Food Network is following its success in newer media -- TV and online -- with a venture into old media: 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, are encouraging enough to plan for six total editions in 2009.
The publication is launching at a tough time in the economy and in publishing. In fact, theday Hearst announced the new publication it also shuttered one of its other titles, CosmoGIRL. According to publishing trade publications, ad sales for publishing heavyweights such as Oprah Winfrey’s O are lagging.
Plus, there are multiple, well-established food-themed magazines already in the marketplace.
But Sergei Kuharsky, Food Network general manager, 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, featuring creative from such companies as JCPenney, Target, Wal-Mart, Chevrolet, Ford, Best Buy, Campbell’s Kitchen-Aid and Kraft Foods.
Susan Stockton, senior vice president, culinary productions, 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 healthful, easy meals feeding four to six family members, plus more festive recipes for weekends. The executive 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 www.foodnetwork.com and its popular recipe search. The Web site has been recently 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 10 to 12 issues annual schedule.
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, he said.