Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Platinum Tries to Polish Its Act; the New Focus Is More Men's Lifestyle, Less Female Nudity

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Platinum Tries to Polish Its Act; the New Focus Is More Men's Lifestyle, Less Female Nudity

Article excerpt

Rising from a grave dug by lawsuits and financial disputes, Platinum returned in January with a new design, a new publishing company and a new editorial attitude. What had been a young men's sophisticate title is now a 200,000 circulation lifestyle monthly with a smattering of semi-nude photography--"a Vanity Fair for men," boasts acting editor and publisher David Bergstein.

Bergstein was CFO of the investment firm Spartan Funding, which bankrolled Platinum with $5 million when it launched under the helm of former Penthouse photographer Hank Londoner in August 1993. Londoner then walked away from Platinum that December to start the harder-core New Rave, taking his percentage of Platinum ownership with him and accusing Bergstein of "bouncing checks" and owing him $100,000. (See "Platinum fights tarnished reputation," Folio:, June 1, 1994, page 18.)

Facing a lawsuit from another partner, Michael Peter, over trademark infringement of the Platinum name (the suit was ultimately dismissed by a New York court), Bergstein suspended publication of the Canoga Park, California-based title last June after just seven issues. His own $ 1 0 million suit against Peter for breach of contract and fraud was then dropped last October when Peter and Londoner agreed to relinquish their shares of the magazine.

Londoner has since returned to his freelance photography work. "We had a lot of disagreements about money," Londoner says. "We resolved our problems and I pulled out. It's all under the bridge." He says he left New Rave after six issues because his partner wanted to make the title "more explicit." Ironically, one of the major points of contention between Bergstein and Londoner was that the latter's vision for Platinum was too hardcore for Spartan.

"The concept originally presented to us was that this magazine would be a men's lifestyle book," Bergstein explains. …

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