- Last Updated: 12:22 PM, May 25, 2012
- Posted: 11:45 PM, May 24, 2012
Plum Hamptons may be gone, a victim of the bankruptcy of the parent Plum Network, but the Hamptons publishing scene appears to be thriving once again.
“It’s healthy, it’s a noticeable difference from last year,” said Justin Mitchell, publisher of 9-year-old Social Life, which is throwing a cover party this weekend for Beth Ostrosky Stern, spouse of shock jock Howard Stern.
The East End’s moribund real-estate market has also come back, according to Marianne Howatson, publisher of Cottages & Garden Media, which counts Hamptons Cottages & Gardens among its titles.
“We are finding that people are very bullish,” she said.
Her debut summer issue features a rare look inside the Grey Gardens home that was refurbished by former Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee and wife Sally Quinn.
And for the first time, the digital side is very much on publishers’ minds.
“You’re probably not going to see a lot of iPads at the beach, but I want us positioned for the future five years from now,” said Bob Edelman, the CEO and publisher of Dan’ s Papers, the Hamptons weekly.
By mid-March, his digital revenue had already equaled the digital revenue for all of last year.
Hamptons magazine, the 34-year-old title owned by Niche Media, is making a strong push into the digital realm as well, with Cait Rohan overseeing the website.
“People are kind of co-branding,” noted Kelli Delaney, a former celebrity magazine editor who now runs the KD Hamptons website, which appears as a Hamptons mag blog.
Others are looking to fill the void left behind by Plum Hamptons, a bright spot in Tom Scott’s Plum Network. The company posted losses of $8.4 million on revenue of $6.4 million in its last year of operation.
In March, the assets were sold to the founders of LXTV, Joseph Varet and Morgan Hertzan, who paid $1.17 million for the TV network and the rights to the publishing names at a bankruptcy auction.
Former Plum Hamptons Editor-in-Chief Cristina Cuomo, who is married to ABC’s Chris Cuomo and is the sister-in-law of Governor Andrew Cuomo, is still on the scene.
She’s been signed as a contributing editor for Avenue, owned by Manhattan Media, which is making a small foray into the Hamptons.
“Avenue is going to the beach,” said Manhattan Media CEO Tom Allon.
He plans to distribute 5,000 copies of the monthly starting this weekend in high-end shops in East Hampton and Southampton and on about 5,000 driveways abutting the manicured lawns.
Cuomo wrote the June cover story on Alina Cho and has one in the works for later in the summer on equestrian Georgina Bloomberg, a daughter of Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Publisher Debra Halpert said the redesigned issue went to press earlier than usual and that ad pages are flat compared to a year ago, but issues No. 2 and 3 are running ahead of a year ago.
The mag held a kickoff party in Manhattan this week with Gotham magazine. On Sunday another fete is slated at the tony Southampton Social Club to honor cover subject, “Today” host Matt Lauer.
Manhattan Media has also extended its joint venture with Brandusa Niro to produce The Daily Dan, which returns this weekend with a Kate Upton cover.
Allon said that Dan’s Papers, which is audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, can legitimately claim to be the highest-circulation publication in the Hamptons, with 37,000 copies a week. In season, he expects it to jump to about 40,000.
Best Life again
Rodale is the latest publisher to resurrect an upscale title.
Best Life, a bi-monthly that was run by Men’s Health maestro David Zinczenko, plans to return as a special-interest publication this fall.
Stephen Perrine, currently heading Rodale Books, will be the editor, with Zinczenko presiding over the mag once again as editorial director. Perrine said he plans to distribute 300,000 copies.
The original Best Life started in 2004, but folded during the industry slump in 2009.
Zinczenko said he has already lined up Dr. Mehmet Oz to write about a near-death experience for the return issue.
In its previous incarnation, the magazine was aimed at guys slightly older than the college age to mid-30s crowd that most men’s magazines seek.
It aims to deal with topics such as style, wealth, health/wellness and fatherhood.
Best Life was kept alive as the name of the front of the book section of Men’s Health. Zinczenko is clearly hoping the issue will take off and is planning a print and digital package.