Corner Office: Cookin' Up Subscribers
In the midst of all the headlines last October detailing the deterioration of the nation’s stock market and banking system—not to mention the folding of more than a few consumer magazines—you may have missed this one: The Food Network launched a print magazine. Already well-established on TV and the Web, the brand culminated its multichannel integration by entering the print medium.
Partnering with publisher Hearst Corp. on a 50-50 joint venture, Food Network Magazine was launched Oct. 11, 2008. Since then, positive news has followed. The magazine’s initial circulation of 300,000 was quickly bumped up to 400,000 after just three weeks of distribution. Several additional circulation increases now have brought the number to 1 million just a year into its existence. Frequency also will be increased starting in 2010, from bimonthly issues to 10 issues per year.
Subscribers aren’t the only ones who have responded favorably to the magazine. National integrated advertising deals—on television, online and in the magazine—have been signed with such household names as Clinique, Intel, American Airlines and others. Food Network Magazine Publisher Vicki Wellington discussed with Publishing Executive what this partnership has done to create a rare magazine success story this year.
With so many consumer magazines struggling now, to what do you attribute Food Network Magazine’s success?
Vicki Wellington: It [was] launched at the right time, with the right idea, at the right place. The biggest thing, of course, is the brand. This brand has been in development for 16 years now, and they’ve succeeded in such a tremendous way in creating this whole genre. Sixteen years ago, you didn’t have the celebrity chef stable that you have now. … You see these fantastic, beautiful, entertaining celebrities everywhere. …
We’ve been able, as a magazine, to really capture the essence of this brand for what it is today—meaning the food piece of it, the love of food and entertaining, and, as importantly, this entertainment piece of it from a celebrity chef standpoint. I think that’s what’s set us apart. …