Media mogul and print entrepreneur Jay Penske surprised the fashion industry when he bought Fairchild Fashion Media, whose portfolio included the traditional trade publication Women’s Wear Daily, from Condé Nast last year.
Since then, Penske has made it clear that he wants to reboot FFM to become a profitable business once again, after it lost a reported $50 million in five years. His tenure in charge is thought to herald major shifts for the longstanding “industry bible,” Women’s Wear Daily, with Penske placing a much greater emphasis on digital platforms.
The son of automobile magnate Roger Penske, Jay founded the Penske Media Company in 2003. Today, PMC is one of the world’s leading digital media and publishing corporations, overseeing 22 titles and reaching an estimated 168 million readers monthly.
When it was announced in September 2014 that Penske’s media company would be acquiring, amongst a number of other fashion titles, Women’s Wear Daily, many speculated that Penske wanted to repeat the success he had had Variety, a Hollywood trade publication PMC bought in 2012, which Penske brought back from declining sales and falling financials.
Once an indisputable leader in fashion media, in recent years the 105-year-old Women’s Wear Daily has struggled to hold onto its dominance in the wake of more digitally savvy rivals. Penske’s first move at the helm, after bluntly informing staffers of their paper’s bleeding financials, was to cut daily print editions, rebranding the magazine as a more glossy weekly and shifting content online. He also announced new bureaus in China and Brazil, part of a campaign to make Women’s Wear Daily more relevant in today’s global, modern fashion industry.