RollingStone May Reformat
Since November of 1967, Rolling Stone's trademark format has been in place at the Wenner Media music magazine. But recently, the publisher has been considering a new model to replace even the revamp the publication received back in its January 1985 issue. According to Wenner Media, the magazine's sister magazine, Men's Journal, holds the prototype for Rolling Stone changes that may take place as soon as the next few months at an estimated cost of one million dollars.
Instead of using the oversized, saddle-stitched format, the magazine may change into a perfect-bound, high-gloss publication with UV-coated cover stock and heavier paper, designed to attract younger readers. The move is intended, according to Wenner Media, to also counteract the lower page count, assuming that smaller pages would mean more of them in each book.
The magazine publisher is currently testing special issues within the proposed format, as well as consulting long-time advertisers about the possible changes. The publisher admitted that if the format remains the same, cover price for the magazine will also remain steady at $3.95 for each issue. Wenner executives did not say whether, if how much, the change would increase individual book cost or even advertising rates since ad pages have reportedly fallen by 18.2 percent, according to the Mediaweek Monitor.
The publisher, which does its business with Quebecor World in Stillwater, OK, is also currently investigating how changes may affect print contracts. Using the traditional format, Wenner is less apt to find much competition among printers who are able to produce the oversized tabloid. As a result, the new changes could mean a wider pool of printers from which to choose, thus lowering manufacturing cost. Plus, Rolling Stone's reformat could also dictate novel newsstand placement. According to Audit Bureau of Circulations, the title's total paid circulation through June grew 1.3 percent over the first half of 2000 to 1.3 million, but newsstand sales sunk by 9.7 percent. It's unclear as to whether positioning would influence overall circulation—or if the long-time look is truly what entices readers.