Monday, May 4, 2009

`Parade'/`Vogue''s `Glamour', `Self', and `Allure' Connection Historically

(The following article first appeared in the 11/18/92 issue of the now-defunct Lower East Side alternative newspaper Downtown)

Although Vogue poses on your newsstand as a magazine which competes for women readers with Glamour, Self and Allure, the same Corporate Men who market Vogue to women also profit from their control and marketing of Glamour, Self and Allure to women. And for many years an elderly man named Alexander Liberman was simultaneously Vogue’s editorial director, Glamour’s editorial director and Self’s editorial director.

Nicknamed “The Silver Fox,” Liberman played a role in the Newhouse Dynasty’s “women-oriented” magazine-marketing operation which was described as follows in an April 8, 1991 Newsweek article:

“…Liberman cuts a larger-than-life figure as he designs a story for Self magazine. Assistants are crowding around him…His fame and power comes from the trendy world of women’s fashion magazines. At 78 [in 1991] , the [then-] editorial director of Conde’ Nast is the cultural czar of one of the world’s largest magazine companies…The position makes him one of the most influential figures in magazine publishing…Some former high-level employees say that disagreeing with Liberman can prove fatal…Liberman’s tastes influence every Conde’ Nast magazine…At 9 a.m. he is in his…office—his command center for decisions about covers and layouts…Most important, Liberman has the ear of Conde’ Nast chairman S.I. Newhouse Jr…who consults him on…personnel changes.”

When Glamour magazine was launched by Nast in 1939, its stated purpose was to appeal to young working women readers “by revealing how the movie stars achieved their particular appeal” since Hollywood had become important “as a disseminator of fashion, beauty, and charm,” in the words of Glamour’s initial issue. Within two years 250,000 copies of Glamour were being circulated.

By the time Newhouse purchased the Conde’ Nast magazines, Glamour’s circulation had reached 800,000—almost double what Vogue’s circulation was at that time. The value of Glamour’s ad space sales, however, was about half that of Vogue’s at that time because the cost per ad page in Vogue was greater than the cost per page in Glamour.

By purchasing the Street & Smith Publications’ magazine for $4 million a few months later, Newhouse was able to carry out its lucrative plan of merging the previously competing Charm with Glamour and thus increase Glamour’s profitability, as well as its circulation—which soon exceeded one million copies. By 1981, two million copies of Glamour were being circulated each month and it was earning around $10 million more per year than Vogue, as a result of its larger newsstand sales. Of the $45 million that Glamour earned from its ad space sales in 1981, around 40 percent was for printing ads for cosmetics and toiletries.

Self was launched by Newhouse around the time that Samuel Newhouse I died in 1979. And by the early 1980s, over one million copies of Self were also being circulated. In the 1990s, not satisfied with having control over Vogue, Glamour and Self, the Newhouse Dynasty's media conglomerate started marketing another magazine for women, Allure.

When Downtown telephoned Vogue’s public relations director in the Fall of 1992 to ask if Vogue saw itself as being in competition with other magazines that are also owned by the Newhouse media conglomerate, he replied: “Are you authorized to write an article by the Newhouse company?”

After Downtown told the Vogue public relations director that the article was to be an investigative article, he requested that Downtown telephone him the following day for Vogue’s official comment. But when Downtown telephoned Vogue’s public relations director the following day on three separate occasions in the Fall of 1992, he was unavailable for comment.

(Downtown 11/18/92)

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