The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

up for grabs en vogue
Looks like things aren't going well for venerable teen mag Seventeen. At least, not to parent company Primedia's satisfaction.

Seventeen is my lucky number, by the way. Just so you know. Let's move on:

Burdened by debt and feeling it's getting shafted as far as perceived valuation, Primedia is putting the magazine up for sale. With any luck, a bidding war will bring in something north of $250 million for the title. Not bad.

What really caught my eye was the curious wording of the official reason why Seventeen is on the block:

"Publisher Primedia Inc. said on Wednesday it was exploring strategic alternatives, including sale, for its Seventeen magazine, citing the market's lack of recognition for the strength of the title." (italics mine)

Just reading that, you get the sense of rampant spin-o-rama on the loose! "Lack of recognition for the strength of the title"... in other words, Primedia thinks the mag is peachy-keen, but no one else does? :) That's pretty much the size of it, actually. While the publishing company will argue that Seventeen is still one of the leading titles in the coveted teen girl market, and has been bolstered in that regard, it's got lots and lots of competition. As the old guard, Seventeen is in real danger of losing it's top spot to newer (and assumed "fresher") upstarts. This is why Primedia is looking to cash out now, before the title's value starts to erode. But it's still a hutzpah-like maneuver to suggest that the analysts can't recognize what Primedia, and everyone else, plainly can.

Among those upstarts teen mags is Teen Vogue. The offspring of the big-girl's bible is trying to go with an upscale-content approach to teeny-bopping. Good luck! Smart move to have Gwen Stefani on the first cover though; her wide appeal to both straight and gay females is sure to snag a wide audience for the premier issue.