Big launch: Time's shelter launch set for bonanza debut

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Time Inc.'s Cottage Living will launch with a thunk when it hits newsstands Aug. 25. Its 296 pages will hold 142.4 ad pages, making it the second-largest launch issue in Time Inc.'s history.

The internal hopes are to match the performance of the magazine that previously notched Time Inc.'s largest launch issue-Real Simple, which, despite a notably rocky start, has firmly established itself in the broader media world.

"We are really adamant about marketing this as a breakout women's lifestyle magazine," said Publisher Stephen Bohlinger. "We don't want to be another pretty shelter title."

The magazine's debut comes after peer-group member Meredith Corp.'s Country Home repositioned itself with a lusher look this summer.

The fantasy of crossing over into non-endemic categories is the stuff that shelter titles' dreams are made of. Both Better Homes & Gardens, also owned by Meredith, and the pre-legal woes Martha Stewart Living are case studies of how to mint money off such an approach. Given this, it's not surprising that Mr. Bohlinger trumpets the number of automotive pages Cottage Living has scored, which he said was the second-largest category for the title. (Of course, inclusion in Time Inc.'s extensive corporate packages can only help.)

different meanings

"We define `cottage' as so much more than bricks and mortar," said Editor Eleanor Griffin. Contrary to earlier marketplace notions, she said that Cottage Living focuses on "primary residences." But she also noted that "cottage" signifies different things to young adults, parents raising families and baby boomers. All of whom would be welcomed by Cottage Living, for which executives envision a substantial million-plus circulation, although the editorial fits firmly with shelter and lifestyle titles aimed at 30- and 40-somethings.

Cottage Living will publish two issues in '04 and nine in '05. An ambitious circulation expansion plan calls for a rate base of 900,000 in 2006. A one-time, full color ad page is $30,000. The magazine's rate base at launch is 500,000, with 400,000 copies distributed to newsstands.

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