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Coloring With Mommy: A New Magazine From Bauer Media That Offers Moms & Daughters A Return To That Special Bonding Time That In Today’s Busy World Is Often Hard To Come By – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Brittany Galla, Editorial Director, Bauer Media Group’s Youth Division…

April 10, 2017

A Mr. Magazine™ Launch Story…

“Right now there isn’t a digital component for Coloring with Mommy, because it’s really print and paper-driven. It’s a book that digitally, even if you printed out a comic book page, it wouldn’t be the same quality and it wouldn’t have the heart that we put into the magazine, because it’s not just coloring book pages. It’s that bonding time and the extra stuff that makes the magazine feel more special.” Brittany Galla…

“… But of course with our other launches, such as Bake It Up! with our digital team, there have been things such as recipes that they’ve put on Facebook live, and there are things to promote the magazine and the content on there, but really we are looking at targeting the newsstand reader and the newsstand parent with these new launches.” Brittany Galla…

Bauer Media’s youth division has been offering up new print titles throughout the last few years as though digital was simply a extensional platform that could complement print or offer a different perspective than its ink on paper counterpart – and what do you know, I do believe they’re right. Brittany Galla, editorial director for the media group’s youth division, said their latest title “Coloring with Mommy” offers something that Bauer strongly believes in, a break from “screen time” and that bonding experience that many mothers and daughters find elusive in this fast-paced digital age.

I spoke with Brittany recently and we talked about Coloring with Mommy, and about the other titles that are growing up under her wing. With this latest launch, Bauer is targeting the loyal readers of Star-tastic Coloring Book, and Brittany said that the new magazine featured 28 beautiful side-by-side, outward facing images for mom to color along with her child, while bonding and spending quality time together, something she feels parents need today.

Brittany added that while Bauer is very excited about its digital division, these new launches are targeted strictly for newsstand and, as with Coloring with Mommy, offer something that both children and parents need in this busy time we live in, a moment to escape and exhale from the bombardment of information that we all receive second-by-second onscreen.

So, sit down, relax, and take a breath from your busy schedule and enjoy the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Brittany Galla, editorial director, Bauer Media Group’s Youth Division.

But first the sound-bites:

On why Bauer is putting out more and more print magazines for teens and children in this digital age: What’s going on here is that we’re just bursting with creativity and ideas, and I think in a time when we do see a lot of digital growth, which we’re excited about for our digital sides of the brand, we also see a lot of opportunity to concentrate and focus on print and what’s on the newsstand and what’s not really being offered to readers right now.

On where the ideas for these new magazines come from: Honestly, it’s a mix of different things. An idea comes from a focus group or where we’re talking to 10 or 12 girls and Sebastian (Raatz, executive vice president of Bauer Media Group) and I are taking notes and they’ll say something about a hobby that they love and everyone talks about it and discusses what that could mean on the newsstand. Some ideas do come to me at night as well and some ideas come to my great staff and then they present it to me.

On how she brings the idea to life: Time-wise, it was probably over a span of three to four months, from beginning to end. First, we decide if it’s really a good idea, such as with Coloring with Mommy, which is a way to get a child and her mom to bond more. It’s something more than just a coloring book they’ll find on bookshelves. It’s different and it means more than that. And it has more reselling factors.

On whether there is a digital component for Coloring with Mommy: Right now there isn’t a digital component for Coloring with Mommy, because it’s really print and paper-driven. It’s a book that digitally, even if you printed out a comic book page, it wouldn’t be the same quality and it wouldn’t have the heart that we put into the magazine, because it’s not just coloring book pages. It’s that bonding time and the extra stuff that makes the magazine feel more special.

On what she feels the role of print is in today’s digital age: I feel like the role of print is to really give these young kids and tweens across America and the world something that they’re not getting digitally, and it’s a way to still connect and to bring families together, still speak and relate to their lives. And I think that it’s also just a chance to be creative and to challenge digital. There are many great things happening digitally and at Bauer XCEL, but I think that there is still a lot of growth and room to succeed on the newsstand and it’s time to challenge what we can do and what we can offer readers.

On whether as an editor she believes that there is a responsibility to help with the digital addiction that many children are reported to have: I do. Speaking from a personal sense, my mom is actually a teacher and a reading specialist, and has been for many years. It’s so important to read books. And it’s constantly encouraged by teachers in schools to read the sight words and practice index cards. And there’s something about reading a book together, with your parent, with your mom or dad, as opposed to just everybody being connected to their tablets or phones. It’s so important to have that communication and to have those times together to read.

On whether she feels that she has a social responsibility and a duty to push reading on paper: I feel like I do. I oversee J-14 Magazine and I feel that way when I think of the teenaged reader that I’m targeting. I do think a lot about the reader and a lot about the families that are buying the magazines and what they need and what’s going on. How stressed they could be and maybe they just need 10 minutes with their child to bond, and that’s what I think about every day. I think of the reader and how we can help them bond with their daughter, or their mom, to feel a bit more connected.

On what makes her tick and click and get out of bed each morning, looking forward to her day: It’s the reader. I have wanted to work in magazines since I was a young teenager growing up in Long Island. I read all of the magazines: YM, Cosmo Girl, and they weren’t just magazines to me, they were much more. I lived by every word. They really were my bible. They told me about myself and they empowered me. And that’s what drives me. When I think of the reader that I once was and what magazines were able to provide for me, escape, advice, just being a big sister; when I get out of bed every morning, I’m thinking about that same reader and how I can connect with them. And I think about what our reader needs. That really drives me every day.

On what someone would find her doing if they showed up unexpectedly at her home one evening: I’m obsessed with my dog. My husband and I have a rescue dog named Bo and he’s a Black Lab/Rottweiler mix, and we are just completely obsessive. So, if you were to find me at our house, I would be playing with him or hiking with him or just walking him.

On what keeps her up at night: I usually just fall right asleep because I’m so tired from the day, but if I do toss and turn a little bit, it’s usually just thinking about all the new ideas we have and how to put them in motion.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Brittany Galla, editorial director, Bauer Media Group’s Youth Division.

Samir Husni: What’s happening at Bauer; are you all crazy, putting more print magazines out there for teens and children when everybody is telling us the entire future is digital?

Brittany Galla: (Laughs) What’s going on here is that we’re just bursting with creativity and ideas, and I think in a time when we do see a lot of digital growth, which we’re excited about for our digital sides of the brand, we also see a lot of opportunity to concentrate and focus on print and what’s on the newsstand and what’s not really being offered to readers right now.

We do a lot of focus groups and we talk to a lot of moms and daughters; tween girls who are not on their phones just yet, they might have iPods, but it doesn’t always connect to Wi-Fi, of course, and they don’t have iPhones until fifth or sixth grade, or even later. Some parents are really insistent that they don’t have a cell phone before fifth grade, so we do see these ages who are younger who really do need magazines and are looking for something to read and to do during their free time.

And I think here, what’s been going on in the past year is we sat down and thought about how we could attract a reader who is not being targeted on the newsstand right now in different ways, just getting new readers. And we have a lot of conversations with girls and moms who are not really spending the time together that they used to, because things are so busy with sports and school. The moms are on their phones a lot too, and admit that.

So, we really wanted to create products where we are bonding the family together. We think that family time is really important and so we created products like “Bake It Up!” and even “Star-tastic” and now with “Coloring with Mommy,” you can really sit down with your mom. With “Bake It Up!” it was baking and making cute stuff in the kitchen together, and now with “Coloring with Mommy” it’s a different type of coloring book, where the left side of the page is more difficult and detailed, and the right side is an easier replica of the same image. So, it’s a coloring book that they can share and do together. They’re working on the same page, but the mom has a bit more of a detailed one and the daughter has a little easier one and they’re sharing and doing it together.

And then the mega poster that we have is an image that they can fill in together; it’s completely joined on one giant page, so they can do a beautiful mega image together. And we also added content in the book, and we call it “Bonus Bonding” time. There are 10 questions where both mom and daughter can interview each other, such as “What is your biggest fear?” “What was your favorite childhood toy?” Questions that someone may have never asked their mom. I’m 31 and there were questions that I didn’t even know about my mom that I asked her. Just little ways to spend time with your mom and have these special moments that you don’t always get because life is so crazy right now.

Also, in the mega we have a little list where they can write 10 reasons that they love their moms and then a place where the moms can write 10 reasons why they love their daughters. Then they can cut it out and color it. We really wanted it to be a magazine that makes them happy and makes them have that warm and fuzzy feeling inside that I think a lot of girls can identify with. In 2016, we launched five new titles, and this is our first for 2017, so really excited about it being on newsstand.

Samir Husni: Who comes up with these creative ideas for the new magazines? In the last two or three years, you have been putting out one new title after the other aimed at a segment of the population that almost everyone else has written off. As the editorial director, how do you come up with these new ideas? Is it a group effort or do you have this dream at night and wake up and say we need to do this Coloring with Mommy magazine?

Brittany Galla: Honestly, it’s a mix of different things. An idea comes from a focus group or where we’re talking to 10 or 12 girls and Sebastian (Raatz, executive vice president of Bauer Media Group) and I are taking notes and they’ll say something about a hobby that they love and everyone talks about it and discusses what that could mean on the newsstand. Some ideas do come to me at night as well and some ideas come to my great staff and then they present it to me.

Over the last year, Sebastian and I have really worked together quite a lot and we met on a weekly basis and we had a list of over 100 ideas. We would write everything down, from the simplest and most obvious ideas, to the craziest and most extreme ones. And we’d keep this running list that we would add to and then choose which to focus on. With the coloring, obviously, it’s no secret that coloring has been huge on the newsstands for magazine publishers in both 2015 and 2016. And so we thought about how we could make it different and that’s when Star-tastic Coloring Book came into play, so people could color their favorite celebrities.

And then we just thought about what we could do in the coloring section that was a little different from Star-tastic, such as going a bit younger like the Coloring with Mommy, and where it’s not just a coloring book. If you look at the adult coloring books, those could be way too complicated for a little girl with all of the fine detail. She may could do it, but it would be very time-consuming. And then the kid coloring books are very easy, almost too easy. So, this was a way to combine both, where it’s not just an adult coloring book or one for just the child, it’s a coloring book that you can enjoy together and that’s perfect for your age group. It’s perfect for the parent to do, and then the page right next to mom’s is perfect for the daughter to color. And it’s sometimes the same image, just easier, and takes the same amount of time to finish.

So, really, the ideas do come to us in a variety of different ways. I think being creative and thinking outside of the box is something that Bauer has always really encouraged since I’ve been here. And just talking with readers and understanding what’s going on in their lives and finding out what they need and talking to moms. Also, I have six nieces that are my go-to when I have a lot of questions about what kids like and want to see. And all of those things just help form an excellent idea.

Samir Husni: Can you take me through the process of actually bringing the idea to fruition, maybe relive that a-ha moment when you decided that you were definitely bringing Coloring with Mommy to life?

Brittany Galla: Time-wise, it was probably over a span of three to four months, from beginning to end. First, we decide if it’s really a good idea, such as with Coloring with Mommy, which is a way to get a child and her mom to bond more. It’s something more than just a coloring book they’ll find on bookshelves. It’s different and it means more than that. And it has more reselling factors.

So, once we’re a 100 percent go on that, I pitch a bunch of ideas for the title, Coloring with Mommy was one of a few. My team also pitched some and Sebastian picked maybe one or two favorites. Then we presented them to the focus group to make sure that they liked them and that they spoke to the reader. And then we check to make sure that the title we’ve chosen can be used. After that, our art director, who is excellent, and we have an art pool of designers that we use, and we start a style guide for the magazine. For this one, it was almost like a “Girls’ World” type category, we used a lot of the “Girls’ World” fonts and bright colors.

And really, in just a few hours we had the templates and the images ready. I thought about the “Bonus Bonding” content, and then really the magazine was designed pretty quickly, I would say. When we have an idea, there are little tweaks here and there, and then I show Sebastian and the team, make any other tweaks that are needed and we go through the magazine together, and then that’s it.

Samir Husni: You’re newsstand-driven, but is there a digital component, or do you think that print is enough?

Brittany Galla: Right now there isn’t a digital component for Coloring with Mommy, because it’s really print and paper-driven. It’s a book that digitally, even if you printed out a comic book page, it wouldn’t be the same quality and it wouldn’t have the heart that we put into the magazine, because it’s not just coloring book pages. It’s that bonding time and the extra stuff that makes the magazine feel more special.

So, with Coloring with Mommy there’s not a digital component, but of course with our other launches, such as Bake It Up! with our digital team, there have been things such as recipes that they’ve put on Facebook live, and there are things to promote the magazine and the content on there, but really we are looking at targeting the newsstand reader and the newsstand parent with these new launches.

Samir Husni: From an editor’s point of view, what do you feel the role of print is in today’s digital age?

Brittany Galla: I think that digital has obviously opened up many avenues of different creativity, but I think that there’s still a need for families and kids to unwind. We’ve read about kids literally being addicted to social media and all of these apps. In an article in the New York Post, it was basically called digital heroin by a psychologist.

I feel like the role of print is to really give these young kids and tweens across America and the world something that they’re not getting digitally, and it’s a way to still connect and to bring families together, still speak and relate to their lives. And I think that it’s also just a chance to be creative and to challenge digital. There are many great things happening digitally and at Bauer XCEL, but I think that there is still a lot of growth and room to succeed on the newsstand and it’s time to challenge what we can do and what we can offer readers.

Samir Husni: Based on the research you’ve done, and all the studies we’re beginning to see, we’re starting to learn that millennials do read, and yes, while they do spend a lot of time on their digital devices, they’re also engaged in reading ink on paper. As an editor do you believe that there is an obligation to help remove the addiction or help with it a little bit?

Brittany Galla: I do. Speaking from a personal sense, my mom is actually a teacher and a reading specialist, and has been for many years. It’s so important to read books. And it’s constantly encouraged by teachers in schools to read the sight words and practice index cards. And there’s something about reading a book together, with your parent, with your mom or dad, as opposed to just everybody being connected to their tablets or phones. It’s so important to have that communication and to have those times together to read.

I do think that we can play a role in encouraging the reading. In our magazines we have fiction stories in Girls’ World and little starred facts and even puzzle fun targets the sight words. Puzzle fun is for kindergartners and it’s great as a kindergarten prep. So, there really is a call for us to be able to offer this educational content. And with Coloring with Mommy we’re helping with that bonding time and helping them to connect more than they would be if they were just sitting there with tablets looking at screen time. It’s a way to give a screen time break, which I think is something that many families are craving right now.

Samir Husni: Do you feel then that in addition to being an editorial director in charge of the magazines that you also have a social responsibility and a duty?

Brittany Galla: I feel like I do. I oversee J-14 Magazine and I feel that way when I think of the teenaged reader that I’m targeting. I do think a lot about the reader and a lot about the families that are buying the magazines and what they need and what’s going on. How stressed they could be and maybe they just need 10 minutes with their child to bond, and that’s what I think about every day. I think of the reader and how we can help them bond with their daughter, or their mom, to feel a bit more connected.

In terms of my other magazines, there are so many topics that we cover in J-14 and in Girls’ World, and it’s always about the reader and purpose and how we can make their lives better. And that’s always what I’ve seen my job as.

Samir Husni: What makes you tick and click and get out of bed each morning, looking forward to your day?

Brittany Galla: It’s the reader. I have wanted to work in magazines since I was a young teenager growing up in Long Island. I read all of the magazines: YM, Cosmo Girl, and they weren’t just magazines to me, they were much more. I lived by every word. They really were my bible. They told me about myself and they empowered me. And that’s what drives me. When I think of the reader that I once was and what magazines were able to provide for me, escape, advice, just being a big sister; when I get out of bed every morning, I’m thinking about that same reader and how I can connect with them. And I think about what our reader needs. That really drives me every day.

Samir Husni: If I showed up at your house unexpectedly one evening after work, what would I find you doing; reading on your iPad; watching TV; cooking; reading a book; or something else?

Brittany Galla: I’m obsessed with my dog. My husband and I have a rescue dog named Bo and he’s a Black Lab/Rottweiler mix, and we are just completely obsessive. So, if you were to find me at our house, I would be playing with him or hiking with him or just walking him. I go home and it’s all about Bo. (Laughs) I do some work, but in the mornings I hike with him and as soon as I get home, he just has so much energy, I become completely obsessed and that’s what I’m usually doing after work.

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

Brittany Galla: I usually just fall right asleep because I’m so tired from the day, but if I do toss and turn a little bit, it’s usually just thinking about all the new ideas we have and how to put them in motion.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

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2 comments

  1. I absolutely love my copy of “Coloring With Mommy”. I’m a huge fan of coloring , especially for relaxing. How can I get a new issue of Coloring with mommy?


  2. I have searched the internet without any luck. I am trying to find out how I can subscribe to the Coloring With Mommy magazine.



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