HIGH TIMES magazine launches new website, opens LA office for editorial, video and sales
These appear to be good times for the magazine that has consistently advocated for the decriminalization and eventual legalization of marijuana
If you ever worked in the B2B magazine business during the golden age of the business – the nineties – you know that one thing any good publishing executive would do is keep their eye open for a new industry to serve. Some area of technology was always seeming to pop-up and so the first one to recognize it might be able to capitalize.
The same concept works for consumer magazines, of course, but I think it has always been a bit tougher to successfully spot the trends. Of course, sometimes, a magazine that has been around a while gets lucky and suddenly finds their area of concentration hot again. Guess you could say that HIGH TIMES, is one of those titles that may be finding itself in the right spot at the right time.
HIGH TIMES, was founded in 1974 in NYC, and its history is rather fascinating. It was launched as a one-off magazine, a lampoon of Playboy, only with pot rather than sex as its subject. But it immediately reached an interested audience and has continuous published ever since, though it has seen some tough times as the country’s attitude towards marijuana changed over the years. Luckily, its founder, Tom Forcade, made enough money dealing to keep the magazine alive through the rough times.
Now, however, there is a real change going on in the country, and HIGH TIMES is looking to capitalize. Today, they announced that they will open a Los Angeles office for editorial, video and sales. They have also launched what they are calling a mobile and advertising friendly website – ad friendly like because so much real estate is open for purchase by marketers.
“High Times isn’t just for historically self-identified stoners anymore,” Larry Linietsky, the publishing company’s chief operating officer, told the NYT earlier this year. “We are appealing to everyone who likes cannabis, or is at least curious about it, both recreationally and for medicinal use. That could be your boss, your neighbor or even your grandmother.”
I have to wonder whether mainstream brands will look at HIGH TIMES as an appropriate place to advertise, or whether they already do (I hate to admit, I’m not a subscriber, and its digital edition is a PDF replica, and you know how I feel about those).
Here is today’s announcement for the HIGH TIMES expansion:
NEW YORK & LOS ANGELES – June 21, 2016 — HIGH TIMES, the world’s leading cannabis media, events and information company, announces a major expansion—including:
- Opening of the first HIGH TIMES office in Los Angeles—with editorial, video and sales staff
- Appointment of renowned cannabis author/journalist David Bienenstock as Head of Content
- Promotion of Mike Gianakos to Managing Editor, and Jen Bernstein as Business Editor and lead writer for “Weed to Know,” a new daily digital newsletter
- Launch of a fully redesigned mobile and advertiser-friendly HIGH TIMES website with designated sections for HIGH TIMES’ event series, multimedia content and a full magazine archive
“As marijuana legalization spreads and evolves, the appetite for in-depth, insightful coverage of the culture and industry around this plant is growing rapidly, and HIGH TIMES is growing along with that demand,” said HIGH TIMES Chief Operating Officer Larry Linietsky. “By fortifying our content leadership team and expanding our presence in Southern California, we’ll be able to create compelling content across all platforms and serve as the authoritative voice of cannabis culture.”
In his newly created role as Head of Content, David Bienenstock will lead the Los Angeles office, oversee content for HIGH TIMES and help spearhead the company’s rapid modernization of its digital platforms—including its newly designed mobile-friendly website, social media platforms, video, online newsletters and other multi-media initiatives. He’ll also lead the brand’s expansion into exciting new television, film and entertainment projects.
Bienenstock rejoins HIGH TIMES after serving as an editor for the magazine from 2002 to 2012. More recently, he’s authored the bestselling book How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High (Penguin/Random House 2016) and has been a columnist, frequent contributor and video host/producer at VICE Media, including producing the edibles-themed VICE Munchies show “Bong Appetit.” He has been profiled in The Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Slate and other major publications, and has appeared as a cannabis expert on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, HBO and Fox News. He will work in tandem with New York-based HIGH TIMES Editor-in-Chief Dan Skye and will report to HIGH TIMES Chief Operating Officer Larry Linietsky and Publisher and Chief Events Officer Mary C. McEvoy.
“We’re thrilled with David’s decision to return to HIGH TIMES. He brings decades of experience writing about cannabis and will be an invaluable asset to our editorial team and leadership as we expand our company, including our highly-successful Cannabis Cup event series, which continues to draw tens of thousands of marijuana enthusiasts to cities across America and around the world,” said HIGH TIMES Publisher and Chief Events Officer Mary C. McEvoy.
“I’m thrilled to return to the world’s leading voice of authentic cannabis culture, and to lead HIGH TIMES’ incredibly talented and dedicated team in creating compelling content that both honors the brand’s deep roots and leads the way in defining the coming post-prohibition future. From the ongoing injustice of the War on Marijuana, to the latest developments in medical cannabis, to the rapid development of a newly established marijuana industry, there’s never been a more exciting time to cover this movement. I also look forward to expanding the brand’s presence in the entertainment industry from our new Los Angeles office via a variety of exciting new projects,” said David Bienenstock.
In addition to Bienenstock, a team of seven content producers, reporters and ad sales representatives will staff the new Los Angeles office. HIGH TIMES is also restructuring its New York City editorial team, promoting former Mike Gianakos, a ten-year veteran of the company, to Managing Editor and former Managing Editor Jen Bernstein to Business Editor.