The Wall Street Journal today unveiled its forthcoming weekend magazine at a breakfast at the Core Club in Manhattan. The magazine—called simply “WSJ.”—also named Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio, a 17-year veteran of American Express Publishing, as its new publisher.

The luxury lifestyle magazine—in development for nearly two years—will be the Journal’s first brand extension to launch since Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. acquired Dow Jones and the paper for $5.6 billion last August.

With “The Luxury of Choice” as its tagline, the 100-plus page quarterly is slated to debut in the newspaper’s Saturday edition (both subscriber and newsstand) in September. The circulation will be 967,000, split between the paper’s 800,000 U.S. circulation and 167,000 in Europe and Asia. The Journal plans to take WSJ. monthly in 2009.

Marcus Brauchli, the Wall Street Journal’s managing editor, said the affluence of the Journal’s readership will help the magazine compete against established luxury magazines. Brauchli pointed out that the newspaper’s readers spent more than $3.5 billion on women’s apparel in the past year—“more than the readers of any women’s magazine, including Vogue.” (This, despite a 65-35 male-to-female ratio.) And they spent $53 billion on leisure travel—more than the readers of Travel & Leisure, he said.

‘Wit and Irreverence’ at the Journal?

Tina Gaudoin, the magazine’s editor-in-chief and former launch editor of the Times of London’s Luxx quarterly, said she intends to make WSJ. “the authority on modern wealth.” Gaudoin said the magazine will differentiate itself with wit and irreverence, “which may come as a shock to some of the people at the Journal.”

“It took us a long time to come up with the name,” said Gaudoin, adding that the understated logo “was very important to my anal art director.” The magazine had a working title, Pursuits, but it was too similar to the New York Times’ “Escapes” section and was scrapped, Brauchli said.

WSJ. will have a 9 7/8 x 11 ½ inch trim size and a 50-50 ad-to-edit ratio on a 60-pound paper stock, according to Michael Rooney, SVP and chief revenue officer for Dow Jones’ consumer media group.

Gaudoin said the magazine will be “less urban and less gritty” and more global than T—the New York Times’ luxury quarterly. “What will characterize us will be a sense of humor,” she said.

Despite the dour economy, Gaudoin believes that consumers and advertisers will support a luxury magazine. “People spend, even in a recession,” she said.

Ad Performance for Newspaper Magazines

TITLE AD
REVENUE 2007
AD
REVENUE 2006
%CHNG
American
Profile
228,028,602 167,756,739 35.9
Life
Magazine
37,236,406 129,071,638 -71.2
Los
Angeles Times Mag
24,112,427 37,776,852 -36.2
New
York Times Mag
434,383,751 427,154,630 1.7
Parade 695,656,564 642,536,154 8.3
Relish 82,746,064 37,926,089 118.2
USA
Weekend
494,992,050 476,655,331 3.8
TOTAL 1,997,155,864 1,918,877,433 4.1
       
TITLE AD PAGES 2007 AD PAGES 2006 %CHNG
American
Profile
631.02 576.15 9.5
Life
Magazine
98.84 395.53 -75.0
Los
Angeles Times Mag
502.54 801.69 -37.3
New
York Times Mag
3,881.03 3,964.60 -2.1
Parade 785.86 732.73 7.3
Relish 206.12 131.19 57.1
USA
Weekend
735.79 744.69 -1.2
TOTAL 6,841.20 7,346.58 -6.9


SOURCE: PIB