NEWSSTAND HIT: Hearst Magazines underestimated the power of Dr. Mehmet Oz.
This story first appeared in the March 7, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company, which owns Dr. Oz The Good Life via a joint venture with Oz, said newsstands have sold out of the magazine, which made its debut on Feb. 4. Hearst Magazines president David Carey told WWD that the publisher has printed “tens of thousands” of additional copies for newsstand consumption.
“I’ve been busy. I was out chopping trees to make all the copies we’re going to sell,” Carey said cheerfully Thursday.
Hearst noted that initial distribution for the pilot issue was 800,000 copies: 375,000 on the newsstand at a cover price of $3.99, with the balance going to subscribers, which currently total 50,000.
While he wouldn’t go into specifics, Carey said the pilot issue’s debut would now “go well into the 400,000s” on newsstands. He offered that since January, his team was able to sell 110,000 new subscriptions, bringing the subscriber base to 160,000.
“It’s tracking very comparably to HGTV,” Carey said, referring to Hearst’s penultimate magazine launch, which hit stands in 2012.
The pilot issue of HGTV magazine had single-copy sales of 297,563 and a total paid and verified circulation of 702,711, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The most recent figures reveal that in the six months ended Dec. 31, HGTV registered total paid and verified circulation of nearly 1.3 million and single-copy sales of 358,446.
That was enough to put the title in the top 25 of newsstand sellers. It follows an even more successful joint venture, Food Network Magazine, which launched in 2008, and recently recorded single-copy sales of 506,127 and total paid and verified circulation of 1.7 million.
Despite Oz’s good showing, Hearst is not yet ready to pull the cord and proceed to a regular frequency for the magazine before the second half of 2014, the company said.
Carey was optimistic, however, touting Oz’s second pilot issue, which goes on sale April 15. Like the first issue, it has pulled in 60 advertising pages. The executive said Hearst is still tinkering with small changes to the editorial sections, while also paying close attention to bringing together the “right” kinds of advertisers to reflect Dr. Oz’s brand. While that challenge exists for any preexisting brand, it becomes heightened when a doctor who prescribes medications and supplements is involved.
Piggybacking on an already successful brand and building an editorial product around it seems to be a winning formula for Hearst and Carey, who laughed at the suggestion that print is on life support.
“We have hundreds of thousands of people who have signed on a new magazine, so I would say definitively not,” he said. “People like new products. There’s always more white space than you can imagine.”
Carey added that Hearst hopes to launch another magazine by 2016, and is currently mulling over “two interesting concepts.” He declined to reveal details.