Disney Is Expecting New Mothers Magazine

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Disney Publishing Worldwide Inc.'s Wondertime next year will become the newest player in a competitive sandbox of magazines seeking the attention of mothers with young children.


Oversized like Real Simple magazine and with similar white space and a trapezoid logo, Wondertime is for women with children up to age 6 who are keen to nurture their offspring's love of learning.


"It's more about the joy of parenting and less about the job of parenting," David A. Mevorah, New York-based publisher of Wondertime, said of the magazine's positioning.


Wondertime will compete with magazines like Parents, Parenting, American Baby, Child and Scholastic's Parent and Child. It also will go up against Web sites like BabyCenter.com and books on pregnancy and baby care.


The quarterly launches Feb. 14 with a guaranteed rate base of 300,000 before going bimonthly in 2007. The introductory subscription offer is competitive at 10 issues for $10. A newsstand copy will cost $4.95.


Wondertime will be Disney's third parenting magazine after FamilyFun and Disney Adventures. Circulation will be built by tapping lists of partners as well as company properties like the Baby Einstein toy line and DVD brand Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Prenatal and first-book lists will mail, too.


Edited out of Northampton, MA, by Lisa Stiepock, Wondertime's editorial will have a mom-to-mom tone based on five years of research. Themes include fun foods, family travel, social responsibility, great gifts, obsessions, inspirations and instructions.


"This is not an angst-driven publication," Mevorah said. "This is a relaxing publication."


Disney hired ad agency Vitro Robertson, San Diego, to handle advertising that breaks this week with an insert in media trade publications. The insert's headlines and copy are engaging. It starts with: "Does the world really need another parenting magazine? We wonder." A baby is shown reaching out to a soap bubble. Another page shows a crouching little boy examining the grass. The headline says, "We wonder if knowing right from wrong is just as important as knowing right from left." Then there's a shot of a child peeping through a cardboard box. The headline hits home: "We wonder why learning happens at the least likely of times. Sometimes, when you're busy guarding the fort."


The insert is taglined, "Celebrate your child's love of learning." Copy at the end says that Wondertime will give moms "what they want -- the chance to see the world through their child's eyes and celebrate the wonder of this all-too-fleeting time."


Billboard ads, cross promotions with titles like FamilyFun and other Disney properties as well as targeted mail drops comprise the rest of Wondertime's marketing. Direct mail is to drop later this quarter after creative on the test package is completed. As is the case with most magazine publishers, mail is expected to be the marketing workhorse for circulation.


"That's the way we're going to grow our subscriptions," Mevorah said.


Albeit basic, the site at www.wondertime.com is already live and equipped to handle self- and gift subscriptions.


Mevorah was hesitant to disclose charter advertisers, but he said the magazine resonated with brands in logical categories and segments like baby care, diapers, food, entertainment, toys, children's television programming, automotive, travel, electronics and household products.


"What we're looking to do is be the launch of the year," he said. "We want to be the fattest-telephone-book-looking magazine of the year."


Positioning is key. The name Disney doesn't feature on the cover. But it will have this line below the Wondertime name: "From the editors of FamilyFun."


"We didn't want people to think this is a Disney magazine," Mevorah said. "It doesn't have Disney characters. We're looking to build non-Disney-branded properties. When you say Disney, you get different connotations from moms and different connotations from advertisers. It's just a magazine targeted at moms, but it's not Disney-branded. It's Disney-backed."


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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