When magazine media magnate Jason Binn launched his luxury publication Dujour Magazine back in 2012 the magazine was locked, loaded, fully staffed and had a built in audience to take the luxury media market by storm. It came out swinging packed with ads from leading luxury brands, services and destinations. Early covers featured Christy Turlington, Nicole Kidman, Sly Stalone and Robert DeNiro to name a few of the high profile individuals that have graced the high quality covers of Dujour. The magazine lives up to its target audience in appearance and content. It looks and feels like the luxury product it is, something that shouldn’t be on local newsstand but delivered exclusively to high net worth individuals. CEO/Publisher Jason Binn is a man about town always selling always working even in the endless photo stream that is his Instagram page. Sure he may look like he’s out and about, but make no mistake, the man is literally working. Dujour which shared offices with luxury partner/backer Gilt on Park Ave, vacated that shared space in favor of new shared space last summer at Space 530, the co-working and creative offices used by small businesses and start ups. But the same staff that the publication started out with just five years ago is not the same staff it moved with.
It’s no secret that turnover happens in every industry especially the media industry. In fact the magazine media industry is in the middle of major turnover right now. But its worth noting that today at Dujour, almost all the top level and editorial staff once listed in the masthead of the five year old publication is no longer with the company and it all happened quietly including the departure of its most recent editor in chief Fiona Murray who took over from founding editor in chief Nicole Vecchiarelli just back in June of 2016. Ms. Murray has since been quietly replaced by Renee Lucas Horan who was the online managing editor of Haute Living. Her name in addition to Jason Binn’s is among the few currently listed in the now scantish masthead which now totals about 24 compared to about 40 before. Quiet exits over the past couple years include former Chief Revenue Officer Alan Katz who exited in 2015. His replacement Leslie Ferrand has also since left the company. The masthead no longer lists roles like Chief Digital Officer, a position last occupied by Jay Blades who departed at the start of 2016 after just over a year. Currently only a web producer is listed for Dujour.com. Since its launch, the magazine’s staff has been shrinking like its ad pages in recent issues. Looking through the masthead of all the issues since 2012, the staff size has steadily declined with many top level individuals no longer there. Just between its 2017 Summer and fall issues there was a reduction in staff. On the editorial side features director Anthony Rotunno, fashion market director Paul Frederick and a few others all departed in May of this year.
When Dujour published its first issue it had a total of 312 pages, with 90+ of those being ads. Today, its current issue the Fall 2017 issue only has a total of 136 pages with only 26 of those being ads. That’s less than half the total pages of its first issue and far less ads. This decline since its debut issue is not out of the norm in today’s media climate where more and more ad dollars continue to move rapidly to digital. But it does follow a pattern that many magazines big and small have faced regarding the uncertain future of their print editions. Now to be clear, we are not saying Dujour is ending its print edition. We are saying that these are usually the signs that lead up to a decision to end print editions at many publishers in the past and even recently. Dujour was once exclusive for free to individuals in a certain tax bracket who qualified via subscription. Anyone else who wanted it would have to go buy it on newsstands. Now today, almost anyone can get their hands on the publication via subscription for free by answering the questions on the form to meet Dujour’s requirements. This no doubt increases circulation which in return looks good to advertisers. When it first published, Dujour touted its access to Gilt’s affluent clientele which was attractive to many luxury advertisers looking to reach the free spending individuals that frequented Gilt’s website on a daily basis . But that along with the hype around Gilt has since faded as is evident in Dujour’s skeletal management/editorial team and and its shrinking pages.
Earlier this year Jason Binn rolled out new all inclusive ad packages in an effort to woo back or attract new advertisers. The new program promised deeper access to its luxury high income audiences across its print digital/social platforms and newsletters. The package also offered of up access to Gilt’s and Jetsmarter’s high income user database. Mr. Binn serves as an advisor to both companies including night life app inLIST. At the time Mr. Binn was rolling out these new programs, he said that the entire offering was worth a little over $2 million. He also said he was going to target fewer advertises with this new bigger more expensive ad package saying he only needed 20 advertisers to buy into the package. Being the luxury lifestyle guru that he is, he even compared buying into these new offerings to belonging to an exclusive club. With Google and Facebook and now Amazon sucking up all the digital ad dollars from everyone including luxury advertisers, publishers like Dujour Media are having to constantly reinvent their businesses to compete for the scraps. But even that has proven tough to do with growing daily competition. One thing is for sure in all of this and that is to never bet against Jason Binn. There is always something in the pipelines and he isn’t in the luxury media business to fail.