Hearst has given the green light to HGTV Magazine, once again bucking trends by launching a print magazine in a weak market.
The publisher and partner Scripps Networks are planning four more issues of the network-based magazine this year after a test of two issues and have started knocking on advertisers' doors.
“We have had very encouraging results on the two test issues and will continue our test rollout with four more issues in 2012,” emailed Michael Clinton, marketing president and publishing director at Hearst. “HGTV Magazine has received a great response so far from both consumers and the advertising community, and we look forward to putting more of the magazine’s great home lifestyle content into the market this year.”
The magazine’s filling out its masthead, too. Dan Fuchs is expected to serve as publisher; he’s currently associate publisher at a key Hearst title, O, the Oprah Magazine. HGTV Magazine already had an editor in place, Sara Peterson.
Hearst already has a solid playbook for this kind of TV program-based magazine in Food Network Magazine. Food Network is one of the most successful consumer magazines in recent history, more than tripling its circulation to 1.4 million since it launched in 2009.
With HGTV Magazine, Hearst seems to be moving even more aggressively. While Food Network launched with a rate base promise of 300,000, HGTV is expected to guarantee a circulation of 450,000, possibly in May.
Unlike Food Network Magazine, which rode the network's star power to soaring heights, HGTV Magazine is more about decorating than personalities. Carolyn Dubi, senior vp and director of print at Initiative, thinks HGTV could end up having an even bigger audience than Food Network, though. “They follow a similar model: take a well-known brand, take it to a medium that I can spend more time with,” she said. “Food Network is more aspirational. HGTV is a little more approachable. Everybody lives somewhere, but we don’t all cook.”