Hearst Design Group Revives Metropolitan Home, Thrives With Cross-Brand Content & Events
On April 12th the Hearst Design Group revived Metropolitan Home, a modern design magazine focused on city living. Metropolitan Home was last published in 2009. It’s relaunch taps into an emerging demographic of millennials that are dedicated to a modern, urban lifestyle, explains SVP and publishing director of the Hearst Design Group Kate Kelly Smith. “This magazine is for young people living in the top 14 cities nationwide in a very stylish way,” says Smith.
Metropolitan Home joins venerable brands like House Beautiful -- which celebrates its 120th anniversary this November -- Elle Décor, and Veranda under the umbrella of the Design Group. And Metropolitan Home has become the fourth leg in an impressive cross-brand content strategy that has propelled the Design Group to new heights in recent years.
With 13 million readers, according to the MPA’s Magazine Media 360° audience metric, the Design Group has focused on leveraging its entire audience for advertisers across its titles. “We do scale very well,” explains Smith. By sharing content and themes across all four brands the Design Group can create a more comprehensive marketing package for an advertiser. For example, paint color has become a major content focus across these brands, enabling a big partnership with advertiser Sherwin Williams. That partnership has driven significant revenue for the Home Group, says Smith.
Sharing content and advertising across brands is a Hearst-wide initiative, adds Smith, one that brings the full power of Hearst’s audiences to bear for advertisers. “While we respect the individual brands and goals of those brands, we are able to build for our top advertisers platforms across [the Design Group].”
One of the Design Group’s biggest content platforms is its kitchen coverage, says Smith. “House Beautiful has a big kitchen platform, as does Elle Décor and Veranda. And in October, we’ll celebrate kitchens across all three books in very different ways.” House Beautiful will cover the kitchen’s role as the heart of the home; Elle Décor will report on the kitchen of the future and emerging trends in kitchen design; and Veranda will explore the curated kitchen of today.
A significant part of this kitchen coverage will be a May event called “Kitchen of the Year.” Currently House Beautiful is building a state-of-the-art kitchen in a private home in Atlanta. On May 14th and 15th the kitchen will be open for tours, allowing readers to engage with the designer, view the kitchen products, and immerse themselves in the House Beautiful brand.
Smith says that this strategy of combining content and events has proven beneficial for all of the Design Group’s platforms, and in particular the print magazines. “We’ve had a 12% increase in pages in the first quarter of this year [for House Beautiful], which we’re holding.”
Part of the reason the print and event business are thriving -- the Design Group will host roughly 140 events this year alone -- is the visual nature of home design. “People come to us to hold a magazine and get their inspiration. . . Print is vital. Digital is growing. Social -- yes, it’s important for brand building, but you won’t buy your sofa without sitting on it. The experiential side of our business is very important . . .We’re in relationships business and we have to continue to create never-been-done-before experiences which [the audience] can’t get anywhere else except the Hearst Design Group.”