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InStyle's Star Makes Meteoric Rise

January 22, 1998|PAUL D. COLFORD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's not one of the giant magazines, at least not yet, nor is it known for breaking news or snagging the big interview. But as the invited guest in the fabulous homes of major stars, InStyle has managed to parlay access and unfailingly flattering portraits of the famous into one of the most striking successes in publishing today.

In the January "What's Hot" issue, InStyle was "At Home With Mariel Hemingway in Sun Valley [and] Randy Quaid in Beverly Hills." The new February issue presents "67 Pages of Celebrity Weddings."

This unconventional women's magazine, which combines celebrity profiles and shelter coverage, along with beauty tips and fashion, last year more than doubled the ad revenue it had generated in 1996 by taking in an estimated $53 million. According to year-end figures released last week by the Publishers Information Bureau, InStyle's leap forward in dollars reflected a 73% increase in the number of ad pages it sold.

Also last week, InStyle was among the top 10 performers in circulation identified by Capell's Circulation Report, a respected industry newsletter. Capell's annual survey listed InStyle for the first time, pointing to the magazine's average newsstand sale of 600,000 and its ability to sell 90% of its subscriptions at the full, undiscounted price of $19.95.

Spun off by Time Inc. from People in June 1994, InStyle reached profitability last year, far quicker than most new magazines ever manage.

In other highlights of 1997, Time Inc. again finished first, second and third in total ad revenue as the company-owned People generated $588.5 in ad revenue, up 12% over 1996; Sports Illustrated, $548.6 million, up 5%; and Time, $533.2 million, up a hefty 21.3%.

New Grisham on the Way: A new John Grisham novel is scheduled to go on sale Feb. 4. It's called "The Street Lawyer," the story of a hotshot attorney in Washington.

Schell (Again) on Nukes: Seventeen years after Jonathan Schell's "The Fate of the Earth" presented in the New Yorker a searing image of how a nuclear holocaust would fry the planet (his big bestseller followed), the journalist examines in the Nation the question of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era. Schell's "The Gift of Time: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons," the longest piece ever to appear in the Nation, runs more than 40 pages in the new issue.

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* Paul D. Colford is a columnist for Newsday. His e-mail address is paul.colford@newsday.com. His column is published Thursdays.

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