Tag Archives: HGTV Magazine

Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade

Sandra Lee Magazine: Making the Case for (Another) Heavily-Marketed Title

Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade magazineFirst comes the brand, then the magazine, which is successful as a result. Sandra Lee will be the latest to provide insight into what works in the modern publishing world.

Semi-homemade sensation Sandra Lee is set to launch a new magazine—much to the chagrin of some—after her Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade was shuttered in January. The replacement title, Sandra Lee, is set to make its debut later this month on Oct. 30, 2012 with a focus on “living well,” which will cover everything from cooking, entertaining, fashion and style.

While today’s ever-changing, ever-transitioning print world and an already-crowded mix of food and lifestyle magazines may seem an inopportune environment to start anew, there’s a case to be made for Sandra Lee, the magazine.

Sandra Lee won’t be your typical magazine start-up. By partnering with firmly entrenched TV Guide Magazine, this new title will have plenty of financial backing and cross-promotion that will lend it some measure of success.

That won’t change the fact that it will enter a flooded market segment, but its performance should provide some insight into what works in the modern publishing world. Already, titles like Food Network Magazine have flourished, thanks to the support of a successful cable channel and plenty of celebrity starpower behind it.

After the runaway success of Food Network Magazine, publisher Hearst launched HGTV magazine last year. It, too, has the luxury of an established network and popular designers, but time will tell if the success of Food Network Magazine can be replicated in another category.

In a similar vein, but on a smaller scale, was Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade. Lee gained notoriety as a QVC host, then transitioned to Food Network, where she shared her “semi-homemade” meals concept, using a mix of pre-packaged items and fresh ingredients.

Like it or not, magazines may not survive on content alone, and this part marketing/part editorial approach could be the new future of print holding on in an increasingly digital world. Which brings up an interesting point about Sandra Lee magazine—no print subscriptions will be sold, but it will be available in digital editions and on newsstands for $6.99 each per issue.

So let Sandra Lee join the long list of the food and lifestyle titles out there, even if it’s just for the sake of gauging whether a magazine’s success can be bought with enough high-profile  names or heavy-hitting support behind it—or whether any case can be made that content is still king.

HGTV Magazine's October/November 2011 issue

HGTV Magazine’s Premiere Issue Reviewed

HGTV Magazine's October/November 2011 issue

HGTV Magazine debuted with its October/November 2011 issue.

I finally found it–the premiere issue of HGTV Magazine! After searching my favorite local bookstore, a big-box bookstore, a drug store and my neighborhood grocery store, I was beginning to think it didn’t really exist.

But Sunday evening, while picking up a few items at a grocery store that I don’t normally visit, there it was in the checkout line. I grabbed it without even looking at a single page. I knew I wanted to take it home, get dinner out of the way and sit down with the new magazine. There are definitely a few things about it that I love:

  1. It’s bold and bright. The pages are busy, but easy to navigate and uncluttered somehow. There is lots of information packed onto each one, but my brain could still digest it. Even the cover–with a simple couch and several bold pillows — is bright, clean and easy to look at.
  2. Help Wanted department. This section of the magazine answers common questions about home decorating, messes around the house and dealing with neighbors. My favorite feature in this department for the premiere issue is “Leader of the Pack,” a piece in which “HGTV Design Star” judge Vern Yip offers tips for keeping a house full of dogs clean and how he decorated their room. Yep, they have their own room!
  3. Weekending department. When I was growing up, my grandmother started every Saturday with a thorough cleaning of her house. I think the Weekending department should have been dedicated to her. From how often to wash kitchen sponges–and how–to tips for cleaning up leaves in the yard, this department will help get those little household projects knocked out quickly.

The one thing I found myself wanting from this magazine was a pattern of some sort. There were lots and lots of “you can do this!” tips for your home in HGTV Magazine, but I found myself wanting to be able to re-create a pillow from the cover or the window valances from the article “100% Improved.” Sure, I can get patterns for those online or at my favorite local fabric store; I just half expected HGTV Magazine to put that right into my hands.

It didn’t, but I’d still give this new magazine a “thumbs up” for those of you who are into reading about home decor and renovations. Two thumbs up if you actually dive in and do those things!