I was looking over Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni’s report this week on new magazine launches during the first half of 2010 (there were 56, he says) when I clicked through to another of his recent posts—his list of the 25 most notable launches over the last 25 years. Appropriately, 25 magazines made his list.
Scrolling through it, Husni has included some of the obvious and most deserving launches, including Men’s Health (1986), Martha Stewart Living (1990), Wired (1993), O the Oprah Magazine (2000) and The Week (2001). With a list of only 25 titles spanning as many years, it’s easy to assume that the larger publishing companies would dominate Husni’s list. And they do. Time Inc. publishes five, Bauer has three, Conde Nast has two, etc.
What was somewhat surprising, given the limited number of picks over so many years, was that Husni selected American Profile (launched in 2000), Relish (2006) and Spry (2008)—all three newspaper magazines produced by the Publishing Group of America. I shot Husni an e-mail to find out why more than 10 percent of his list is devoted to these publications. Here’s his response:
American Profile was selected because of the breakthrough in marketing strategy that PGA used in introducing a magazine back then to the C and D counties, a market that was ignored for years by this genre of magazines… It became a big hit with the newspapers and in turn with the newspapers’ customers, the readers. When Relish was launched, it was launched with 6 million circ. (now almost 15 million) and Spry with 9 million circ.
Who in their right mind nowadays launches a new magazine with millions of circ.? It is for this gutsy move and the rebirth of old channel of distributing magazines that I honored all three titles. Innovation in print at its best.
On a side note, can you imagine the print budget for those magazines, where the majority of new magazines average 70,000 circ.?