As announced this past Friday evening, Nylon magazine has been purchased and merged with fashionindie.com by a management team lead by Joseph Mohen and media maven Dana Fields. Up until the announcement, Nylon staffers were unaware a sale was being negotiated.
According to WWD, “Even its interim editor-in-chief, Marvin Scott Jarret, once the face of all things downtown cool, was unaware that the magazine he founded in 1999 was likely to soon sever ties with him. Late Friday, Nylon Holdings Inc. was sold for an undisclosed amount to a still-to-be-named new venture, headed by Joseph Mohen, the company’s chief executive officer, and Dana Fields, its executive vice president, chief revenue officer and publisher.”
Mohen is known for launching a number of online sites, most famously election.com. Fields is an established star in the media world and is best known for her time as group president at Wenner Media and then president of FHM magazine. The new owners received capital from two investment firms that enabled them first to purchase fashionindie and then Nylon. Mohen will act as CEO for the two merged companies, while Fields will be executive vice president, chief revenue officer and publisher.
Nylon and fashionindie.com will be run separately, and while Nylon‘s founding editor, Marvin Scott Jarrett, is expected to exit, fashionindie.com’s founders, Beca Alexander and Daniel Saynt, will retain their respective positions as editor-in-chief and creative director while also taking on new roles at Nylon.
There is some cross over between the two publications’ target audience, who are viewed as young and fashion forward. The big difference between the two and probably what was a very attractive lure for the new owners is that Nylon has several magazine titles, including international editions in Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia with a total circulation of 220,557. According to Adweek, Nylon‘s circulation dropped 14 percent during the second half of 2013, though its paid subscriptions rose 5 percent during the same period.
It’s a foregone conclusion that with new investment money, the primary goal will be to increase monetized visits to all sites and put Nylon‘s magazines back on a growth path if not through readers than ad dollars. Fields’ reputation has been built on growing advertising at several big name publications so she is sure to use that skill set to maximize Nylon‘s income potential.
The sites are not the only ones vying for the eyes of young, cool readers. There is crossover with refinery29.com, itself the recipient of about $30 million in funding over the past couple of years. dailycandy.com and fashionista.com are also competitors, and while many print publications were slow to make the transition to online platforms, most are now fully launched and also seeking viewers.
However, among the names that initially launched as online magazines, only Nylon has a book with an established circulation, albeit one, like many of its peers in the publishing business, that appears to be in slow but steady decline.
While the internet has been viewed as a sky-is-the-limit proposition for retail sales, it’s not clear if the formula is the same for fashion media companies. Already public company Twitter has taken stock hits for showing less than stellar growth of users. With all the big money and power players involved, this will be a fascinating space to keep an eye on over the next year whether because further gobbling up of sites occurs or any of the companies with big money investments shows signs of not being able to keep pace with the pack.