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Luxury magazine launches in abundance

What do travel, food, fashion, culture, and society have in common? They’re all topics being covered by the various luxury living magazines that have launched over the past year. Although the news industry remains uncertain, especially for print publications, luxury publishers are on a launching roll.

Forbes Media, for instance, announced in March that it was revamping its luxury lifestyle supplement, ForbesLife. According to WWD.com, the magazine previously only available to subscribers is now also available on newsstands in New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, as well as on the iPad, Nook and Kindle. Also in March, Bloomberg Pursuits launched for elite users of the Bloomberg Terminal service, while Du Jour magazine is slated to launch in September. And three years after it folded, Time magazine has brought back Time Style & Design. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times Magazine may have folded, but the newspaper is reportedly developing a new quarterly luxury magazine.

But that’s not all. This past November, Observer Media Group along with China Happenings launched Yue, a bilingual Mandarin-English luxury title targeting the affluent Chinese population in New York City. September saw the launch of The Society Diaries, focusing on luxury living in Central and South Texas. And last July, New York Smash/Hamptons Smash launched for the affluent in Manhattan and the Hamptons.

Seeing a trend? According to Smash editor Chelsea Kate Isaacs, the magazine is also being launched in other cities such as Boston, Los Angeles and Miami. With a website, print publication and iPad app in the making, Isaacs said they have been doing well. “The magazine has been well-received since our launch in spring 2011. As Newsday reported, every copy was ‘snapped up,’ and our advertisers were happy because return on investment (ROI) was very strong. We have held multiple high-profile events and benefits to promote our magazine issue releases. Tickets sold out quickly,” she said in an email interview.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that luxury magazines are doing fairly well since if anyone can afford to buy what they’re selling, it’s America’s affluent. “Advertisers know this and so they’re willing to support a magazine that caters to this target audience,” said Rebecca Bredholt, managing editor of magazine content at Vocus Media Research Group. “However, this is a much smaller audience than the luxury magazines had years ago and I don’t think it’s the size of this readership that is growing, I think it’s their income that is. So, whether this is a growth niche I think remains to be seen. But if you can corner this market, you’ll do very well.”

–Katrina M. Mendolera

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