Once Competitors, Beach and Hamptons Magazines Aim to Refine Identities
The new Modern Luxury begins to take shape following GreenGale merger.
Last month's bombshell merger in the luxury publishing space, in which Modern Luxury Media purchased competitor GreenGale Publishing (formerly Niche Media), raised a number of legitimate questions about exactly what Modern Luxury's expanded portfolio — in which several formerly competing titles suddenly found themselves under common ownership — would look like going forward.
That plan began to take shape this week, with Modern Luxury announcing that Beach magazine, which serves the Hamptons, will pivot to place a greater emphasis on health and wellness coverage, freeing the newly acquired GreenGale title Hamptons magazine to continue as its flagship luxury lifestyle title in the region.
Phebe Wahl, who took over as editor-in-chief of Beach last November, will remain in that role, as will longtime Hamptons editor-in-chief Samantha Yanks. Hamptons publisher Debra Halpert, who also joined Modern Luxury through the April merger, will take over as group publisher of both titles.
Yanks will also maintain the editor-in-chief role of the formerly GreenGale-owned Gotham magazine, headquartered about 90 miles west in Manhattan, another region that now similarly features two Modern Luxury titles serving the same market. No word yet on the plans for those markets — or the handful of other now-multi-title markets in Modern Luxury's portfolio, from Aspen to Miami — but the company does intend to expand its editorial and sales staffs in New York to accomodate "increasing demand," according to this week's release.
Adding further intrigue to the future of both magazines is the looming emergence of yet a third luxury lifestyle magazine serving the Hamptons, Hamptons Purist, which is expected to drop its debut issue over Memorial Day Weekend. That magazine will be helmed by Cristina Cuomo, the sister-in-law of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who also, coincidentally, served as editor-in-chief of Beach up until her departure last November as part of a shakeup at the title.
While operations at Modern Luxury's two Hamptons titles appear to be consolidating under a common group publisher, CEO Michael Dickey told Folio: last month that — in the interest of keeping advertisers on board — the general strategy is to focus less on pivoting content and combining operations and more on distribution. So whether or not the Hamptons strategy will be replicated elsewhere in the company's portfolio remains anyone's guess as of now.
"The titles themselves have coexisted for anywhere from a year to 10 years, depending on the market. Obviously, the market supported both of them for that period of time," Dickey told Folio: at the time. "So we’ll maintain separate sales staffs, separate publishers, separate editorial. We’ll share back-end offices, but we’re mainly focused on where we are distributing to get better coverage for advertisers so we don’t have duplication on our distribution, which will encourage advertisers to buy both titles."