Good Housekeeping upping trim size, trimming rate base

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Amid a flurry of design changes and anniversary celebrations, Hearst Corp.'s Good Housekeeping magazine is trimming its rate base from 4.6 million to 4.3 million and raising its cover price.

Trimming the rate base is expected to help the publisher do away with low-performing newsstand locations and offers that produce low renewals.

“We wanted to be able to control our distribution and our number of copies on the newsstand and, at the same time, bring up newsstand prices and subscription prices,” said Pat Haegele, SVP and publisher of Good Housekeeping. “The newsstand cover price is going from $2.50 to $3.49, and with the subscription prices the first step is to eliminate any field that produces low renewals. We have long-term renewals that are quite good, so we want to secure those first and eliminate any others.”

Baby boomers are the primary target for Good Housekeeping, but slightly younger women, or “trailing boomers,” also are also being targeted now. The median reader age is 51.5, and median household income is $59,942, according to MRI.

The women's magazine, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary next year, is getting a facelift in the form of a 10% trim size increase, effective with the January issue. The larger format is intended to show off enhanced visuals and easier navigation. Also new to the magazine will be the Green Good Housekeeping Seal, an eco-conscious extension of the 100-year-old Good Housekeeping Seal.

Haegele said that adding the Good Housekeeping Seal to the magazine's marketing collateral this year resulted in a 4% lift on direct mail campaigns.

The Green Seal will be tested in future campaigns as Good Housekeeping pushes toward its goal of being the number one women's service magazine in terms of market share and ad pages. Currently, it is the second-largest circulation women's monthly, falling behind Meredith's Better Homes and Gardens, which has a rate base of 7.6 million. Other rivals in the space include Redbook, Ladies' Home Journal, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Real Simple, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Martha Stewart Living.

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