Archive for October, 2009


Words of Wisdom from a sign on the wall at Western Horseman magazine

October 13, 2009

sign on the wall at Western Horseman magazine
You can call that a WOW moment, or like I like to say a “Words Of Wisdom” moment. I was visiting Western Horseman magazine yesterday when a sign hanging on the wall of one of the offices captivated my attention. It was, appropriately, hanging from a horseshoe frame. I was told that the sign has been in the building since the early days of the magazine, which, by the way, will celebrate its 75th anniversary January 2011. Those simple WOW words say: “The only way to make a magazine better for the advertiser is to make it better for the reader.” A great motto to follow yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The picture on the right is of the sign on the wall, below is a picture of the first issue and 60th anniversary issue of Western Horseman and the iconic headquarters of the magazine in Colorado Springs.
The first and 60th anniversary issues of Western HorsemanThe beautiful and iconic headquarters of Western Horseman magazine


Thinking of Brand Expansion? Read what the Food Network’s 100 million households wanted as a Brand Extension…

October 9, 2009

A magazine. That’s what. An ink on paper magazine. Read on…


The prophets of doom and gloom were busy last week celebrating the news of the death of four magazines. In fact, some went as far as reporting the death of magazines. Yes, as one such prophet called me to ask about my opinion “now that magazines are dead.” Not one or two magazines, just magazines are dead.

Well, to use a famous quote from years gone by, the news of the death of magazines has been greatly exaggerated. In keeping up with my philosophy and promise that I posted in the beginning of this year, I will continue to report the good news of our industry and the news that celebrates our newborns, innovates every day and amplifies the future of print.

Food Network magazine is a great example of the aforementioned criteria. I asked Vicki Wellington, the magazine’s publisher two questions regarding the magazine and the category it serves: Food.

This new born that is barely one year old, Food Network magazine launched last November with a 300,000 rate base. It will celebrate a ONE MILLION rate base this coming January. Talk about amplifying the future of print. I asked Ms. Wellington:

SH: The November issue of FN magazine is more than 200 pages and carries three covers one for each food entry (main, side, and dessert)…what is the secret of your success during the period of other food magazines shutting down?

VW: Food Network Magazine launched at the right time with the right idea: we capture the spirit, fun and accessibility of the network and it’s celebrities – the rock-star chefs. We take an accessible, fresh and modern approach to entertaining, cooking, and eating, and it is all filtered through the lens of this diverse group of chefs, who give the magazine and the brand, an approachable, unique personality. People smile when they think about Food Network Magazine; it’s like a friend they already feel comfortable with and want to spend time with.
We did quite a bit of research before launching and knew what Food Network viewers expected from our magazine – they wanted a magazine that would be informative but not intimidating, offer behind-the-scenes info about their favorite chefs and shows, as well as great recipes, tips, tricks and news. The bar was set high but we delivered on their hopes: in less than one year, we’ve more than tripled our rate base and are going to one million with our January issue, based completely on consumer demand.

SH: Are we going to see more of the established magazines giving way to the new ones and what do you think is the future of new magazine launches?

VW: I think Food Network Magazine definitely changed the model for launches. This was already a well-respected, multi -platform brand with a viewer-ship of nearly 100 million households that felt passionately about it – and when asked what brand extensions they wanted, the overwhelming response was that they wanted a magazine! We did a lot of research and introduced two newsstand-only test issues, from there we carefully gauged consumer and advertiser interest, and we ended up beating every benchmark we set for ourselves in record time on both the circulation and advertising front.
Magazines need to find that unique niche and give readers what they want. A magazine with a new, unique point of view will connect with readers. And when readers are connected and responsive as ours are, marketers are excited to get on board.

SH: Thank you.

To experience the feel and look of the November’s multi cover click here.


September has been a great month: 71 new magazines, Magazine Innvoation Center approved and its first meeting a success…

October 1, 2009

Cesar's Way - 4xDwell - Make it Yours - specialShooting Times - Livin the Dream - specialLincoln's Genius - specialSlam - Jordan - specialTime - A Tribute to Ted Kennedy - special
September 2009 will go into my history books as a great month. More than 71 new magazines were launched, the IRS, the State of Mississippi and the Institute of Higher Learning (the body that governs the public universities in the State of Mississippi) have approved the Magazine Innovation Center as a charitable, not for profit organization on the campus of The University of Mississippi, and the first meeting at the Magazine Innovation Center took place for the first time last week.

But first news first. September witnessed the birth of 71 new magazines from which 18 are published with a frequency of four times or higher. The total number of magazines that have started in the first nine months in this year of doom and gloom has reached 528 and counting. Compare that to a grand total of 685 new magazines for the entire 2008 calendar year. From the 528 new magazines at least 138 titles have a frequency of four times or more.
h+ - 4xFlyfish Journal - 4xMen's and Women's Health - Children's Health - specialWWII Quarterly - 4xTaost - 4xModels - 12x2

The September titles offer a mix of special issues and one-shots celebrating the life of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, President Lincoln and basketball star Michael Jordan. Others included brand extensions such as Cesar’s Way, from the guy who brought us the television program The Dog Whisperer, Dwell’s magazine Make it Yours, and Shooting Times’ Livin’ the Dream (with four separate covers).
Evolo - 4xInk Junkie - 12xWatch Journal - 6x

However a lot of new and refreshing ideas hit the newsstands for the first times, including but not limited to H+, Toast, WWII Quarterly, Ink Junkie, Evolo, Watch Journal and The Flyfish Journal. Not to be left behind is Marvel’s latest entry in celebration of Fashion Week in New York City: Models Inc. with two separate covers. Take a look at the images of those magazines above and make sure to make a trip to your nearest newsstands to buy a copy or two. Our industry is still well, alive and kicking… Just look at the other side of the coin, for every tail there is a head. Do not dwell on the tail, look at the other side. Be creative, be innovative, be a publisher of a necessary, sufficient and relevant medium and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel that is not the train coming.

As for the rest of the great news of September, the Magazine Innovation Center is now a reality and you will be reading more information about it in the near future. The Internal Revenue Service has approved MIC as a Not for Profit organization under Section 501 (c) (6). In addition the State of Mississippi has approved MIC as a charitable organization and the Institute of Higher Learning for the State of Mississippi has approved MIC as a center in the School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi.

In addition, MIC hosted as its first activity the Arthritis Today’s Advisory Board meeting on September 24 and 25. (More on that in a later post).

So, excuse my bragging, but I was told long time ago when I moved to Mississippi, “if it is true, it ain’t braggin’.” So next time you are feeling down and the news is all about doom and gloom, visit a newsstands, pick up a new magazine, sit back, relax and enjoy. Still feeling down, drop me an e mail at and we can start the conversation about the three ships that help us cruise our future: ownership, showmanship and membership. All the best for now and best to all. Stop reading and go to your nearest newsstands. Spend some money and stop reading the free stuff…we have to be in the business of selling and buying content. To paraphrase the famous Mississippi saying, “if you don’t eat catfish we will both starve,” if you do not buy a magazine today we will all suffer. A good magazine should not go to waste…go buy one today.

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