WWD, Gourmet)
Hearst (Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Car and Driver, Country Living, Elle Decor, Good Housekeeping, House Beautiful, O, The Oprah Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Redbook, Road & Track, Seventeen, Town & Country, Veranda, Woman’s Day)
Time Warner (All You, Coastal Living, Cooking Light, Entertainment Weekly, Essence, FORTUNE, Golf, Health, InStyle, LIFE, Money, People, Real Simple, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated, Sunset, This Old House, TIME)
For my sector Overview, I will be analyzing their history & development for background, but more importantly, how they are utilizing new media to bring publishing into the Digital Age, and how they are differentiating their content in a time of over-abundant information. For my case studies, I will be focusing instead on two magazines which are not owned by these companies. Some magazines with wide distribution that are not owned by the big three are listed here:
Magazines with large paid-subscription-based circulation in the USA which are not owned by these companies include National Geographic, Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal, Family Circle, Reader’s Digest, Parenting, ESPN Magazine, Smithsonian, Martha Stewart Living, TV Guide, Us Weekly, Men’s Health, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Playboy, Popular Science, Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Forbes. Many of these are owned by the Meredith Corporation, based in Des Moines, Iowa.
Yet my two Case Studies will not focus on magazines from that list, either! The two magazines that I want to look into are New York Magazine, which is locally focused, and Fast Company, which is a rapidly growing business magazine. Both have seen recent updates to their design and content, and have very robust websites. I am interested in seeing how they embraced technology while keeping up their print magazines and utilizing that form, too. Since they don’t have the massive power of these publishing houses behind them, I am interested in seeing how this helps or hinders them. Perhaps they are given more freedom to make large sweeping changes because they don’t have a lot of bureaucracy to deal with? Or they are more dependent on subscribers to make a profit because they don’t attract as many advertisers?