min magazine 2008: Hottest Magazine Launches

11/10/2008

Dr. Samir Husni (Mr. Magazine) and his staff sifted through 600-plus titles that were born between Oct. 2007 and Sept. 2008 and came up with 14 new launches, two reinvented old favorites and one hot online launch. See below for the 14 hottest new launches (unranked) and click here to read about the two reinventions and the hottest digital launch.

1. WSJ.

Published by: Dow Jones & Co.
VP/Publisher: Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio
Editor: Tina Gaudoin
Rate Base: 960,000
Art Director: Tomaso Capuano
Frequency: Quarterly; becoming monthly in 2009
Mission Statement: To deliver an intimate view of the world of wealth—making WSJ. the highest-quality luxury publication of its kind.

Michael Rooney, Chief Revenue Officer, WSJ.
What is your biggest challenge?
I don’t think that we’re taking a risk in expanding the brand, because I think that our readers already live in the luxury marketplace. So, editorially, we know that they will accept this. We are confident about the response we will get and we don’t have the issues of acquisition and distribution because we have already built that audience.

Why did you launch a luxury living brand in such a difficult economy?
The luxury marketplace is still strong when other categories have been devastated. It is somewhat recession-proof.

What will separate WSJ. from the other titles in the luxury category?
The Wall Street Journal DNA that provides clarity to our readers about all issues—they trust us. Now we can provide the same level of trust whether it be philanthropy, antiques, cars or travel.
How have advertisers responded?
I’ll give you an example: A very expensive launch consultant looked at our literature, and he said, “Of course—you should have done this a long time ago. ” He gets results in the paper. Now he has an even more desirable environment because luxury advertisers prefer glossy, color ads to newsprint.

Any other key elements to your future success?
We have a global buy because we are in the European and Asian editions. That international aspect is key to our advertisers because the luxury marketplace is global. Our ability to offer that reach was very important.

2. Dispatches

Publisher: Dr. Simba Gill
Editors: Mort Rosenblum and Gary Knight
Rate Base: 15,000-20,000 (Estimated)
Frequency: Quarterly
Mission Statement: Dispatches attempts to fill the need for in-depth news and photojournalism to spark curiosity and provide factual bases to inspire discussion, protest and change. Writers and photographers go to the heart of reality to reflect what they see without editorial pressures or commercial constraints.
Target Audience: Decision-makers and students in politics, economics, business, journalism, photography, the humanities and science.

Amber Maitland, Operations Magazine
What’s been your biggest accomplishment?
We’ve been generating excitement and interest in a serious in-depth look at current affairs and photojournalism at a time when news is being delivered in more and more superficial forms.
Why did you think there would be interest in a magazine with such a unique mission statement?
We reject the idea that people are only interested in superficial news and entertainment, and we felt the time was right for a publication that works outside the mainstream and that focuses on serious in-depth journalism.
Why did you think the time was right to launch this magazine?
The world is at a particularly important series of inflection points: foreign affairs, economics, globalization, poverty, the environment, politics and a new world order are all reshaping right now. Sadly, this happens to coincide with a remarkable lack of serious coverage of these important issues.
Is there still a place in the market for long-form editorial products?
Many people are still and always will be interested in in-depth knowledge on important topics. People in the developed world are bombarded by sound bites of information every day—through the Internet, via email, TV, newspapers, even their mobiles. By giving room to journalists to expand their ideas, Dispatches can provide a bigger picture—what has happened, what is happening and what is likely to happen.
Is it a commercial enough concept to succeed?
Like anything new to the market, it will take time to grow, but we have a core group of readers who seem dedicated to the idea and to spreading the word.
What were the challenges?
Getting the word out. The most effective method has been word of mouth and our Web site.

3. National Geographic Green Guide

Published by: National Geographic Society
Founder: Wendy Gordon
Rate Base: 100,000
Editorial Director: Seth Bauer
Frequency: Quarterly
Mission Statement: To inform, engage and inspire consumers to live a more environmentally friendly life.

What inspired the launch?
Green Guide has taken the politics and the faddishness out of the green equation, opening up the positive aspects of green consumer purchases and practices—from money savings to a lighter consumer footprint—to everyone, not just those in a relatively narrow economic or political swath.
Do you think that the green movement will sustain you?
If by green movement you mean political environmentalism, the answer would be no. But we see a new, much larger movement of smart consumerism. We have reached critical mass on the planet. Issues of resource management, waste, climate impact, energy, etc., are going to color consumer choices for the long haul and for all consumers. The Green Guide speaks to that larger need for sensible solutions.
Will it sell?
The newsstand numbers have been outstanding. The larger trend, green consumerism, is just crossing the chasm from niche to mass.
Who have been your most enthusiastic clients?
We have seen significant interest across categories from food to financial, and health/beauty to automotive. Launch year advertisers include General Motors, Ralph Lauren, Clorox, BP, Publix, Burt’s Bees and Blue Buffalo.
Will you utilize celebrities to help engage a wider audience?
Not if we continue to do well without it. I applaud Hollywood’s leadership and publicity for all things green, but I don’t want consumers to think that going green is only for those who have the budgets of actors and musicians.
Why did you think it would work with such a narrow focus?
The mission is specific, but the need for information is mass. We want to make it easy for people to make greener consumer choices.
What’s next?
Our first Green Guide book is out; our Web site, thegreenguide.com is already robust and is being readied for relaunch in November, we’ve got a radio show in the works and we’re in talks about television properties.

4. WWE Kids

Published by: WWE
Entertainment Inc.
Publisher: Bob Lee
Editorial Director: Tony Romando
Rate Base: 100,000
Frequency: Bi-monthly
Mission Statement: Introduce a new generation of young fans to World Wrestling Entertainment. Develop original content about WWE and our Superstars that will “edutain” kids and be viewed favorably by parents and educators, concentrating editorial around pro-social issues such as health, wellness, exercise, sports and puzzles, activities, factoids, pranks, products, interviews, geography and more.
Target Audience: Kids 6-14

Tony Romando, Editorial Director
Why did you think that the tween boy market could yield a successful magazine?
WWE reaches over 2.6 million 6-14-year-olds each week through television. By leveraging TV and other WWE properties including digital, print and live events, we have the ability to introduce our fans to WWE Kids magazine.

Describe WWE Kids.
A sound, year-one profit making business/marketing strategy combined with incredible, age-appropriate content that appeals to our established and loyal fan base.

How is this magazine different from your adult magazines?
WWE Kids content is specifically designed for our audience. Its pro-social messaging empowers children and is viewed favorably by parents. One example of this is WWE Kids focuses strictly on Superstars, not the in-ring action, to ensure the imagery of the title is appropriate to the entire age range of the magazine.

Has the advertising community embraced the mag?
Early results are very positive—with participation from new WWE print partners like Verizon, Wrigley, Nestlé and Cartoon Network—as well as extended participation from current advertisers like Upper Deck, Sega and various license partners.

Can you offer specific examples of early enthusiasm for your title?
Wal-Mart has been an incredible partner for the WWE. Earlier this year, the retailer purged nearly 1000 magazine titles from its stores. For the year, only a select group of new titles were added—with WWE Kids being one of them.

What was the biggest hurdle you were able to overcome?
Gaining acceptance from parents and teachers who believe the magazine is both age-appropriate entertainment and educational. Response has been overwhelmingly positive.

5. Personal Development

Published by: RED MAT Publishing
Publishers: Suzanne Manning & Timothy Lyon
Editors: Ann McGuire, Debbie Dallas & Becki Bryant
Rate Base: 35,000
Frequency: Bi-monthly
Mission Statement: To awaken the potential in people everywhere through imagination, innovation, inspiration and motivation. The wisdom, experiences, life tools and guidance of the best motivational and inspirational leaders in the personal development field guide readers on the road to achieving the wealth, inspiration, success and happiness they desire.
Target Audience: Personal Development readers are not content with the status quo and are constantly reaching for ways to better themselves emotionally, financially, socially, physically and spiritually.

Suzanne Manning, Publisher
What’s been your magazine’s biggest achievement?
With our seminars and retreats, along with our many CD/DVD and book programs, we are bringing the master teachers and motivators of the personal development industry to the reader’s doorstep for pennies a day.

Why did you think you could be a successful magazine with such a unique mission statement?
People are inundated with controversy and negativity through media. We believe that people want to feel good, and as a publication we want to be successful in delivering that inspiration.

Where did you get the concept?
It was developed by Laurie Moore who says, “I have grown up in the self-help era. Being a lifelong student I recognized the need for a media source that could reach the masses, not just the monetarily blessed. ”
But is this a commercial enough concept to be successful?
Sure it is. Our magazine is about the readers. What human being doesn’t want to feel better and experience more happiness? Happiness is contagious and people want to pass it on.

What were the biggest challenges in engaging potential advertisers?
Numbers and advertising sales—it is all about numbers. We have built circulation steady and slow.

Can you offer an example of enthusiasm for your title from an advertiser?
We have an advertiser who has produced a movie who loves the magazine so much that he mentioned us in the film credits.

Will you attempt to add a celebrity component to the magazine?
Yes, but we will only use celebrities that have a personal development story. Celebrities allow you to attract attention, which is good for any business.

6. Life Images

Published by: Stampington & Co.
Editor: Staci Dumoski
Circulation: 15,000
Frequency: Quarterly
Mission Statement: To gather small moments and lace them together into one big picture that reminds us how much we have in common—a picture that celebrates life.
Target Audience: Amateur photographers.

Sarah Meehan, Marketing Manager, Stampington & Company
What gives Life Images its point of difference?
We’ve given a place on the newsstand to the everyday photographer. We’ve shown them that you don’t have to be a professional to get a great shot, and that you don’t have to be in exotic locations or in the midst of world-changing events to capture images that are meaningful.

Who is your reader?
It’s the average camera user that responds most enthusiastically to Life Images, people who enjoy photography but aren’t necessarily pursuing professional careers as photographers.

How do you differentiate yourself from other photo magazines?
The personal journaling that accompanies each photo. It offers insight into the heart and mind of the photographer. It asks the reader to engage with the photo on a deeper level…and then, hopefully, inspires them to think about their own photographs the same way.

How do you define the type of photography featured in Life Images?
The difference lies in the purpose: journalism reports an event, while journaling reflects on it. Life Images will always be reflective in nature.

How much guidance do you offer your reader/photographers?
We don’t teach our readers how to use their cameras, but we are showing them a way to make their hobby a more meaningful one.

Is it more challenging to launch a visually based magazine with so much online competition?
We believe there is still a strong desire for visual stimulation that doesn’t come at you from a screen. There’s also a gratifying sense of permanence—if I find a picture in a magazine that I love, I know I can always open that magazine to see it again. You don’t have the same guarantee online.

What’s your biggest challenge?
Communicating our vision to buyers, advertisers and potential contributors. “Photo journaling” was something we actually invented, so we had to define what we meant and how it was going to be presented in the magazine. There was nothing to compare it to, so we had to ask everyone to use their imaginations.

7. Elan

Publishers: Wahid Media
Editor: Mahdis Keshavarz
Rate Base: 10,000 (US and Canada), 5,000 (International)
Frequency: Quarterly
Mission Statement: To highlight current cutting-edge trends in the arts, business and contemporary Muslim/Middle Eastern lifestyles around the globe.
Target Audience: Young Muslim American Professionals.

Carolina Rivera, Creative Director
What makes Elan unique?

Elan has revolutionized the way Muslims are typically viewed in the Western world.

Why did you think you could launch a successful magazine with such a narrow focus?
Concerned by the disparity between the Muslims she interacted with and those represented in the media, Elan’s publisher thought that it was time Muslims created their own identity in the American media. Elan strives to provide a forum for young, chic Muslims to represent themselves.

Why did you think the time was right to launch?
The community was ready and wanted a media forum to counteract the negative reinforcements of stereotypes.

Did you have any fear of a backlash?
No, not at all. Everyone who we spoke to was very supportive, from academics to religious leaders. Everyone encouraged us to tell our own stories.

Is it a commercial enough concept to make it a viable product?
Young Muslims come from wealthy, educated and well-traveled families…and advertisers know that this is a market that is completely untapped.

What were the biggest challenges in engaging potential advertisers?

Explaining to advertisers that we are not a religious magazine, but represent a very sophisticated, politically savvy yet fashion-conscious audience.

Can you offer specific examples of enthusiasm for your title?
We had several airlines approach us to print separate copies with their logos on the cover to distribute in their lounges and airplanes. They thought a publication like ours was perfect reading material for their passengers in flight and in transit.

Are you seeking political support for the magazine?
Absolutely not. We are a magazine for young Muslims created by young Muslims.

Will the magazine be marketed and sold outside the United States as well?
Yes, currently the magazine is available in Amman, Dubai and Cairo. We hope to expand into Europe in the near future.

Looking back, what was the most important hurdle you were able to overcome?
Distribution and circulation. We were able to work with Source and Ingram to place Elan in major bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks, Hastings, etc.

Finish this sentence: In 2012, your magazine will be…
A global brand truly representing Muslims as they really are.

8. Tennis View

Published by: TAZ Publications
Publisher/Editorial Director: Teresa Thompson
Editor: Brenda Guinand
Rate Base: 50,000
Frequency: Quarterly
Mission Statement: To promote the growth and participation of recreational league tennis through relevant and engaging editorial.
Target Audience: Adult recreational tennis players.

Teresa Thompson, Publisher/Editorial Director

What do you hope to accomplish with this magazine?
Increasing and drawing more global attention to the sport of tennis. Every tennis-related business benefits from this additional exposure.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Differentiating Tennis View from other tennis publications through reader participation, a recreational and league focus and an appeal to the entire tennis lifestyle. Tennis View fills a void for the recreational tennis enthusiast with a completely different look and feel from other tennis magazines, from the articles to the designs.

Why was the time right?
There was a void in the market for this style of tennis magazine. I had the idea, media experience, industry contacts and, equally important, passion and energy to bring it to life. I gauged my decision to launch on the results of my research, experience and instinct. We’ve since received the support of tennis leagues across the nation.

How did the magazine go from the idea stage to the market?
From the point of idea, I interviewed hundreds of recreational and club tennis players from across the country to determine what they wanted most from a tennis magazine. I devised a budget and then found and assigned top writers and photographers in the field. I then sold advertising, and distributed the magazine. This entire process took about 18 months.

What are your long-term goals?
To continue to bring fresh, relevant stories to tennis enthusiasts that entertain, enlighten and educate.

9. Girls Gone Wild

Published by: Mantra Entertainment
Publisher: Joe Francis,
Editorial Director: Leland Zaitz
Circulation: 100,000
Frequency: Monthly
Mission Statement: To provide VIP access to the most exclusive parties, events and areas of interest to the current generation of young adults.
Target Audience: Young men

Leland Zaitz , Editorial Director

What’s the biggest challenge your magazine faces?
Attracting advertising dollars. There is also, naturally, a battle for shelf space. In some ways we have the opposite problem of most launches in that we don’t have to explain to anyone what our magazine is (the title tells them), but we sometimes have to counter misperceptions of the brand.

Why did you think you could be successful with the decline of other men’s titles?
Many magazines have a natural half-life. Especially magazines geared toward young men. They don’t want to read their father’s magazines. So there is always room, I think, for the next hot men’s magazine.

What will separate you from them?
Girls Gone Wild has been an established, lifestyle brand for 10 years. The DVDs are known for featuring real American college girls. We are trying to stay away from the overproduced look of the pictorials in Stuff and Maxim.

How will it be different from the established GGW video brand?
The magazine doesn’t feature nudity. It’s packaged with a GGW DVD every month, but the magazine itself covers pop culture, movies, video games and other aspects of male culture.

What role will Joe Francis have?
He has a role in everything. He approves all the girls in the magazine. Joe’s committed to the magazine. He’s full of ideas for its development.

10. Spry

Published by: Publishing Group of America
Publisher: Bob Mattone
Editor: Lisa Delaney
Rate Base: 9 million
Frequency: Monthly
Mission Statement: Spry celebrates the vitality in all of us by offering information and articles on health, diet, recreation and leisure activities that contribute to a satisfying lifestyle.
Target Audience: Urban/suburban baby boomers.

RICHARD Porter, CEO, Publishing Group of America, publisher of Spry
Why do you think the Spry launch was so successful?
Altman: Marketers want buys that can go across all media platforms. Selling beyond the page is essential.

How has the challenge of publishing changed?
Altman: The full-service advertising agency days where you have account management along with creative planning and media buying all in one are over. The other change is that people are making decisions later in the RFP process and planning issue by issue, so you don’t get schedules up front.

Can you cite any specific marketing outreach programs that helped lift you to your success?
Porter: I would say the custom prelaunch issue that we did. That went out in August to a half million readers. It was a nice way to say thank you to those newspaper publishers who gave us an early commitment. In turn, we gave them an extra issue.

What was the most important hurdle that you were able to overcome?

Porter: Newspaper publishers are watching their budgets and being very careful in what they invest in. But we have got a lot of fans out there who have put their faith in our ability to deliver a high quality product for their readers and advertisers.

How important is your Web site to your success?
Porter: We want to network Spry readers to inspire one another to champion these things. That is outreach that could go beyond the magazine footprint.

11. USA Today’s Open Air

Published by: USA Today
Publisher: Craig Moon
Editor: Jack Curry
Rate Base: 2.5 Million
Frequency: Quarterly
Mission Statement: To redefine adventure for those who embrace an active lifestyle and present a new outlook on adventure.
Target Audience: Active summer and winter enthusiasts.

Marcia Bullard, Publisher of USA Weekend
Why do you think you’ve been so successful, so early on?
We benefit from the immediate impact of USA Today’s huge circulation and choice demographic, and have become a publication for people engaged in an active lifestyle and the advertiser who wants to reach them.

Do you think that the interest in outdoor sports is strong enough to sustain a title like yours?

An Open Air survey found that when asked where they most wanted to spend time on the weekend, 48 percent of respondents said “outdoors.”

Why did you think the time was right?
Our prelaunch research told us that 73 percent of USA Today’s readers would welcome a magazine that addressed their outdoor adventure interests and pursuits.

How did you go about creating a point of difference?
Other publications target the longtime sportsman and the hardcore adventure seeker. But Open Air speaks to the Gen Xers and boomers who enjoy the benefits of staying active.

How did you attract advertisers?
Advertisers realize they can reach a different audience in the pages of Open Air. Companies that are looking to grow their business by expanding their marketing efforts beyond the hardcore outdoor enthusiast are thrilled with Open Air. We’ve seen many new advertisers in unique categories that are new to the USA Today brand in Open Air.

12. Townhall

Published by: Salem Publishing
Co-Publisher/Editor: Chuck DeFeo
Executive Editor: Chris Field
Frequency: Monthly
Mission Statement: Townhall connects American conservatives through features, reporting, commentary and in-depth information about the blogosphere, talk radio and television news.
Target Audience: 25-54-year-olds with a household income of $74,391.

Chris Field, Executive Editor
How does the magazine differ from the online tier of the brand?
Our online audience has relied on us for daily news for nearly 15 years to keep them abreast of what is going on. The magazine has allowed us to delve more deeply into the core issues that our readers care the most about.


13. Miller- McCune

Publisher: Sara Miller-McCune
Editor: John Mecklin
Rate Base: 92,000
Frequency: Bi-monthly
Mission Statement: To present societal solutions through continuous exchange of ideas and theories from academics, along with the evidence that supports them—or refutes them.
Target Audience: 35-54-year-olds with a household income of $100,000.

John Mecklin, Editor-in-Chief
What was the genesis of this magazine?
Our founder, Sara Miller-McCune, is also the chairwoman of Sage Publications, prominent publishers of academic journals and books. She heard complaints from numerous researchers that their work was not being conveyed to decision makers who could implement it to the general public. Her decision to launch was based in no small part on her desire to foster solutions for a wide range of social ills.

Does it work?
Miller-McCune has demonstrated that stories about solving society’s problems can make for vital, enjoyable, even surprising journalism. Attempts to improve our collective experience of the world, it seems, do not need to read like a government report crossed with a religious tract.
How does the magazine differ from the online product?
Much of the content is long form. The ideas of researchers (who have spent years and even decades studying particular problems) deserved respect, care and the space needed to make sure they are not reduced to caricature.

And the Web site?
Miller-McCune.com stories are hooked directly to current events; as such, they’re also likely to have shorter lead times. A cover story for the magazine will likely be many months in the making; a Miller-McCune.com story may be turned around in a matter of hours.

14. Lapham’s Quarterly

Published by: American Agora Foundation, Inc.
Publisher: Louisa Daniels Kearney
Editor: Lewis H. Lapham
Circulation: 35,000
Mission Statement: Lapham’s Quarterly sets the story of the past in the frame of the present. Four times a year the editors choose a question current in the headlines and bring answers to it from authors whose powers of observation and expression have passed the test of time.
Target Audience: Educated, concerned citizens focused on history, arts, letters and critical issues of our day.

Louisa Daniels Kearney, Publisher
Lewis H. Lapham, Editor

What’s been your biggest achievement?
Successfully reaching readers—and we are—about 18,000 who value prose, art, poetry and letters that have passed the test of time. Then there are readers who want to give meaning and perspective to current topics.

Why did you think such unique content would work?
People are looking closely at thoughts and ideas from the past and relating it to the present. Because it is counterintuitive I think it struck a chord amongst readers.

Is the time right?
The product struck a chord now because of the intense drama of world and national affairs and the fast pace of our lives and our culture. As soon as you pick it up it gives you a need to slow down and reflect. You can pick it up a week later and it is not last week’s magazine.

Do you think there is a place in the market for long-form editorial like this?
Yes, I do, because I think there are still people who care about ideas and want to explore them in greater depth than they get in headline news or in the blogs. There wouldn’t be books if that were not the case.

Do you think it is viable commercially?
I do because we are a nonprofit organization and we have benefited from contribution centers to give us our start. We have created a business model, and as long as we continue to get a positive reaction in the marketplace and build our circulation we can be self-sustaining.

How do you choose the historical text?
Lewis H. Lapham: I choose texts that are fun to read. That is my criteria. It is not academic or comprehensive, but here we find ourselves confronted by the great topics which have confronted human beings for as long as they’ve been around—the war, education, nature, what they now call the environment. There is wonderful historical writing in all of these areas, and my opinion is that good writing doesn’t go out of fashion and that you can learn just as much from reading Seneca or Shakespeare as you can The New York Times’ Best Sellers List.

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