Founded seven years ago as a quarterly, SmartMoney has grown into a multimedia venture with Offspring just the latest line extension developed under the umbrella. Along with a growing interactive arm centered around SmartMoney.com, the Hearst/Dow Jones venture added a custom publishing division earlier this year.
"I view the SmartMoney franchise as a great service journalism provider," said Steven Swartz, president-CEO and editor in chief. "We want to create products that help people live their lives better."
COVERAGE NOT LIMITED
Offspring will make its debut in February and won't restrict its content merely to financial advice. The plan is to produce a parenting magazine that covers not only how to save for college, but also how to select a preschool and how to get optimum use of the family computer. Prudential Securities is the first advertiser in the new magazine.
The new title's tagline, "The Magazine of Smart Parenting," is the only clue that SmartMoney is behind the launch. Technology and education are two topics that will be explored frequently, Mr. Swartz said.
After the four test issues in 2000, plans call for the frequency to increase to 10 times in 2001. Christopher Lambiase, recently promoted from publisher to senior VP-group publisher in charge of sales and marketing for all the SmartMoney properties, will oversee the launch.
WITH KIDS UNDER 10
The first issue will be mailed to 107,000 SmartMoney subscribers and other Hearst magazine subscribers that fit the target: families with an annual household income of at least $50,000 and kids under 10 years old. Another 160,000 copies will be sent to newsstands, with the goal of selling at least 60,000, Mr. Lambiase said.
Subscriptions will be promoted and sold online through SmartMoney.com, Hearst's Women.com and Dow Jones' WallStreetJournal.com; 23,000 subscriptions have been pre-sold already. Another 10,000 copies will be distributed through pediatrician and ob/gyn offices. The rate base-the guaranteed circulation promised to advertisers-will be 200,000 for the first issue. A color page is $15,000.
In 1997, SmartMoney produced a single-topic issue focused on finances for parents, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award.
And last April, the company published its first book, "How to Raise Kids Without Going Broke," through Avon Books, at the time a division of Hearst (and now owned by Harper/Collins). Mr. Swartz is still interested in a book line, but needs a new partner.
REBIRTH FOR WEB SITE
SmartMoney.com is about to have its own rebirth of sorts. Hearst and Dow Jones have agreed to invest $30 million to further develop the Web site.
SmartMoney.com moved out from under The Wall Street Journal Interactive's roof late last year, and away from that site's paid subscriber model. Since then, SmartMoney.com has introduced SmartMoney University, an online guide for novice investors. The site also developed proprietary technology that presents stock data graphically, a feature called "Map of the Market."
Next month, SmartMoney.com will introduce a subscription service for day traders that allows users to view the "Map of the Market" data in real time for $69.95 a month. Another growing business is an online guide tailored for individual companies to allow employees to manage their 401K portfolios.
The core SmartMoney title remains strong with a circulation of 760,396. Its ad pages were flat at 885.52 in the first nine months of 1999, according to