Sunset Special Issue Eyes Younger Crowd

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Sunset magazine's publisher in August will drop a newsstand-only special issue called Living 101 to target a younger demographic undergoing a "quarter-life crisis."


The magazine from Time Warner-owned Southern Progress Corp.'s Sunset Publishing arm is positioned as a guide for young people in the Western United States. It will focus on the publisher's tried-and-true formula of home, food, garden and travel articles.


"What we're doing with this publication is introducing Sunset to this younger audience that will eventually turn to the mother brand as they mature," said Katie Tamony, editor-in-chief of Sunset magazine and overseer of Living 101, in Menlo Park, CA.


The mother Sunset brand, founded 108 years ago, has a monthly circulation of 1.45 million. Sunset Publishing's Jess Chamberlain, Megan Collins and Michelle Gervais -- all Generation Yers -- last year conceived the special issue and gained approval from senior management.


Priced at $3.95, the 124-page, 8-by-10.5-inches book will have a distribution of 200,000 copies. The magazine will sell for six weeks in bookstores, grocery stores, newsstands and outlets where Sunset is sold.


"Most of our special-interest publications are around that figure [circulation of 200,000]," Tamony said. "It's actually higher than some of our other special-interest publications. We don't know enough of Sunset's appeal to this audience [to go higher or lower in circulation]."


Charter advertisers include Blackstone Winery and Visa, which is running a schedule with Sunset magazine.


"We certainly covet an appropriate advertiser in the home furnishings area," said Tom Marshall, New York-based publisher of Sunset magazine. "I'm thinking of people like a Crate & Barrel and IKEA. I'm presenting to them."


Living 101 is Sunset's seventh special-interest publication. It follows last year's special issue Sunset Weddings.


"That made us think that there is something there and it's connecting with the young market," Tamony said.


Living 101 will feature articles pertinent to the concerns of the twentysomething market, part of the 14 million young adults in the West.


Generation Y, which is also the biggest U.S. demographic since the baby boomers, typically is between nests: They have left their parents' home but are not fully independent. They experience life changes in a compressed period of time, including graduating from college, living on their own, entering the work force and, in some cases, getting married.


Sunset Publishing admits that many magazines satisfy this generation's taste for fashion and fitness. But few talk to the fundamentals of daily life these young adults experience.


Readers can expect pieces on solutions for the one-bedroom apartment, making the place look better, installing a dimmer switch and shopping in flea markets.


Also in the magazine will be articles on organizing a foolproof cocktail party and beach barbecues, tabletop gardens, San Francisco on a dime, late night in Portland, OR, and a perforated card with all the do's and don'ts in Las Vegas. All articles will be budget-focused, keeping in mind the audience.


"A lot of these articles parallel Sunset and what we do, but with a different flavor," Tamony said.


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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