30 Most Notable Launches of 2007


Men's Health Living

For those who loved Men's Health, but were looking for something more, there is now Men's Health Living, which will show its readers how to enjoy the finer points in life and improve their lives at home.

The magazine could mean the beginning of a whole new genre of magazines targeted at men covering home and interior design, a topic that has for the most part been targeted at women in the past.

This magazine doesn't just tell readers what furniture or decor that they need to get the job done. It also tells readers the tools that they need to accomplish the job. It also gives them all of the testosterone driven articles on stuff to make the lady happy that you expect from a publication with the Men's Health name.

The next time that you are in the store make sure to pick up a copy of Men's Health Living to help you get the most out of you life.

David Zinczenko
Senior Vice President/Editor-in-Chief

1. What do you consider the single most important achievement your magazine has accomplished in today’s marketplace?
Obviously, the newsstand hasn’t been kind to many new magazines over the past few years—with great Rodale spinoffsBest Life andWomen’s Health among the exceptions. And the premiere issue of Men’s Health Living, just a newsstand special at this point, is on track to outsell any first issue we’ve done (including the first issue ofMen’s Health back in the late ’80s). Why? I think we nailed our target customer. We noticed that, as cluttered as the newsstand is, no shelter magazine is empowering men to take control of their home environment. On one end of the spectrum, you have magazines like This Old House and Family Handyman, which cater to the do-it-yourself guy. On the other, you have Architectural Digest and Dwell, which are more about illustrating other people’s lives than showing us how to improve ours. Men’s Health Living splits the middle, inspiring men with practical advice--and empowering them to put it into action.

2. Looking back, what was the most important hurdle you were able to overcome?
Producing an incredible magazine with—literally--1/1000th of Portfolio’s budget. Basically we did it with existing staff and around 100K. Our business model was quite literally to make a profit with issue #1. Sounds crazy, but we might have done it. Two Men’s Health editors, executive editor Bill Phillips and senior editor Matt Bean, assigned and edited the entire magazine. They tapped the collective knowledge of the rest of the Men’s Health team, and cut deals with freelancers. Several editors’ homes served as locations for photoshoots.

3. What was the most pleasant surprise?
We’re on track to sell well north of 200,000 copies at more than a 50-percent sell-thru. That’s a testament to the quality of the magazine, the enormity of the hole in the marketplace, strategic thinking throughout Rodale, and the power of the Men’s Health brand.

4. What is the biggest challenge you are facing today?
We face the same challenges that the rest of the magazine industry does: a cluttered newsstand, the rising cost of paper and postage, and competition from other media. But all of that is out of our control, so we don’t spend much time worrying about it. Fact is, we’ve got a successful first issue behind us, and we’ll see when, and how, to do an even stronger issue #2. Our mission is tight. Our editorial ideas seem endless. And advertisers have responded enthusiastically to the premiere issue. I think this is the kind of magazine that can change the marketplace completely.

5. Imagine you have a magic wand and you can strike the magazine and make it human? Describe that human being.
He’s affluent, self-directed, focused, and he realizes that the woman in his life is busy with the same career and financial ambitions he faces. So if he wants a great lifestyle, he needs to build it himself. Our reader is the guy in the Ralph Lauren shirt who still knows how to roll up his sleeves.

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?
Two things: First, embrace the smaller, faster, cheaper approach that NASA made famous in the 1990s. A magazine like Portfolio, which supposedly had a $100 million investment, is like old NASA--big, ponderous, risky. Men’s Health Living is new NASA--fast and sleek. That stealth approach allows us to try more things, take more risks, and fine-tune our editorial formula over months or years.

And second, create your brand first. It’s really tough to launch a new brand that stands out on the newsstand. That’s why so many successful new magazines are brand extensions.Radar learned that lesson. They tried and failed to launch it twice as just a print product--there was no brand recognition at the newsstand. So now, they’re trying to build the brand online as well as at newsstand. It’s a smarter approach.

7. Finish this sentence: in 2011 your magazine will be…
Four years old! And an important, always-profitable part of the 60-plus country Men’s Health empire.