March 29, 2017 Last Updated 9:26 am

Time Inc’s StyleWatch will join up with People team to create PeopleStyle

The magazine will now cut down its frequency and be led by editor-in-chief Bethany Heitman, partnering with Andrea Lavinthal, Beauty and Style Director of People magazine

Time Inc. today announced that they are changing the StyleWatch brand once again. Starting in September the magazine will now be known as PeopleStyle. If it feels hard to keep up, you are now alone. It was in September of 2015 that the brand underwent a redesign. Now, with less emphasis on the individual print brands,

Time Inc. is putting a happy face on the change – and, sadly, much of the trade press is going to let them do that. But this is all about print brands struggling in an environment where management is without a clue what to do.

The new PeopleStyle will go from 11 issues down to eight and focus on fashion seasons – though looking at the recent covers, that looks like what the editorial focus has been. (Boy, the art director has had it easy designing covers, right?)

The magazine has, over the years, grown its rate base (it currently stands at 825,000), but as newsstand sales have slid it has had to rely on subscription sales. At the end of 2011, single copy sales were nearly at 500K, but in the last publisher’s statement were at 135K. Meanwhile, the net price per subscription has fallen about 15 percent.

But the key here is ad sales, and that is where it is hard to see things improving. The move to category sales is meant to drive digital advertising across brands. That leaves the weaker brands vulnerable – especially so when publisher positions are disappearing like four-horse carriages.

All this may prove a moot point. The Time Inc. board is said to evaluating bids for the company. If Meredith eventually wins out they are unlikely to want to hang on to the weeklies, and that means anything that is part of those titles – like PeopleStyle.

Here is Time Inc.’s announcement:

NEW YORK, NY – March 29, 2017—Time Inc. today announced that StyleWatch, a leading millennial fashion and beauty resource, will join the People brand as PeopleStyle beginning with the September 2017 issue. Bethany Heitman, who was recently elevated to Editor-in-Chief of StyleWatch, reporting to Jess Cagle, Editorial Director, Style & Entertainment Group, and Editor-in-Chief, People, will partner with Andrea Lavinthal, Beauty and Style Director of People, to lead PeopleStyle.

“As we continue to build the People brand and its digital verticals, fashion is a critical part of our strategy,” said Cagle. “StyleWatch’s young audience is remarkably receptive to advertisers, and it will play a key role in Time Inc.’s e-commerce expansion. By rebranding as PeopleStyle, the magazine becomes part of a singular multimedia brand that lives on digital, mobile and social platforms and as a weekly print section in People. The re-branded magazine will include more celebrity fashion but will remain basically the same—a valuable resource for millennial women, bringing them the latest trends in street style and helping them shop for the looks they love.”

Heitman commented: “Our audiences love celebrity fashion and beauty and look to our brand for accessible and affordable coverage. Joining People gives us an incredible edge and opportunity to grow our brand and extend our reach.”

According to Starch, StyleWatch ranks No. 1 for having taken action on ads in its competitive set for four years straight, from 2013 to 2016. In addition, 84% of those responding to a StyleWatch reader engagement study say they plan to buy a product they see in the issue.

Cece Ryan, who oversees sales at PeopleStyle as Senior Vice President, Celebrity, Entertainment, Style and Multicultural, said, “This is a win-win for all of our audiences, including our partners, who want to reach the most engaged brand loyalists who shop the biggest trends each season.”

People’s digital audience continues to grow on all platforms, reaching more than 100 million users monthly, across, Snapchat Discover and other platforms. PeopleStyle, with its fast-growing audience on a variety of social channels, will continue to leverage People’s rapid omni-platform growth as one of its most highly trafficked and most engaging verticals.

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