NEW YORK — Wenner Media prexy Jan Wenner hopes to plant his flag at every supermarket checkout counter in America as the weekly edition of US launches today.
After 18 months of market research, $50 million in capitalization and a New York and L.A. news staff augmented by 75, Wenner hopes US Weekly’s circulation of 1 million will take a bite out of People and Entertainment Weekly, both published by Time Warner.
“Our bread and butter is going to be entertainment personalities,” Wenner said. But he’s seeking a demographic a generation apart from People’s. “We’re going to be the magazine of Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow, not Cher, Burt Reynolds and Barbra Streisand,” he explained.
No biz news
In a media world glutted with celebrity gossip and inside-the-industry news, US Weekly will shun the news of deals, moguls and grosses that’s found in EW.
“You want to read about Mike Ovitz, you’ve got to look somewhere else,” said editor-in-chief Terry McDonell. “Unless he starts a garage band and hits the charts.”
The publishers of People, with its 3.4 million circulation, and EW, with 1.5 million, aren’t rattled, however. “We don’t feel any urge to respond,” said Susan Ollinick, director of public affairs at People, who pointed out that 35 million people read each issue of People. “Competition is coming from everywhere these days — TV, radio, other magazines. Everyone wants a piece of what we do. But we see no fall off in our appeal.
“We’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” said Sandey Drayton, director of public relations at EW.