Lifestyle mag for Sandra Lee
By KEITH J. KELLY
Last Updated: 11:28 PM, September 26, 2012
Sandra Lee, an Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef on the Food Network — and First Girlfriend of Gov. Andrew Cuomo — is making a comeback on the mag scene with Sandra Lee, the Magazine.
Lee, who will be editor-in-chief, told Media Ink that the new publication will be a lot broader than her previous venture, a simple cooking magazine that last appeared in January.
“It will cover all aspects of living well — from cooking and entertainment to fashion and style,” she said.
The 46-year-old graduate of Le Cordon Bleu is teaming up with TV Guide, which will handle back-shop operations and, as part of the deal, will pen a column for the weekly TV title owned by Open Gate Capital Partners.
Like many new publications, Sandra Lee, the Magazine is being launched with a clear eye on the digital realm and tight circulation controls.
The print version will be available on newsstands only. No subscriptions will be sold.
Avoiding subs means circulation will be lower, but it also avoids the costly direct-mail efforts needed to sustain a rate base.
Going newsstand-only means the mag will command a $6.99 cover price from consumers — and skip the offer of heavily discounted subscriptions.
Lee will also sell single copies via tablet apps on Apple, Android and Nook platforms for $6.99 — and so far eschewing annual subscriptions on the tablet as well.
That means a successful sell-through can start netting immediate cash, rather than the grueling five-year plan of a conventional launch with subscriptions.
The print version of Sandra Lee, the Magazine is scheduled to appear bimonthly, starting with the November-December holiday-themed issue, set to hit Oct. 30. Newsstands will get 300,000 copies.
Even with lower startup costs, there are clearly hurdles for the new magazine, as Lee found out when she stopped publishing her last magazine, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade, published in conjunction with Birmingham, Ala.-based Hoffman Media under a contract that ended with the January issue.
Its circulation was always around the 300,000 level, and Lee felt it was under-marketed.
There is no denying that eponymous magazines — a hot thing in the early and mid-1990s — have cooled off considerably in recent years.
Oprah Winfrey has seen newsstand sales at O, the Oprah Magazine, drop by more than 25 percent in the past six months following the end of her long-running, top-rated TV talk show.
Every Day with Rachael Ray, which once boasted circulation of more than 2 million, was losing about $10 million a year when it was sold by Reader’s Digest Association to Meredith last year.
While Lee says she is broadening the magazine’s area of coverage beyond cooking, her target audience is still middle-market women.
“It’s conceived to be a resource to the overextended homemaker with aspirational, attainable, affordable information,” she said.
At least four advertisers are signed for the debut issue: Verizon, Diageo, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Kmart.