Times to create monthly men’s style section

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The New York Times Building (Haxorjoe via Wikimedia Commons)
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The New York Times is planning a new section in its print newspaper devoted to men's fashion and lifestyle coverage that will build on the Times' successful and lucrative Styles section, which runs on Thursdays and Sundays, Capital has learned.

Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades-Ha confirmed the plans when asked about them, saying in an email, "It will run on the first Friday of every month beginning in the Spring. There are no plans to go weekly."

The section will be called Men's Style and will be overseen by Styles editor Stuart Emmrich.

The decision reflects the Times' ongoing battle to bolster print advertising revenues. These revenues are a significant portion of the company's finances but have been in decline for the past several years, including a 5.3 percent dip in the third quarter of 2014. Total advertising revenues during the quarter slipped just .1 percent, to $137.9 million, thanks to progress on the digital front. Roughly 100 newsroom positions were recently eliminated through buyouts and layoffs to reduce costs.

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Fashion is part of the luxury rollup, which executives regularly cite as a bright spot. But while the paper is known for strong coverage of women's fashion, the menswear waters are more uncharted for the Times.

A men's fashion section could therefore prove fruitful both in terms of reportage and advertising adjacencies. Industrywide, the menswear category appears to be growing, with $10.45 million spent at U.S. newspapers in 2013, up from $9.8 million in 2012, according to data provided by the research firm Kantar Media. Newspapers have not traditionally seen the level of menswear advertising that glossy magazines regularly receive. Men's Style also will be ripe for ads selling things like whiskey, razors, watches and so on.

The section will presumably be a must-read for executive editor Dean Baquet—known to be an impeccable sartorialist whose pocket squares match his socks—while competing with magazines like Condé Nast's Details and Penske Media's M.

Overall, the Times has been working to scale revenues through digital initiatives such as online subscription packages and premium advertising innovations like native and video. Print advertising, however, generally commands higher rates, and the medium remains a focus for the Times despite the migration of many readers to laptops, iPads and smartphones.

At the end of 2014, as Capital first reported, the Times said it was killing its Sunday Automobiles section because of diminished advertiser interest. At the same time, it has invested heavily in its glossy Sunday supplements, T and The New York Times Magazine, which is due for a relaunch on February 22. Times Kremlinologists might note that the creation of feature sections in the 1970's helped save the paper during an earlier era of financial peril and technological disruption.

"We are ... committed to enhancing our print paper," Baquet wrote in a January 6 staff memo outlining the newsroom's strategy for 2015. "Besides redesigning the magazine, we have already begun some initiatives that will unfold in the coming months."

During his appearance at the annual U.B.S. Media and Communications Conference on December 9, chief executive Mark Thompson said in remarks to the investment community, "I think you'll see some more sections arriving in the newspaper. We think there's an opportunity both domestically and internationally to build out some of the editorial sections."