Hearst Magazines’ collaboration with Dr. Mehmet Oz—also known as the worst kept secret in the publishing industry—has finally been made official. Today, Hearst announced plans to launch a Dr. Oz-branded lifestyle magazine, with a test issue hitting in early 2014.
With the new launch, Hearst is hoping to replicate the success of its two most recent (and similarly TV-branded) magazine debuts, Food Network Magazine in 2008 and HGTV Magazine in 2011. Since then, both magazines have continued to dominate at the newsstand. Food Network saw its single-copy sales rise 10.4 percent in the second half of 2012 while fledgling HGTV’s circulation had topped 930,000, up from 750,000 in the first half, according to the Association for Audited Media.
350,000 copies of the as-yet-unnamed Dr. Oz magazine will hit newsstands in the first quarter of 2014, while another 450,000 copies will go out to current Hearst subscribers—a marked departure from the almost newsstand-only launches of HGTV and Foor Network, said Hearst Magazines president David Carey. (According to Carey, "We know how popular Oz is with readers are many of our titles, so we’re more directly leveraging [the subscriber base] than we have in the past.") Hearst will release a second test issue later in the year, and by the second half of 2014, the magazine could reach regular frequency.
Reports of Hearst’s involvement with Oz surfaced early this year. According to The New York Post, Oz had held “serious discussions” with three other companies before inking a deal with Hearst. But Oz has a longstanding relationship with the company and its editorial director Ellen Levine, whose husband practiced with Oz at the New York Presbyterian Hospital (Hearst executive vice chairman Frank A. Bennack Jr. is also a member of the hospital's board) and whom Oz credits with giving him his first magazine coverage. Levine is now overseeing editorial operations at the new title. (Oz’s TV godmother, Oprah Winfrey, also launched her own eponymous title with Hearst in 2000.)
Oz has also been a popular figure in the Hearst world, having contributed to magazines like O. He also appeared on the covers of both Good Housekeeping and Woman's Day in the past 24 months—and both covers were bestsellers, said Carey.
As far as his vision for the magazine, Oz said, "We want this to be about life, not about medicine," which means less "boring and tedious" health content and more "exciting, challenging" articles. "I very much don’t want this to be '10 Tips for Weight Loss.' It’ll have that element, of course, but we envision that at least half the magazine will also be about relationships, spirituality, optimism, beauty, home, and food."
"I think that characterizing it as a health or medical magazine would be a mistake," he added. "If that’s what it ends up being, I’ll be disappointed."