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Super Yachting Anyone? You Only Need A Net Worth Of $680 Million To Join The Fun – But Not To Enjoy The Magazine – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Louis Coletti, Associate Publisher Luxury Advertising, ShowBoats International Magazine.

August 14, 2015

“I think print is the most powerful medium. I think it’s an engagement opportunity for consumers to be hands-on (no pun intended) and connected with the content. I’ve been a magazine fan since high school; I believe in print and always will believe in print. It’s something that you can take with you and have an intimate experience with. The photography is bold; the typography is modern and continues to change. It’s something that you can take with you no matter where you are, from the beach to the boardroom, onboard a boat or onboard a plane; it can go with you everywhere. There’s no place that you can’t take a magazine.” Louis Coletti

Showboats 3-14 For most of us the superyacht stratosphere of existence is but a mere fantasy that we dream about after a really large, superb dinner. But for some people, that’s not the case. Spending $10 million a year on maintenance alone for one of these magnificent vessels is just an annual expense that they write a check for unflinchingly. Just thinking about it makes me hyperventilate a bit.

ShowBoats International is a magazine dedicated to those individuals who can sail the seven seas in a style and luxury that many of us have never known, nor ever will. But it’s definitely entertaining to read about.

According to Louis Coletti, associate publisher luxury advertising for the magazine, ShowBoats International has the wealthiest readership of any publication in the United States, with the mean net worth of a superyacht owner estimated at $680 million. The magazine has the highest concentration of ultra-high net worth individuals and billionaire’s listed among its readership and provides the content this echelon of people need to stay up-to-date and abreast of what’s going on in the superyacht and mega yacht communities.

Louis is determined to take this superyacht brand to a whole new level. I spoke with him recently and we talked about the redesign and relaunch of the U.S. edition of the brand beginning with the March 2015 issue of the magazine. Louis said investments were made in editorial content, paper stock and the overall size and binding of the publication, proving that not only do us mere mortals appreciate the power of print, but so do the ultra-mega-rich as well.

Some mindboggling statistics that Louis provided for Mr. Magazine™ only goes to show that a niche audience takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to the superyacht community:


• Many superyacht owners keep their vessels for no more than three years before selling up.

• In 2013, 355 superyachts were sold with a total combined price of $3.4 billion U.S.

• Of the 125 owners’ nationalities identified, 14% were Americans, followed closely by Russians.

• Luxury yachts top the list of the ten most expensive asset purchases ever recorded.

• 10% of the yacht purchase price is usually paid immediately.

So, as you let those statistics sink in, I hope you enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with a man who rubs elbows with the ultra-wealthy quite often, but keeps his feet firmly planted on the ground when it comes to the future of his brand, Louis Coletti, Associate Publisher Luxury Advertising, ShowBoats International Magazine.

But first, the sound-bites:

Louis Coletti
On defining the superyacht community:
It really is a fascinating community. The superyacht world is becoming more known and more aware in the United States now, thanks to social media and all of the entertainment channels. As you know, super yachting has been a very big presence in Europe; it’s been part of their culture for decades and centuries with Sardinia and St. Moritz, Monaco and the French Riviera and all over Italy. Yachts are in the harbors there and can be seen all year long, but it’s just becoming known here in the U.S., which is exciting for us.

On the need for a magazine like ShowBoats Magazine in the scheme of things: We’re globally the number one content provider in the superyacht world, for both the motor boat and sailing. We have the strongest hold on the community, in terms of the inside access to who these people are and the people who create this industry. We’ve been around for over 30 years and it’s the number one trusted media brand in the superyacht world. We host the largest and most high profile private event in the industry; we host over 14 global events, exclusively for superyacht and mega yacht owners, brokers and builders.

On the superyacht owner’s estimated net worth being $680 million and whether advertisers are waiting in line to get inside the magazine’s pages because of that:
Our advertising clients directly get it. Every time that I meet with a client, especially Europeans – Italians or French, they immediately understand exactly who this audience is. They’ve been around it, especially as a luxury marketer, they understand who these people are and how powerful and influential they are, and most importantly how private they are.

On the redesign, rebranding and relaunch of the magazine: We increased the trim size as you saw. We have top-quality paper stock and beautiful binding for the magazine; big, bold photography and to improve the design we cut the issue cover-to-cover, beginning with the March issue. And together with our investors as well as many of our readers that attend our events; they all kept speaking to my CEO and the editors about including luxury lifestyle content in the magazine.

On why he thinks we still need print in this digital age: I think print is the most powerful medium. I think it’s an engagement opportunity for consumers to be hands-on (no pun intended) and connected with the content. I’ve been a magazine fan since high school; I believe in print and always will believe in print. It’s something that you can take with you and have an intimate experience with. The photography is bold; the typography is modern and continues to change. It’s something that you can take with you no matter where you are, from the beach to the boardroom, onboard a boat or onboard a plane; it can go with you everywhere. There’s no place that you can’t take a magazine.

On the biggest stumbling block he’s had to face:
It’s brand development basically. We just opened a New York office in April 2015 and I’m here in charge of building all the luxury non-marine; everything that’s non-marine related. It’s just building the brand; making people aware that ShowBoats International is redesigned and relaunched. We have the most powerful audience, in terms of wealth and influence. It’s just about educating people on what the superyacht and mega yacht world is and what it’s about; the amount of money that it takes to participate in this community and that a superyacht is literally the most expensive consumer item for purchase on earth right now.

On how it makes him feel to be in the company of people with ultra-high net worth’s:
It’s exciting to be part of this development. I wish that it was easily understood, in terms of when I talk about super yachting, I just wish more people would understand exactly what it means. And what this industry is about.

On anything else he’d like to add:
The way I see this media opportunity/partnership with us is more a financial decision than a media decision. If marketers are looking to affect their bottom line in a significant way and move product; move a luxury auto off the lot; move a $150,000 timepiece out of the showcase; move custom, made-to-order pretty much anything that’s in their stable of offerings; this is the audience to do it.

On what keeps him up at night: What keeps me up the most honestly though is the excitement of wanting to get out and see more people and do more and just build this brand and take it to a whole new level. I’m in month four, going on month five, and sometimes it feels like it’s been two years and sometimes it feels like it’s been five weeks. Every day it’s new and exciting.

And now for the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with Louis Coletti, Associate Publisher Luxury Advertising, ShowBoats International Magazine.

Samir Husni: Tell me a little about the superyacht community.

Showboats 2-13 Louis Coletti: It really is a fascinating community. The superyacht world is becoming more known and more aware in the United States now, thanks to social media and all of the entertainment channels.

As you know, super yachting has been a very big presence in Europe; it’s been part of their culture for decades and centuries with Sardinia and St. Moritz, Monaco and the French Riviera and all over Italy. Yachts are in the harbors there and can be seen all year long, but it’s just becoming known here in the U.S., which is exciting for us.

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but Ft. Lauderdale is the third largest shipbuilding, manufacturing and marina setting in North and South America. It’s actually the third largest in the world. It’s the top largest in North and South America.

Most Europeans still have their superyachts here in Ft. Lauderdale during the wintertime when they’re doing the transatlantic trips. They send their boats ahead with the captain and the crew and then they meet up with them in Florida. So, it’s become really big, which is very exciting for us. We’re very happy about all of the attention the community has been getting.

Samir Husni: I’m hearing a lot lately that the reason we exist in print is because of the impact of social media and the Internet and how it’s introducing the world to each other. What is the need for ShowBoats International Magazine in the scheme of these introductions?

Louis Coletti: We’re globally the number one content provider in the superyacht world, for both the motor boat and sailing. We have the strongest hold on the community, in terms of the inside access to who these people are and the people who create this industry. We’ve been around for over 30 years and it’s the number one trusted media brand in the superyacht world. We host the largest and most high profile private event in the industry; we host over 14 global events, exclusively for superyacht and mega yacht owners, brokers and builders.

So, it’s really these great partnerships and we have access in terms of exclusive interviews; we get invited onboard for the new build before they’re launched. We have what’s called the Superyacht Design Symposium, which is an event that we host once a year where all the top superyacht architects and designers gather together. It’s a three-day event that’s an open forum and discussion, plus there are seminars and other types of events there as well. And they’ll all get together once a year to share the new updates and ideas on technology, regulations, design opportunities and new build that are coming out. So, we’re involved on the build side as well as the actual boats themselves being launched on the water.

Samir Husni: In addition to that, you have the Ultra High Net Worth individuals in the world; I’m quoting you from your email. You said the superyacht owner is estimated at $680 million, that’s the mean net worth. How do you utilize that audience in reaching the advertisers? You’re in charge of the luxury advertising for the magazines of the brand; when you go meet with an ad agency, are they just champing at the bit to advertise in the magazines?

Louis Coletti: That’s a very interesting question. When I meet with a client directly, they get it immediately. They understand the amount of money that it takes to be a superyacht owner. And additionally, the amount of money that it takes to support the lifestyle that evolves with this community.

On average, they spend two months out of the year on their superyachts. They have a whole life outside of their boating activities. So, for them to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on something they only spend two months a year on, they have an excessive amount of income to spend supporting their hobby and their luxuries.

So our advertising clients directly get it. Every time that I meet with a client, especially Europeans – Italians or French, they immediately understand exactly who this audience is. They’ve been around it, especially as a luxury marketer, they understand who these people are and how powerful and influential they are, and most importantly how private they are.

The ability to gain access is what we provide. We provide inside access with people who we have very intimate relationships with. And you can just imagine based on the size of these boats and they’re all new build that we feature in the magazine. Every issue when you receive ShowBoats International and you see the content, every boat in there is a new build; every boat that’s in there is one of our readers, and we only feature yachts of a 100 ft. or larger on the cover. So, if you have an 80 ft. yacht and it’s spectacular, it might not make the cover, because our rule is 100 ft. or larger.

Also another statistic is on average they spend 10% of the cost of the yachts annually on maintenance. For example, they’ll spend $100 million on their yacht at purchase and then they’re spending $10 million per year to maintain it. Between fuel, docking fees, insurance; whatever they pay in terms of a captain’s salary, crew salaries and everything else that goes along with it, it’s about 10% a year that they spend. That automatically increases the caliber of wealth behind these people. Steven Spielberg is one of our readers. He’s one of the biggest superyacht owners in the Americas, pretty much in the world, but definitely in the Americas.

This explains the difference between a high net worth individual and a very high net worth individual, (Laughs) or an ultra-high net worth person.

Samir Husni: (Laughs too) Yes, ultra-high indeed.

Louis Coletti: Yes, ultra, as they’re definitely called.

Samir Husni: I was in L.A. with a friend at the marina and he was showing me the yacht of Microsoft’s Paul Allen…

Louis Coletti: Yes, he owns three. He has three superyachts. And up until two years ago, he had the largest yacht on the water. He spent around $200 million building that boat. And one year later billionaire Roman Abramovich built a yacht 10 feet larger just to beat Paul Allen. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Louis Coletti: It’s very competitive. Who wants to have the fastest boat; who wants to have the biggest boat; who wants to have one of the top architects and designers building their boat? It’s a very, very competitive community and it’s a very small community too. It’s just the richest people in the world.

Samir Husni: You said that Spielberg has the biggest now?

Louis Coletti: Well, there are two that are vying for the biggest superyacht on earth; one is a Malaysian businessman and one is a guy with no name from the Middle East. Those two are being discussed as the largest boats on the water. But that could always change.

Samir Husni: In March, the entire magazine was relaunched, redesigned and rebranded; tell me a little about the before and after of ShowBoats International.

Louis Coletti: Before it was a different trim size, a different paper stock, a different type of production quality and not as luxurious as you see it today. And it was strictly cover-to-cover boating. It was a place for the boats’ owners to have a showcase, but also for brokers to market and showcase their clients’ boats that were up for charter. Basically, it was a very specific trade-type of magazine, although it was for anyone who appreciated boating, but really for the superyacht owner.

We have a new group of investors in the company; Tara Getty, for instance, from the Getty family Art Foundation; Tara Getty is one of our investors. H
e’s a superyacht owner and very involved in the community.

And together with our investors as well as many of our readers that attend our events; they all kept speaking to my CEO and the editors about including luxury lifestyle content in the magazine. These are very, very busy people; they’re all over the world and they own several homes; they’re not in one place too often. So, the opportunity to read one publication that they’re most excited about; the number one passion point should be yachting. And to infuse it with other luxury content such as watches; they’re big collectors of luxury timepieces. That’s another thing that they spend so much of their money on is watches. Luxury automobiles, fashion, jewelry, spirits, technology and things like that.

We took the liberty to hire new editors; our editor-in-chief in the U.K. Sacha Bonsor; she comes from Hearst, where she worked at Harper’s Bazaar and she’s editor-in-chief in the U.K. overseeing all of the content. She’s very well connected in the luxury space and she’s bringing really fantastic contributors onboard to build the luxury content in the magazine. And it has been so well-received; readers are just praising the redesign; they love the fact that we’re including this new content in addition to boating. And it’s really brought a new element to the brand.

We increased the trim size as you saw. We have top-quality paper stock and beautiful binding for the magazine; big, bold photography and to improve the design we cut the issue cover-to-cover, beginning with the March issue.

Our sister publication, Boat International, which is for our European market and based in the U.K., they did their redesign first. Their redesign launched in October 2014. And then ShowBoats International for the U.S. was redesigned as of March 2015.

Samir Husni: With the redesign and relaunch of the brand; tell me a little about the power of the print publication. You’ve invested in the quality of the paper; you’ve invested in the branding; you’ve invested in the editorial content; why do you think in this digital age people still need print?

Louis Coletti: I think print is the most powerful medium. I think it’s an engagement opportunity for consumers to be hands-on (no pun intended) and connected with the content. I’ve been a magazine fan since high school; I believe in print and always will believe in print. It’s something that you can take with you and have an intimate experience with. The photography is bold; the typography is modern and continues to change. It’s something that you can take with you no matter where you are, from the beach to the boardroom, onboard a boat or onboard a plane; it can go with you everywhere. There’s no place that you can’t take a magazine.

And it’s a whole different experience, in terms of content. Does print and digital work well together? Absolutely. We have content online that’s not in the magazine. We also have videos online as well.

That’s another thing, our company has its own video production company and we produce videos for all of the major yacht builders. We produce videos for all of our events. We produce and host The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta twice a year; once in Sardinia and once in the Caribbean and we’ve been doing it for eight years with Loro Piana. And we videotape the entire week’s events, from start to finish. All the races; all the interviews; all the entertainment; all of it is recorded in a beautiful documentary way. And we press those videos online.

We also host what’s called The World Superyacht Awards. It’s similar to The Oscars for the superyacht industry and it’s something that our readers look forward to every single year. It’s with several different, very high-profile luxury partners. Baccarat builds the statue for us that they win, it’s called The Neptune, and it’s a very big deal. It’s a black-tie event that’s hosted in a different country around the world every year. And we videotape that entire event and we press that online too.

So, the content online is much different. We also list now over 7,000 superyachts for sale and for charter; it’s the number one directory for sale and charter in the industry. And we host that on our sites. We also produce what’s called the Superyacht Register, which is an outline of every detail of the top superyachts in the world. And it lists the builder, the year it was built, the owner, the architect, the interior designer, the size and speed of the boat; all the specifics of the boats are registered.

My point with this is it’s a whole different experience and additional content that’s found online.

Showboats 1-12 Samir Husni: With all the glitz and glamour of the superyacht world; what has been the biggest stumbling block that you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?

Louis Coletti: It’s brand development basically. We just opened a New York office in April 2015 and I’m here in charge of building all the luxury non-marine; everything that’s non-marine related. It’s just building the brand; making people aware that ShowBoats International is redesigned and relaunched.

We have the most powerful audience, in terms of wealth and influence. It’s just about educating people on what the superyacht and mega yacht world is and what it’s about; the amount of money that it takes to participate in this community and that a superyacht is literally the most expensive consumer item for purchase on earth right now. Until you can own private rocket-ships going up into space; there isn’t anything more expensive than superyachts. It costs more than any real estate, any watch, any piece of art, any automobile, and any airplane. The average cost of a plane is $5 million; these people spend more than that just maintaining their boat. (Laughs)

Samir Husni: (Laughs too).

Louis Coletti: It’s just a matter now of really educating the community. The challenge has been, I’d say, the ad agencies; not clients. Clients get it immediately. They’ve been on a superyacht; they know someone who owns a superyacht; they’ve been in St. Tropez, St. Bart’s or Sardinia and they see these superyachts in the harbors or out at sea, so they understand exactly what I’m saying. Several of my clients are part of this community. David Geffen is one of our readers; he owns two superyachts. I think I mentioned that Steven Spielberg is one of our readers; Paul Allen is one of our readers; Mark Zuckerberg is a reader; these people own superyachts and we’re the number one content provider in this community. If they own a boat, it’s registered with us; they get the magazine.

Samir Husni: How does it make you feel to be in such company?

Louis Coletti: It’s exciting to be part of this development. I wish that it was easily understood, in terms of when I talk about super yachting, I just wish more people would understand exactly what it means. And what this industry is about.

But like everything, it takes time and we’re making great progress. We’ve already secured seven new luxury clients that have never worked with us in this yachting space before. We’re getting a lot of interest for 2016 from a lot of the A-list top luxury brands across all categories, not just in the watch category. I wish there were more like me. (Laughs) I wish there were 10 of me; it would make it happen a lot faster.

We’re in building mode right now. We know our strengths. There are other magazines in this space, but they can’t compare to what we’re doing. They don’t have events and if they do, not at the caliber of the events that we have. They definitely don’t have the guest list of attendees that we have. They don’t have the respect and the appreciation for our quality content that we have.

It feels good to be the leader; it’s just being a leader in a space that’s not so widely-known in the U.S. yet.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Louis Coletti: The way I see this media opportunity/partnership with us is more a financial decision than a media decision. If marketers are looking to affect their bottom line in a significant way and move product; move a luxury auto off the lot; move a $150,000 timepiece out of the showcase; move custom, made-to-order pretty much anything that’s in their stable of offerings; this is the audience to do it.

It’s not about branding; it’s not about running ads in this magazine or that magazine because so-and-so is friends with the editor-in-chief or doing favors for a favor. I understand the importance of all that and that’s definitely a part of how this industry works, but in our case it really is about a financial decision. You invest in us and the rate of return is so much higher than pretty much any other magazine or media available. And it’s because of the amount of wealth and influence that these people have. And it’s a global community. ShowBoats International is for U.S.-based superyacht owners and Boat International is for European superyacht owners; however, combined together it’s a global community. They travel the circuit. They’re all in the Mediterranean at the same time and when the seasons change they go over to the Caribbean and spend time and then they travel to the Americas around the same time, based on the climate and the season. And it’s a circuit. Sometimes you can see five or ten, maybe more, of these superyachts in the same vicinity. We post on our website about whose yacht was spotted where.

Just keep an eye on us. If you’re ever going to follow the America’s Cup, now is an exciting time to do that. We publish America’s Cup updates on our site daily. Right now it’s going on as the World Series and so we’re featuring content on the America’s Cup for the next two years. The World Series just started in June.

The way I see this media opportunity/partnership with us was more a financial decision than a media decision. If marketers are looking to affect their bottom line in a significant way and move product; move a luxury auto off the lot; move a $150,000 timepiece out of the showcase; make custom made-to-order pretty much anything that’s in their stable of offerings; this is the audience to do it.

So, just keep an eye on us and it’ll be exciting to see the growth and the new achievements that we make.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Louis Coletti: (Laughs) Thinking of everything that I have to get done the next day; things that I didn’t get to scratch off my to-do list that day, which carries over to tomorrow.

What keeps me up the most honestly though is the excitement of wanting to get out and see more people and do more and just build this brand and take it to a whole new level. I’m in month four, going on month five, and sometimes it feels like it’s been two years and sometimes it feels like it’s been five weeks. Every day it’s new and exciting. Just knowing how much we have yet to do is both exciting and keeps me up at night sometimes.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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