Back in 2011, Sara Peterson was tasked by Hearst Magazines with translating the highly successful HGTV Network into a print vehicle. The goal was to create a fresh new magazine that would resonate with the HGTV brand and fill a void in the industry.
The first test issue of HGTV Magazine launched in October/November 2011 and was such a smashing success that more copies had to be printed. The momentum just kept growing. After six rate base increases in four years, the magazine currently boasts a 1.25 million circulation base, is the sixth-best-selling monthly magazine on newsstands, and has increased in ad revenue and overall profitability each year.
Her approach? Harness the helpful, creative, budget-conscious, entertaining ideas that are hallmarks of HGTV and create a print product that embodies those same tenets. Peterson found a niche in the highly competitive shelter and women’s lifestyle realm: a magazine with a fun, accessible approach to decorating and home life.
While other magazines showcased million-dollar houses furnished by high-end designers, Peterson tasked her editors with finding great-looking homes overflowing with real-life decorating ideas. She proved that a gorgeous room can include $20 pillows and a rehabbed chair from the flea market. And her insistence on sourcing merchandise on-page (“shoppable rooms”) was a game-changer in the category.
Over the past five years under Peterson’s guidance, the magazine has earned some impressive nominations and awards, including the 2012 min Hottest Launch of the Year; 2012 Adweek Hot List Winner for Home Magazine; 2012 Ad Age A-List for Magazine Launch of the Year; 2013 ASME National Magazine Award Finalist; 2013 Adweek Hot List Winner for Hottest Newcomer; 2014 Adweek Hot List Winner for Hottest Home Magazine; and the 2015 Hearst Editorial Excellence Award for a service-driven paint package.