Some examples of shelter mags:
Better Homes and Gardens
Country Life in America, 1901-1942.
Martha Stewart Living
Having established what a shelter mag is and given examples of a few, which ones are surviving in the present chaotic publishing landscape where so many mags have been mowed over like dead weeds?
Over the last several weeks, the editorial leaders at the industry’s top shelter magazines have been playing a game of musical chairs, much like the executives at the big publishing companies that own them. The most recent move came at Condé Nast’s Architectural Digest, where longtime editor Paige Rense Noland retired and was replaced by Margaret Russell, the editor-in-chief of Hachette’s Elle Décor. Michael Boodro, Elle Décor’s executive editor, is serving as acting editor-in-chief.
Elsewhere, Stephen Drucker, who had served as editor-in-chief of Hearst’s House Beautiful, jumped to sister title Town&Country, and was replaced by style director Newell Turner. Hearst’s Veranda named Dara Caponigro, style director at now-defunct Domino, as editor, replacing founding editor Lisa Newsom. And Time Inc.’s Southern Living recently appointed former Cottage Living editor Eleanor Griffin as vice president of brand development.
“These changes mean there’s a ‘wanted-ness’ in the shelter category, both in terms of readership and those who want to work in this category,” says House Beautiful publisher Kate Kelly Smith. “From a business perspective, it may be a challenge to some titles because some advertisers like consistency and any changes mean their brands may not resonate as well.”
In terms of business, now that the big shelter magazine die-off—spurred on by the housing market collapse and pullback in advertising dollars across the publishing industry—appears to have slowed if not stopped altogether, the forecast for the remaining titles seems to be that while the category overall is rebounding, the general market is still lagging. “Some aspects of the category are showing modest rebounding, but more mass-targeted brands are coming back slowly,” says Chris Allen, publisher of Hearst’s Country Living, which targets the shelter lifestyle market.
Meredith’s category monster, Better Homes & Gardens (7.6 million circ) saw ad pages through the first half grow 6.8 percent to 823.92, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. Percentage-wise, Elle Décor had the best first six months, with ad pages shooting up 15.6 percent to 474.16.
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