The 30 Hottest New Magazine Launches and The One Hottest Re-Launch…November 14, 2014
The number of new magazines being launched each year in the country isn’t growing smaller just because print is “supposedly” declining; quite the contrary. Between October 2013 and the end of September 2014 there was a total of 862 new magazine launches – with 232 of those promising frequency.
For a declining medium, print magazines are audaciously responding to that sentiment loudly and clearly with a courageous repudiation to their critics. Defining 862 new launches as “declining” is an understatement, to say the least.
In honor of the blood, sweat and tears (and let us not forget ink too) that were poured into every one of those 862 new launches and their predecessors from years past, once a year in conjunction with MIN (Media Industry Newsletter), I present the 30 hottest magazine launches of the year at a breakfast event in New York City. Click here for more information about the event.
The question I’m asked most often about the event is my selection process and what criteria do I use to select the 30 hottest launches for any given year? And because being one of the hottest new launches doesn’t guarantee success, I always feel compelled to point that fact out. But being chosen does mean something; it means that the angst and hard work of the magazine’s staff and all the people that are behind that product has been noticed and acknowledged. And in today’s media world the criteria for selection is very stringent.
In reaching my decision on what makes a hot magazine, by far the number one criteria point is the audience’s reaction to that magazine. How did the overall marketplace react and how did its intended audience respond to it? And just as important; how did the industry behave toward it? These questions are the first thing I ask upon selection of the hottest 30.
For example, when you have a website like Net-A-Porter launching a print magazine and when you read the CEO of Net-A-Porter telling people that her company is not complete without print, that firm declaration is enough for me to consider what that company has done, with the investment of time and resources, something worthy of being a hot launch. It’s simply the case of an entity listening to the pulse of its audience. And that’s what this entire business is all about: audience first.
Or a company like Bauer launching a weekly print magazine in this day and age; that alone is an indication the magazine should be included as a hot launch. And to go even further, when you have a magazine like Dr. Oz The Good Life that sells out on the newsstands and goes for a second printing, a first since 2000 when O: The Oprah Magazine was introduced, how dare I not name it as a hot launch?
Other criteria include the ability to be such a beautiful and rich magazine experience that the product can entrance an audience that is so far-removed from its intended consumer, through unbelievable photography, exquisite paper and undeniable style, it refuses to be ignored, such as Angler’s Journal, where the passion and beauty of fishing comes alive and can ignite an intense desire to flip through its pages and read its awesome content, even if the person doing so has never been fishing in their life.
And while there is no scientific formula for the selection process, there is a tangible connection between myself and magazines. I didn’t choose them; they chose me, so the living and breathing passion that I have felt for magazines over the last 30 years has instilled within me an innate ability to meld with ink on paper. We are conjoined.
Also, something has to grab my attention to be selected as a hot new launch, based on the comparative analysis of all the other magazines that are out there. To me, every new magazine is a good magazine. Any new launch is a good launch.
However, when you’re looking at 200 or 300 new magazines, invariably a magic quality will surface and single out those titles that float to the top like delicious cream. It’s when I begin to skim the top of that cream that I discover those 30 hottest new titles.
So without further ado; here are the 30 Hottest New Launches for 2014 in alphabetical order:
8 by 8
What happens when you combine a great creative art director with his love and passion for the game of soccer? You get a beautiful, artful magazine called 8 by 8, a beautiful magazine that the beautiful game deserves.
Angler’s Journal brings the fishing life to the pages of a beautiful, oversized, well-done publication. It combines both stories and photography to give the reader (even people who aren’t interested in fishing) a passion for the sport.
If one thing stands out to me about 2014, it’s that this could easily be described as the year of the child. There have been more print magazines born into the marketplace for children than I can ever remember. We are celebrating our children from every angle, from the interactivity of puzzles to fantasy characters and the love between children and animals. Children’s magazines are hot and they happen to be scorching in ink on paper.
A major departure for Stampington & Company Publications, who normally focus on crafts and the crafting way of life; Bella Grace exemplifies a journal for women that celebrates the beauty of life and life’s adventures.
Chance looks at the world through the lens of theater and design. It’s a provocative way of enjoying great design in panoramic display and puts a new spin on art, photography and life without leaving anything to chance.
Most think a company would have to be crazy to launch a weekly magazine in this digital age. But when that magazine covers celebrities, icons who the audience (people over 40) of that magazine can relate to, you know it’s a hot launch.
Craft Beer and Brewing
Craft beer is the “in” thing in beer these days and this magazine is a bible for everything you need to know about it and the actual brewing of this kind of libation. This magazine leaves nothing behind, teaching the reader how to brew it, drink it and enjoy the different aspects of craft beer.
Anyone willing to defy cultured extension deserves to be named one of the hottest new launches of the year, let alone the magazine is presented in a way that reflects the name, the audience and the industry as a whole. Dinosaur is definitely one of the hottest new launches of the year.
Dr. Oz The Good Life
Who doesn’t like the good life? It’s the dream of every living, breathing human being on Earth. And Dr. Oz now has a magazine to help us all discover that elusive chimera. The magazine covers how to boost one’s health through eating right, relationships and basically how to live life to the fullest. It’s definitely a hot launch.
Food & Travel Quarterly
When Benjamin Franklin said in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes, he should have added, except that the human race loves to eat and travel. Now we have a magazine that combines two things that people love in a colorful, beautiful way.
In their continuous attempt to meet each young girl or young woman’s needs in their stable of magazines, Bauer Publishing has filled in the gap between the very young and the very teenaged groups of young women with Girl’s World. This magazine is a stepping stone for the girl who’s preparing to come into her own as a young woman.
New to the United States, but published in other countries of the world, GQ Style is the perfect addition to the wardrobe of men’s magazines. It focuses only on style and fashion and is a beautiful accoutrement to the core GQ staple.
Happiness is becoming a science and the “happy” application methodology has found a home between the pages of Live Happy magazine. In this magazine, the science of being “happy” is explained and the audience is invited to join the movement. It’s upbeat and uplifting; something needed in our fast-paced, often dizzying society.
Modern Pioneer reaches back into the past to help readers survive the present and anticipate the future in a more earthy and natural way. It’s getting back to our roots in the best of ways. Just a great magazine.
Mud & Obstacle
This magazine captures the growing trend and love of elite obstacle racing and mud running and releases it onto the pages of print. While it may not be a new trend in sports, it is new to the pages of a magazine and has both male and female loyalists. The magazine is bold and forceful, similar to the sport and is a very welcomed addition to the family of print magazines.
This magazine was born from personal tragedy in order to help prevent and reverse diseases that are caused by unhealthy eating. It’s a magazine that has an honorable proposal: it’s a national health initiative that proposes the switch from the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) to the New American Kind and Enlightened Diet (N.A.K.E.D.). The initiative focuses on preventing and reversing chronic degenerative diseases.
Naturally, Danny Seo
Captivation of a trend at its best and applying it to food, home, style, travel, beauty and entertaining; Naturally, Danny Seo showcases the lifestyle authority of Danny Seo and brings a new generation into the sustainable lifestyle. It’s an amazing replica of a man’s life’s work and practices what it preaches by using premium recycled paper for its product. Going green is up front and shining in this magazine.
Humanizing science and culture, Nautilus magazine is a rare breed in the genre of true science magazines. Pleasant to read and even more pleasant to look at, each issue combines the sciences, culture and philosophy of a certain topic into a single story told by the world’s leading thinkers and writers.
One magazine comes from the One Club and is a magazine for creative people in advertising and design. It was an online product that moved, according to its director of content, to an entirely new entity called print, new, at least for the One Club. This is the post-digital era, as they call it in the magazine. So we have another digital entity discovering the power of print. I can only support this move and revel in it.
Another digital entity discovering print; Pando Quarterly offers great content and charges the reader a membership for it. It’s a sustainable concept and one that should benefit this sharp magazine fully. This is another example of intelligent, investigative journalism that another media organization had all but written off.
Probably one of the best executed magazines that was born from the womb of a printed newspaper and then a website, Politico came into this world a genius. Smart, quick and arrow-sharp, Politico is a force to be reckoned with on the field of political magazines.
A successful website and a virtual store have created a powerful print tool that only adds to their overall achievements. A fashion magazine for the stylish, intelligent woman of now, Porter magazine shows off its luxury retailer traits excellently. To paraphrase its CEO, now you can say we are a multi-media company.
We’ve had a few magazines that focused on the adoption of children; Rescue Me brings the adoption of animals to the forefront of the reader’s mind. This magazine has a mission, something more than just showcasing the beauty of pets. It expounds on the need of animals and how the people-to-pet relationship is of mutual benefit to both.
Sofia the First
A magical fairy tale that teaches children to be bold, curious and kind; Sofia the First embodies the interactivity of first screen, second screen and even third. From the television series to the online games and now to the print magazine, it’s definitely the year of the child.
The Pitchfork Review
After more than 17 years online, Pitchfork has come into the print world with a vengeance. It combines long-form feature stories, photography, illustrations and other ephemera with selected recent pieces from the website. Another digital entity that has recognized the power of print.
The Sunshine School Series
Kids don’t read print? I beg to differ. This wonderful series of books is interaction at its best. These four titles launched by Penny Press are a prime example of what print does and can do to entertain our children with something that is not only tactile and can be shared between the laps of parent, grandparent and child, but also teaches in a most interactive way. Kudos to Penny Press.
Trending New York
This is innovation in print at its best. A brand new weekly magazine for women in New York that overcomes distribution troubles by just handing the magazine out on the streets of New York. It’s a unique magazine that had a unique way of introducing itself and it is a compliment to all the other magazines it was born from, such as Elle, Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. It’s an utterly new way of doing business and deserves its spot among the 30 hottest new launches.
How can a men’s magazine add anything unique and different to an already crowded market? Well, you put an Italian twist on it, of course. Uomo Moderno is chic and sophisticated and very Italian. From the clothes to the exquisite content, Uomo Moderno is Italian living at its best.
Vaping is the hottest trend right now and vapor cigarettes are the hottest thing on the market. Here comes Vapor Lives, capitalizing on that trend and publishing not one, but two titles; one for the industry and one for the vaping audience.
Willow and Sage
The name conjures up images that are comforting and whimsical. It’s filled with great recipes for creating homemade bath and body items that soothe and replenish the soul. It’s a hot launch and a wonderful idea and another Stampington & Company product that may deviate from their “crafty” origins, but definitely enhances their repertoire.
Re-launch of the year:
Newsweek has to be the re-launch of the year, no question. Its print death was widely exaggerated by one of the most celebrated editors of our time, but like the phoenix it rose from the ashes and its dismal fate to become better than ever. With a different publishing and business model, Newsweek now sets the standard of what a weekly should be. It looks and reads like a monthly, but is published on a weekly basis. Just an excellent and timely re-launch.
Join the celebration on Dec. 5 when THE Hottest Magazine Launch from the aforementioned list will be announced. Click here for more information.