Food Extends Print Foray

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Food Network is following its success in newer media — TV and online — with a venture into old media, specifically publishing.

The channel and its publishing partner, Hearst Magazines, have decided that the success of the initial edition of Food Network Magazine, on stands now, and a second being assembled for January, is encouraging enough to plan for six total editions in 2009.

The publication will launch during tough times for publishing and the general economy. In fact, the day Hearst announced the new publication, it also shuttered one of its other titles, CosmoGIRL. According to publishing trade publications, ad sales for such heavyweights as O, The Oprah Magazine are lagging.

Plus, there are multiple, well-established food-themed magazines already in the marketplace.

But Food Network general manager Sergei Kuharsky said this economy is a great time to start the magazine, adding his network's content will represent “smart fun.”

“When the economy gets challenging, people return to the nest. The magazine we've created celebrates that,” he said. According to Hearst, the first edition's 160 pages include 50 ad pages, with advertisers including JCPenney, Target, Wal-Mart, Chevrolet, Ford, Best Buy, Campbell's Kitchen-Aid and Kraft Foods.

Senior vice president of culinary productions Susan Stockton added that for $3.99 per edition, people will get 125 recipes, as many as are contained in some cookbooks. The recipes are designed to be healthy, easy-to-make meals feeding four to six family members, plus more festive recipes for weekends. She called it “world comfort food, not all mac and cheese.” Weekend recipes will include information such as affordable wine and beer pairings.

The executives added they don't think the publication will cannibalize and its popular recipe-search function. The Web site has recently been overhauled to make it more entertaining, with more video, Stockton noted. Plus, the magazine recipes will go beyond those available online.

Stockton said the network is “going about the new venture carefully,” but executives hope the magazine will ultimately be on a schedule of 10 to 12 issues per year.

Kuharsky said the magazine has already attracted a fan letter, from a flight attendant happy she can now take Food Network with her wherever she travels.