A joint venture between Hearst and Hoffman Media of Birmingham, Ala. is bringing Victoria magazine back to life, and at the same time adding to the southern expansion of Hearst Magazines.
Victoria was founded in 1987 as a spin-off of Good Housekeeping under the editorial guidance of "the father of new magazine launches" John Mack Carter. It was the brainchild of the founding editor Nancy Lindemeyer.
An instant success with readers, Victoria hit the million copies circulation mark and was then pulled from the market without warning in 2003 citing lack of advertising pages and revenues.
According to my sources, Victoria saw one of the highest subscription renewal rates the year it folded. The closure of Victoria showed that once again our industry leaders cared more about the 50 advertisers than the 2 to 3 million readers.
Despite the time Victoria has been away, I'm sure John Mack Carter and Nancy Lindemeyer are thrilled about the relaunch. Congratulations to them both.
1. What do you consider the single most important achievement your magazine has accomplished in today’s marketplace?
The successful relaunch of a publication that had been removed from the market for four years.
2. Looking back, what was the most important hurdle you were able to overcome?
The biggest hurdle in relaunching Victoria was recapturing the subscribers and convincing them that we were bringing back the magazine they fell in love with.
3. What was the most pleasant surprise?
The warm reception from former readers. When the magazine ceased publication in 2003, the bond between Victoria and her readers was not broken. Forums, message boards, and blogs kept the spirit of Victoria alive. When Hoffman Media partnered with Hearst Corporation to relaunch Victoria, readers were thrilled to discover that “their” magazine was returning in November. Hundreds of letters, e-mails, and phone calls poured in. The Internet buzzed with anticipation. The direct mail response was unbelievable—180% of budget from the first mailing.
4. What is the biggest challenge you are facing today?
Our biggest challenge right now is producing a magazine that is relevant to today’s women while continuing to capture the spirit of the original Victoria.
5. Imagine you have a magic wand and you can strike the magazine and make it human? Describe that human being.
Victoria is cultured, creative, elegant, and enterprising. She is independent and adventurous, driven by passion for a life well lived. Victoria participates in life rather than sitting on the sidelines. She paints, she gardens, she reads, she travels. She inspires you with her confidence and calm. Victoria is your best friend.
6. The number of new magazine launches has been on a steady increase. What advice do you offer to someone wanting to start a new magazine?
The best advice I have to offer is simple—have a strong editorial product that meets the needs of the marketplace.
7. Finish this sentence: in 2011 your magazine will be…
a leader in lifestyle inspiration and will continue to be collected and treasured by women across the country.