Tuesday, August 26, 2008

There's no place like that magazine that just shut down

Home magazine, like House & Garden before it, has called it a day. Right when, we're told, everyone's beginning to stay home. You'd think this would be the perfect time for a magazine that helps you enjoy your home more.

Maybe it is, if you approach it the right way: "some publishers say a drop in spending on homes doesn't necessarily reflect declining interest in home improvement, even if it has had a negative impact on advertising in some magazines. 'There are many ways you can improve a house, whether it's $15 for a can of paint or $15,000 for a new bathtub,' said Stephen Drucker, editor in chief of Hearst Corp.'s House Beautiful, which had a 19% increase in ad pages in its second quarter." That's very Home Depot-ish of him, isn't it?

But you know I love Stephen Drucker. After all, here's a guy who was named EIC of a shelter magazine at a time when everyone stopped reading magazines and buying homes. And still, he's game. This is from his letter in the August issue: "To everyone who hesitates that decorating is a luxury at this unsettled moment, I'd like to say that I think home is more important than ever, not a last priority in your budget, but a first. Now is the time to set a beautiful table and invite friends for dinner, rather than go to a restaurant...." Before he's done, he touches on every conceivable advertiser category from home accents and electronics to contractors. And I think it's a brilliant defense of his magazine's purpose. It could be a mission statement.

Then there's this news about Michaels: "Some product categories such as kids crafts, jewelry making, and baking supplies, have done well, but were offset by declines in bigger ticket items such as floral arrangements, home decor and custom framing." Seems to indicate that people don't want stuff so much as stuff to do when they're at home.

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