A New blueprint for shelter titles

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You might want to invest in a new bookshelf. The shelter category has several new additions including a trio-Cottage Living, Domino and O at Home-worth keeping back issues of, for both business and personal reasons.

The shelter field is "crowded, but these three books in part have tonality and voice that have added to the category," says George Sansoucy, senior VP-director of print and media services at Magna Global Trading.

COTTAGE LIVING

The editors of Cottage Living, from Time Inc.'s Southern Progress Corp., don't like it when homeowners stash all their stuff before a photo shoot.

The goal is to show the "way our readers really live," says Eleanor Griffin, VP-editor in chief, adding that Cottage Living "is a metaphor for a little more relaxed way of living."

"It's not about the size or structure of the home," adds VP-Publisher Stephen Bohlinger.

"It has found a niche area, a much homier type of environment," says Charles Valan, associate director at the Media Kitchen, New York. "Psychographically more relaxing. "

Cottage Living launched in September 2004 with a rate base of 500,000, is up to 650,000 for the nine issues in 2005 and, as of 2006, will jump to 900,000 for nine issues.

On the ad front, Mr. Bohlinger says the goal for 2005 is 550 pages-with the actual total at this point of the year exceeding 450-and for 2006 "we're looking at 600-plus. But what I'm most pleased with is the diversity [of advertisers]. I knew we couldn't live and die by core shelter [advertisers]." Brands in the October 2005 issue include Lands' End, Ford, Burt's Bees and Prudential Financial.

DOMINO

Freeze your credit cards in a block of ice before opening Conde Nast Publications's Domino-this baby is dangerous for impulse shoppers. Launched with a rate base of 400,000 in a spring/summer 2005 issue, Domino puts a home style spin on the shopping format of older sibling Lucky.

"We're not proselytizing for any one style," says Editor in Chief Deborah Needleman. "It's more of a tool to enable people to find their own style."

"I appreciate the simple, understandable format," Mr. Sansoucy says.

The Domino reader, who's 30-plus, is "distinguished less by age than by how she thinks about her home. She tends to shop for her home the way she shops for her wardrobe and is always looking and mixes price points," says Beth Brenner, VP-publisher.

As of January, the rate base will rise to 450,000. Ms. Brenner is going for an ad mix that's 65% nonendemic. "We wanted the perfect democracy" of home, retail and beyond. Domino will finish out the year at about 500 ad pages for five issues. For 2006, she's shooting for 650 pages over 10 issues.

O AT HOME

While Oprah Winfrey may not grace the cover of O at Home the same way she does at what Editor in Chief Chief Amy Gross calls "big O," she's a very strong presence on the page.

"O at Home is coattailing on the brand Oprah. Powerful indeed. Just about anything she's associated with brings a committed group of consumers along with it," Mr. Sansoucy says of the shelter title from Hearst Magazines and Harpo Print.

The idea for a shelter spinoff came after the December 2002 home-themed issue of O, the Oprah Magazine was a top seller, says Jill Seelig, VP-publisher of both titles.

"What we realized about the home was it's an extension of who you are as a person and that home can be reported on in a more personal way than [it is] in the traditional shelter magazines," Ms. Seelig says. "It all goes back to living your best life. Here it's living your best life at home."

The title launched with two issues in 2004, increased to three this year and for '06 will go quarterly with a rate base of 600,000. It debuted as a newsstand-only title, and Ms. Seelig says about half of its buyers also read O.

"When we first started, we hit the shelter [advertisers] pretty hard," she recalls. "We knew shelter advertisers were looking more for lifestyle anyway, and we thought it met the need."

Currently, the magazine runs some beauty and auto ads, but Ms. Seelig remains committed to "the needs of the endemic" advertisers.

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