In what could be either a green shoot or an act of chutzpah, on Friday the Financial Times launched the website for their How To Spend It magazine. Even those familiar with the magazine, which has been going for 15 years, might still find the website surprising to look at—the design is innovative and on my computer at least, slow to load (I suppose that if I was rich enough to be in their target audience, I’d have a faster machine.) It’s also a bit of a learning curve trying to navigate the site. I spent several minutes trapped in one article, accidentally loading the Rolex official website every time I tried to leave—although this may well have been deliberate.
It’s a website ripe for parody, or possibly beyond it. The magazine’s founding editor, Lucia van der Post, is contributing content in the form of “Van der Postings.” One of the adverts “Eclectibles” (that is, “desirable acquirables”) is the Jaeger-LeCoultre platinum Master Minute Repeatre watch. With diamonds. A snip at £177,000. Can this kind of site prosper in the current financial climate? The FT thinks so and is banking on getting luxury advertising. But the downturn isn’t over yet and the fact that Condé Nast closed four magazines in the US is interesting.
For the moment, the website is outside the FT paywall—another decision that runs against the prevailing winds in the media and, presumably, the sensibilities of its audience. I’d recommend having a look. It could be the shape of magazine websites to come.