Vice's $1.9M settlement, the return of The Face, Anna Wintour parties in Brooklyn: Publisher's Brief

By March 28, 2019Advertising

Welcome to the latest edition of Ad Age Publisher’s Brief, our roundup of news from the world of content producers across digital and print. Got a tip? Send it our way. Here’s the previous edition.

Shape up:Unilever is launching a Trusted Publishers network,” Ad Age’s Jack Neff reports, “that goes beyond the standard audience-verification, anti-fraud and brand-safety guidelines of most marketer ‘whitelists.’ Unilever will also require platforms to reject pop-ups and other annoying, intrusive ad formats and safeguard consumer data….” Keep reading here—and stay tuned for more details because Unilever Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Keith Weed is expected to officially make the announcement today in Lisbon during a World Federation of Advertisers Global Marketer Week session.

Vice makes it go away:Vice Media has agreed to pay $1.88 million in a settlement with about 675 female employees who allegedly were paid less than their male colleagues,” Bloomberg News reports. “Vice Media denies that it relied on impermissible criteria to determine pay for women and contends there are no statistically significant pay disparities between men and women in similar positions, according to Monday’s court filing.” The company’s culture, particularly in regard to gender issues, has been under the microscope since December 2017 when The New York Times published a story headlined “At Vice, Cutting-Edge Media and Allegations of Old-School Sexual Harassment.”

Ballers: “The bidding for iconic sports magazine Sports Illustrated is heating up,” the New York Post’s Keith Kelly reports. Keep reading to find out who’s “hot and heavy to buy the mag,” as Kelly puts it. (OK, fine—spoiler: TPG. Not sure what that is? Well, keep reading.) Meredith Corporation owns SI for now; it was part of the portfolio of magazine brands it picked up when it acquired Time Inc. last year. (Meredith made it immediately clear that SI was among the titles it intended to divest for not being a good fit.)

Pitchfork’s Sky Ferreira digital cover. Credit: Pitchfork

Covered: Influential music site Pitchfork, which was acquired by publishing conglomerate Condé Nast in 2015, flexed its cultural muscle last night by hosting a party to celebrate its first digital cover, featuring singer-songwriter-model-actress Sky Ferreira. The animated cover—one is planned each quarter to help hype a particularly high-profile story—is an initiative by new-ish Editor-in-Chief Puja Patel (formerly EIC of Spin), who took over from Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber last fall. Ferreira spoke with Pitchfork’s Camille Dodero for an exclusive interview leading up to the release of her next album “Masochism”—which comes a full six years after her critically-aclaimed debut studio album “Night Time, My Time.”

Puja Patel and Anna Wintour, Wednesday night in Brooklyn at a Pitchfork party. Credit: Krista Schlueter for Pitchfork

The fête was at Kinfolk (Ferreira, of course, was the guest of honor) in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and Conde Nast’s biggest in-house star Anna Wintour, the Vogue editrix and company-wide artistic director, actually popped over from Manhattan to party with the kids—which is, you know, sweet.

Millionaire’s Club: The Financial Times launched a metered paywall all the way back in 2007, when the publishing world’s conventional wisdom was that people wouldn’t pay for content online and everything should and could be advertising-supported. Now, of course, more and more digital-native and traditional publishers are adding paywalls—and the FT is having the last laugh as it’s about to celebrate a major milestone. An FT sources tells me that any minute now CEO John Ridding is planning to announce that the London-based business publication has 1 million paying subscribers, which puts it in the rarefied company of the likes of The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Online readership in the U.S. is apparently what’s behind the growth. Here’s hoping Ridding & Co. plan to shower the lucky millionth subscriber with digitial confetti or something.

And finally… The front page of the Styles section of The New York Times this morning includes a story that tells the backstory of the relaunch of the iconic British style-and-culture bible The Face—which is set to return as an Instagram account this week, a website next month and then a quarterly print magazine starting late summer. It opens with a poignant anecdote about the sense of community that certain publications can foster. In “The Return of a Magazine That Changed Culture,” Charlie Porter writes,

In the January 1999 issue of The Face, a British style magazine, there was an anonymous letter from a gay closeted 17-year-old schoolboy. He wrote that a feature in the magazine about gay hip-hop clubs gave him “a glimmer of hope.” The letter was signed, “can’t-say-my-name-in-case-I-get-sussed-out.”

The writer of that letter was Stuart Brumfitt. Twenty years later, Mr. Brumfitt is now the editor of a new iteration of The Face, 15 years after the magazine folded, in 2004. “That’s what The Face was to me growing up,” Mr. Brumfitt said.

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