Barrymore is teaming with Bauer Media Group to launch Drew, a quarterly lifestyle magazine that focuses on many of the actress and talk show host’s passions, including beauty, travel and food. The magazine will debut exclusively at Walmart stores on June 14 at $9.99 and then be available on newsstands nationwide a week later. Barrymore has embarked on other exclusive partnerships with Walmart in the past, including for her Flower Beauty and Flower Home brands, as well as her recently launched kitchenware brand, Beautiful by Drew Barrymore.
“I’ve lined my walls with magazine tear sheets since I was like 10 years old,” Barrymore said about why she wanted to launch the magazine. “I have a picture of myself in my bedroom and it’s like floor to ceiling and wall to wall. I’ve always loved magazines because of the paper and the experience. Magazines are such a huge part of my life and they’re such a huge part of my inspiration for everything I do.”
Barrymore has been working on the magazine for roughly two years, and was partially inspired to launch it after working on a zine ad campaign for her Flower Beauty brand a few years ago. She will take on the role of editor in chief for Drew, and is teaming with her longtime partners Crystal Meers, who serves as editorial director, and floral stylist Christy Doramus, who serves as editor at large.
It has not yet been decided if Barrymore will appear on the cover each quarter. “We certainly think [Drew] is our best cover, but we’re going into it more with a kind of listening to the audience,” Steven Kotok, president of Bauer Media, said. “The reader will always decide. Clearly she should be on the first cover and we’ll figure it out from there. When you overconceive it, that’s the only way to screw it up.”
As for the content, Barrymore added that the magazine will be an extension of the topics she discusses on her talk show, “The Drew Barrymore Show,” which debuted on CBS last September. The magazine will have a “Dear Drew” column similar to the segment on her talk show where she answers questions from her audience.
“I love snail mail, so I have a ‘Dear Drew’ [segment] on the show,” Barrymore said. “I used to say I love ‘Dear Abby’ and [Meers and I] came up with this notion of asking me questions and then me giving the answers so that is the origin story of ‘Dear Drew.’”
The magazine will also include other personal stories from Barrymore, as well as recipes, guides and product round-ups put together by her editorial team and contributors. It will be very product-focused given her love of beauty and shopping. Barrymore already uses her Instagram and talk show to share her tips and product recommendations to her followers, both from her own Flower Beauty brand and across the market.
“I know there will be an inherent identity to this magazine that is very commercial and very personal,” she said. “Those are the two things that I think are our strongest point of view right now and our optimism. I call our show optimism TV. This is an optimism magazine.”
Barrymore acknowledged that the print magazine world “isn’t the safest bet to go into and there is so much amazing digital stuff out there,” but stressed that she doesn’t “want to split our efforts by trying to be totally digital, too.” “Maybe if we get going and we find the bandwidth to do that. Then sky is the limit,” she added. On the digital side, Drew will just have a landing page online and a newsletter.
Print magazines were already struggling before the pandemic, only to be hit even harder by the pandemic, which triggered an advertising free fall. While some advertising has returned, the pandemic became too much for some media companies to bear, with the likes of Playboy, Paper and Time Out New York ceasing print operations and others, including WSJ. Magazine, have permanently reduced frequency.
But at the same time, there has been a growing demand for single-topic, in-depth magazines often referred to as bookazines. Meredith Corp., for example, recently launched People Royals, adding to its existing lineup of Sweet July with Ayesha Curry and Reveal with Drew and Jonathan Scott.
Kotok believes The Drew magazine lies somewhere in the middle of the two models. “It’s a bookazine somewhat in the sense that we are driving it by consumer revenue as much as advertising revenue, so I don’t know if there’s really clear categories anymore,” he said.
“A lot of the magazines that are struggling are the ones that are very, very driven by advertising,” he continued. “Our focus is always on the consumer revenue stream and we start with something that can make money just from engaging the consumer the right way and our philosophy has always been if we do that the advertisers will follow versus trying to start someplace where we think there’s a really nice ad market and what can we create to satisfy that.”
Barrymore, for one, hopes that the partnership will be long-lasting, and that she can continue growing the magazine.
“My goal with the magazine is to get to do a second one and to keep going from there,” she said. “You just need chances, so I hope to get the chance to do another one. That’s where my focus is, not being afraid and not planning too far ahead for what I don’t know is possible yet. I’ve never been good when people are like, ‘where do you see this in five years?’ I’m like, I have no idea. I am completely invested and I’m going to do all I can from here.”
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