Monday, March 07, 2005

But Do They Read The Articles?

The NYT reports on a new magazine niche: publications for the super-wealthy. Following the trend-setting lead of the rich is nothing new, Thorstein Veblen wrote about it 116 years ago in The Theory of The Leisure Class, and coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption" in the process.

In an ever more fragmented media world, the rich are becoming their own niche. They may be diverse connoisseurs of fashion, yachting or jewelry, but they share one important trait: a seemingly bottomless supply of disposable income.

Not everyone in the magazine industry is convinced that this new market is as real as its promoters like to believe. Maer Roshan, editor in chief of Radar, a magazine that is being reintroduced in May and aimed not at the luxury crowd but at contemporary urban culture, said he saw the luxury magazines as escape hatches for a country weary of a post-9/11 reality.

"We're in a war and it's not exactly a boom time economy," he said. But the luxury magazines "have ceded reality, so what's left for them but to build their own fantasy worlds?"

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