Mag Bag: 'Good Housekeeping' Cuts Rate Base, But Gets Bigger

Good HousekeepingGood Housekeeping Cuts Rate Base, But Gets Bigger

In another sign of the woes of the consumer magazine industry, Good Housekeeping is cutting its rate base from 4.6 million to 4.3 million, effective January 2010. Good Housekeeping is also getting a revamp, with a new, slightly larger trim size and a higher cover price.

A number of big consumer magazine titles have cut their rate bases in recent years, including Time, Newsweek, and U.S News & World Report. However, Hearst's decision to cut back Good Housekeeping's rate base is more cautious than these other examples, because circulation declines have not been nearly as pronounced at the homemaking title.

In fact, paid subscriptions increased 2% between the second half of 2007 and the second half of 2008 -- from 3,889,334 to 3,973,585, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, newsstand sales were down about 28,000 -- a 5% drop. Altogether, paid subscriptions and newsstand sales topped 4.54 million in the second half of 2008.

The decision to raise the cover price to $3.49 is less surprising, as the magazine's old price of $2.50 lagged behind competitors like Better Homes and Gardens, at $3.49, and most women's lifestyle mags (Cosmopolitan, for example, costs $4.37, while Glamour costs $3.99). As advertisers cut back during the recession, many magazines with substantial newsstand sales have taken to raising cover prices to boost circulation revenue.

Good Housekeeping has not been immune to the steep advertising downturn, but it also hasn't taken the enormous hits suffered by other titles. According to the Publishers Information Bureau, its total ad pages fell 9.6% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, to 324.3 -- a noticeable decline, but less severe than the overall drop of 26% across the magazine industry.

People en Espanol Says Salud

People en Espanol is poised to debut new health content with the upcoming June issue, bolstering the magazine's editorial offerings as part of a broader revamp that will also introduce a new look for parts of the magazine, according to Mediaweek. Much of the new health content will be delivered in a new section called "Renuevate," meaning "Renew Yourself," and the magazine is also planning a health-themed issue to follow, since Hispanic immigrants to the United States and their children are more likely than the population at large to suffer from certain disorders, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Doctors say outreach through public education and the media is key to spreading information about healthy diets and the value of exercise.

Entertainment Weekly and YouTube Get "Lost" Together

The season finale of ABC's popular mystery-survivor-drama "Lost" aired Wednesday night, but buzz had been building for weeks among the show's devoted fans. Entertainment Weekly partnered with YouTube for a special pre-finale video run-up, featuring certain choice clips from previous episodes chosen by EW's editors as well as short video segments from EW.com called "Totally Lost." The special pre-finale programming was promoted via Twitter and Facebook.

Vibe Launches TheMostmag.com

In June, hip-hop music title Vibe is launching a new online magazine, TheMostmag.com, which will cover entertainment and celebrity news; there will also be two printed issues a year, which will replace issues of Vibe that were sacrificed by cutbacks in its publication schedule. Unfazed by the recession, urban lifestyle publishers have launched several new magazines over the last year, including UrbanMetro, a new quarterly magazine about urban style for young men, which debuted in March with a subscription base of 20,000.

Entertainment Weekly Names Chelstowski Publisher

Just a few weeks after his predecessor, Scott Donaton, left, Time Inc. announced that Ray Chelstowski has been appointed the new publisher of Entertainment Weekly. Chelstowski has EW chops, having previously worked in the magazine's business operations for nine years from 1996-2005, where he was eventually promoted to national sales director. Chelstowski left EW to work for Wenner Media as publisher of Rolling Stone from 2005-2008. Most recently, he served as publisher of Prestige New York, a high-end luxury glossy targeting wealthy New Yorkers.

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