StartupCloseup: Chow

StartupCloseup: Chow

Foodie mag targets a hip, fun audience Like most people launching a new magazine, Chow publisher and founder Jane Goldman believes she has found an underserved market. As she puts it, "There is a large middle ground between Martha Stewart and opening a bag of Doritos."

That middle ground, Goldman says, includes a large number of younger Americans who claim a refined palate but perhaps lack in-the-kitchen-know-how.

Launched in November, Chow is a hipper, more laid-back answer to the various cooking titles on the magazine rack. The magazine's tag line is "Food. Drink. Fun."

Compared to existing food magazines, "The content is very different," Goldman says.

Other food books, which appeal to a reader in her late 40s, have a very different point of view, according to Goldman. She says that Chow's target audience finds them "a little too precious, a little too serious. For our audience, they prefer something that is more fun, more far-reaching."

Goldman believes she has a deep pool from which to draw. Based on her research, there are 40 to 60 million 18- to 49-year-olds calling themselves "food enthusiasts." While the vast majority read magazines, "80 percent do not read food books," she says. "Food magazines do not appeal to this audience."

As for who these people are, "We found out through our subscriber studies that we are coming pretty close to what we planned," she says. The plan was to reach "a 33-year-old food aficionado. Someone who is a very sophisticated eater, but rather a primitive cook," Goldman adds.

This person, while lacking some experience, cares deeply about food. "Food is the center of their day," she notes. "It's part of their fashion, their culture. This person does occasionally cook, but wants the product to be special."

So Chow provides intricate instructions, while offering an opportunity to aim high. "While the cooking goes beyond basics, we do take you step-by-step," she says.

That means lots of photographs and graphics. The first issue included a list of 12 things to keep on hand to entertain in an instant, like olives and salami.

As evidenced by the piece, "Great illegal cheese, nothing says you care like contraband," the magazine has an irreverent, slightly playful tone.

"We are not going to give you the food to feed your kids, or your 'everyday' food," says Goldman, in a thinly veiled referenced to Martha Stewart's title downscale Everyday Food. "It's food that is easy to cook, with results you'll be proud of."

So far, the launch has gone better than expected, as Chow received an avalanche of positive press, including a feature story in Newsweek. While launching at a circulation of 100,000, Goldman says she hopes that it will reach a circulation of a quarter million in four to five years.

Next story loading loading..