The Monitor: Shelter Category Analysis

Over the years, Time Inc.’s This Old House has rehabbed to appeal to its female readers, introducing bigger photo spreads and mom-friendly home projects. This past year, its eponymous home-improvement PBS show tested its first female correspondent.

And over time, the magazine’s audience composition has changed. In 2002, it was 55 percent male; today, it’s 50-50, male/female.
Now, the magazine is making a bigger play for women DIYers and the advertisers that want to reach them. In the November issue, editor Scott Omelianuk will introduce a 12-page section called This Old House and Home that will focus on decorating and highlight products that are available for readers to buy. The section will go into copies sent to 450,000 female subscribers, about half the total circ of 966,342.
Charlie Kammerer, publisher, This Old House, said he hopes the section will help attract ads for soft goods, high-end appliances and female-aimed cars. “Buying decisions are dual, but some advertisers have very male/female oriented targets,” he acknowledged.

Jeff Alwine, strategic buyer/planner at Spark Communications, said while having a large male audience gives This Old House an advantage over most other shelter books, the new section may help expand the ad base beyond DIY. “However, they’re not going to bring in the fashion brands that the House Beautifuls will,” he said.

Ad pages declined 22 percent to 377 this year through the October issue versus a 27 percent decline for the shelter magazine category, per the Mediaweek Monitor. The housing market collapse has contracted the category, but titles that rely on middle-market consumers have fared relatively better.