Fontaine is Giant Editor in Chief
Stephanie D. Smith
MARCH 02, 2006 -
Men's bimonthly Giant has hired Smokey Fontaine to become its new editor in chief, marking a new direction for the magazine as it tries to upgrade its design and visibility to become an A-list entertainment news source.
Giant serves up news and trivia on entertainment for young men obsessed with movies, television and video games. But the 300,000-circ title is still finding its place with readers and advertisers among the more established entertainment magazines such as Time Inc.'s 1.4 million-circ Entertainment Weekly, and Wenner Media's 1.3 million-circ Rolling Stone.
Giant is still struggling to find its place among young male readers. According a source familiar with the figures, Giant only sold 37,500 newsstands copies on average for the second half of 2005. That said, Giant's sell-through average is just 15 percent based on a newsstand draw of 250,000, well below the industry average of around 30 percent for an established title and high 20s to low 30s for a newer magazine.
However, Hooper counters the magazine sold 50,000 copies at newsstand during the period, for a sell through closer to 20 percent based on a 250,000 newsstand draw. Its June/July issue, with actress Katie Holmes on the cover, was its best selling issue so far at 60,000 copies. "It's looking good," repsonded Hooper.
Giant has been without an editor in chief since Mark Remy left the magazine last April. And last summer, it underwent a redesign to help boost its profile with more eye-catching look complete with a new logo, fonts and departments.
With Fontaine's arrival, Giant president and publisher Jamie Hooper hopes to bring the level of reporting, photography and scope of entertainment journalism to an even higher level.
"Giant is really for the superfan, the person that wants to know it before our friends know it. We’re known among our readers as that place that you go for the goods. What Smokey brings as out editor in chief is taking that idea and bring it up a notch," said Hooper.
Fontaine plans to oversee new tweaks that will, accoding to Fontaine, help Giant live up to its name. "We need to be big and feel big in a different way," Fontaine stated. To do that, he'll bring more boldness, both in the phtography and the edit, a heightened focus on music reporting, and help attract more A-list celebrities to its pages. Fontaine's first full issue will be its August/September edition.
Fontaine's rich pop culture and music experience will hopefully help Giant reach its goal. Fontaine most recently helped launch America, a urban luxury magazine founded by entertainment mogle Damon Dash. He is also a notable music editor at The Source, U.S. editor for indpendent culture magazine Trace, and has written several books, including The Autobiogrpahy of DMX.