'Veranda' Magazine Turns 30, Touts 'Ads Are Content'

Interior design magazine Veranda is celebrating its 30th birthday with its biggest advertising revenue issue in a decade.

The September/October issue, out on newsstands last week, had a 13% increase in ad revenue. 

Several special ad units live in the issue, including custom illustrations by artist Hayley Sarno in partnership with Sub-Zero & Wolf, Brizo, Silestone and Hickory Chair, as well as a pearl integration in partnership with jeweler Assael — a string of pearls wrap around the magazine's masthead.

There are a lot of ads in the book. But Kate Kelly Smith, who oversees Veranda as group publisher of Hearst Design Group, told Publishers Daily that “ads are content” to their readers. The high-end, luxury ads are chosen with care, she said. Editorial plays a part in how the book flows between advertising and editorial content.

The magazine, which was once a a small, quarterly, Southern-based decorating magazine, had the most affluent readership of any shelter magazine in the U.S. by 2001. The next year, it was bought by Hearst, and in 2011, it moved its editorial headquarters from Atlanta to Hearst Tower in New York.

“The core of this book was built in the South, but we have a vital audience in California, the West Coast and into New England,” Smith said.

Smith attributes Veranda’s success, in part, to its uniqueness in the marketplace. Its readership are affluent, global women who own four or five homes and travel from one to the other.

“She has an incredible lifestyle. She’s a collector — she loves jewelry and travel,” Smith said. “You will never meet a Veranda reader who doesn’t have every copy for 30 years. She collects these issues because they are a reflection of her life.”

The average age of its readership is about 50, but as the cover shows, Veranda is trying to reach out to a younger demographic: families. The cover of the September/October issue is the first in the magazine’s 30-year history to feature people. Atlanta homeowner Taylea Fowler and her twins stand in front of her restored home, the historic Thornton House, designed by Atlanta-based Melanie Turner.

Veranda was No.1 in print and digital audience growth in June 2017, according to MPA. Smith said the success of the print product is also due to its category. 

“In the design world, it’s print first. We are very print-centric. We are very much about seeing it, holding it in your hands and celebrating it — and spending an hour plus with it and have it sit on your coffee table,” Smith said.

Veranda has a rate base of 460,000 and publishes six issues a year.

The title has had stability, too. Clinton Smith is only the third editor-in-chief in Veranda’s 30 years.

Highlights in the anniversary issue include a tour of Oprah’s private rose garden and a collage of moments from Veranda’s archives. 

In October, Veranda will debut its first furniture line at High Point Market, in partnership with Fine Furniture.

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