When it comes time to woo potential advertisers, TV networks have their upfronts, digital publishers have their NewFronts and, for the past several years, Hearst Magazines has hosted an annual MagFront. On Tuesday, the company hosted its fourth MagFront presentation at Hearst Tower, previewing its upcoming slate of content—and sponsorship opportunities—for an audience of approximately 200 advertisers and marketing execs.
The editors of each of the publisher's 21 brands presented previews of their editorial franchises for 2017, all with an eye toward sponsor integration. For Hearst Magazines president of marketing and publishing director Michael Clinton, getting the editors involved in selling their own content has been integral the MagFront equation. "Whether you're an author or a playwright or an actor or an editor, it's been so interesting to see how the creative class has become very invested in the commercial success of their endeavors," he said. "I think our editors have really led that charge in [the magazine] world."
Highlights included flagship brand Cosmopolitan's cross-platform "year of beauty," which will offer plenty of native content integrations both in-book and on the magazine's digital and social channels, per new editor Michele Promaulayko. Meanwhile, O, The Oprah Magazine is planning its own "year of adventure"—and an Oprah-branded cruise. Elle will be launching a new personal style initiative and awards platform, and Marie Claire will focus on "The Next Big Thing" across multiple categories with special digital-only covers, an online video series, pop-up shops, events in multiple cities and more. Hearst's digital food brand, Delish, is hoping to expand its audience with the addition of a Delish Kids channel and the Delish Teen Experience food tour, and Food Network Magazine editor Maile Carpenter teased the possible launch of a new magazine built around one of the TV channel's stars.
As always, there were plenty of celebrities on hand to dazzle advertisers, among them recent Esquire cover star Liev Schreiber (who joined the magazine's editor Jay Fielden onstage for a short Q&A), up-and-coming actress Alexandra Daddario (one of the faces of Marie Claire's Next Big Thing initiative), model Hailey Baldwin (who introduced Bazaar editor Glenda Bailey) and Lena Dunham, who discussed her year-old lifestyle site Lenny Letter, in which Hearst is a partner. The grand finale was a surprise appearance by none other than Oprah Winfrey.
Partnerships will continue to be big for Hearst in the coming year, said Clinton. "The Lenny Letter has been a great success, we have Carine Roitfeld and Linda Wells, and now we're having a lot of different personalities and celebrities and brands come through our doors to ask if there's a way they can live on our platforms," he noted, adding that the company's newly crowned chief content officer, Joanna Coles, is overseeing that push to bring in more celebrity and influencer partners.