Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Trendy Titles for Trendy Times

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Trendy Titles for Trendy Times

Article excerpt

If trendiness were oil, South Beach would be a boom town thick with gushers. The mile or so stretch, which starts at the bottom of Miami Beach and extends a few blocks inland from the Atlantic Ocean, has been transformed from a sleepy, slummy retirement village to a club- and restaurant-studded magnet for models and celebrities and wealthy investors.

As the glitzy crowds have piled in, several moneyed speculators came to a similar conclusion: We'll all need something to read. So glossy South Beach, Ocean Drive and Fashion Spectrum an arrived on the scene, along with a host of newsprinted weekly cheapies. But attitude gets you only so far. South Beach was short-lived, and only one of the other magazines turns a profit - proving the difficulty of making it as a local publication, even in a financially brawny area where consumerism reigns as the favorite pastime.

"There are so many of these localized society magazines down here - you have Focus, Palm Beach Illustrated, Boca Raton - that it makes for a very tough market," says Jason Hall, a media buyer/planner with the Miami-based ad agency Crispin & Porter.

Ocean Drive co-owners Jerry Powers and Jason Binn claim that their magazine has been in the black (or at least the gray) since launching in December 1993, "I put up $27,000 for a test [issue, to see whether or not the magazine was viable," recalls Powers, a former book packager/concert promoter/art dealer. As Binn notes, "For the first issue, we billed $25,000. It was 80 pages thick, with 40 pages of paid ads."

The instant success of Ocean Drive - a monthly with articles about fashion, celebrities and elitist nightlife - can be attributed, at least in part, to the lack of competition. Coral Gables-based South Florida has long aimed for an audience whose readers probably think that Daisy Fuentes is a weirdly colored hybrid flower; the oversize Ocean Drive put the Latina MTV veejay on its cover.

The trendiness of South Beach has also allowed Powers and Binn to attract big-name talents at reduced prices. So far, they've networked their way to nationally known photographers such as Francesco Scavullo, Patrick Demarchelier and Pamela Hanson, all of whom have lensed Ocean Drive articles for far less than their ordinary rates. Ocean Drive is a freebie, with a bulk distribution of 40,000 copies in tony clubs, restaurants and boutiques. That can make it a tough sell to large clients, says media-buyer Hall. (The cost of a four-color page is about $6,600.) "How do you know one person doesn't pick up five copies?" he asks. "You don't really know how many individuals are actually getting the magazine."

High gloss, low cost

Powers says Ocean Drive was, in fact, originally intended as a newsstand publication. …

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