Launches of the Year

By Husni, Samir | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, March 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

Launches of the Year


Husni, Samir, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


Byline: Samir Husni

Every year, Samir Husni (aka Mr. Magazine), carefully tracks the flow of new magazines into the U.S. market. Not much escapes his notice, and his assessment of what's hot and what's not carries weight in the advertising community. Here, in an exclusive with Folio:, Husni presents his 2003 Launches of the Year.

Last year marked a turnaround year for launches. After a steep decline from 1,068 new magazines in 1998 to 745 in 2002, we tracked 948 launches in 2003. In next month's Folio: we will go into greater detail about who did the launching, where they did it, and which categories are attracting the most launch activity. For now, however, we'll focus on the 30 titles we consider the most notable launches of 2003. It is, admittedly, a subjective list - and not intended to be predictive of long-term success; of last year's top 30 notables, only 25 are still being published. Radar, in the class of 2003, is already in suspended status.

How do magazines make the list? The winners are publications we think are innovative and will have an impact on the industry. We weigh several factors, including the amount of buzz the launches generate, how original they are and how well they fit the target audience. The creators of Dogs for Kids, for example, identified an untapped segment of the already well-served pet owner market. V-Life, an innovative brand extension, takes Variety into the lifestyle category. Dandelion broke new ground by giving female outdoor enthusiasts a book of their own that ever so gently tells men to bug off. Finally, there are magazines that are just too bizarre to be ignored. That's why we have included Trailer Trash.

Top Launch of the Year

As I read over the 30 notable launches, one magazine continued to jump out for several reasons, the least of which is the notorious founder's name: Martha Stewart. Everyday Food is 2003's Launch of the Year because the content is so good that it doesn't need a big-name celebrity fronting for it.

This is debranding at its best: Martha managed to be invisible in marketing Everyday Food, and that turned out to be a good thing. After four test issues it popped up on grocery checkouts in January. By August, its circ is expected to jump from the 500,000 to 750,000.

The handy digest-size guide allows even the least skillful chefs to become culinary heroes with easy-to-follow instructions using common ingredients. …

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