When you look at MagNet’s newsstand rankings for the top 10 monthly magazines, you see some of the usual suspects — Cosmo (#2), InStyle (#3), Real Simple (#5) — but number eight on the list is a magazine that launched in 2014. Dr. Oz The Good Life may be just a little over two-years old, but its almost-instant success story is one that legacy titles should take note of.
When the magazine launched in February 2014, it started with an initial rate base of 450,000 but a year later it increased to 700,000 and then to 800,000 just six months later. What’s next? You guessed it, another increase. The magazine will jump up to 925,000 with the start of 2017. The math is pretty simple: that’s more than a 100 percent increase in three years. Not bad.
This is a trend happening with other Hearst Magazines launches in recent years, as well. The Food Network Magazine (#4),HGTV Magazine (#6) and O, The Oprah Magazine (#7) are all ranked as top 10 performers on newsstands and they all have aggressively grown their rate bases.
For Dr. Oz The Good Life, newsstand sales have also served as a catalyst to grow ad sales revenue. To date, the magazine is up 17 percent versus last year for in-book sales. Much of that increase is thanks to tapping into new business in three categories — home (+38 percent versus 2015), health (+35 percent) and beauty (+30 percent). That categorical growth has been driven by new advertisers that include Pantene, Sherwin Williams, California Walnuts, Kraft and Ricola.
“It starts with consumer demand," says publisher Jill Seelig. “It’s hard for advertisers to ignore the meteoric circulation growth of The Good Life. This kind of demand only happens when you meet a real need in the marketplace.”
Of course, consumer demand is directly connected to what’s inside the book. That’s where editor-in-chief Jill Herzig and the magazine’s namesake come in.
“The initial success of the magazine was propelled by Dr. Oz himself," Herzig says. “Consumers rely on him for trustworthy guidance in a world littered with misinformation. They’re motivated by his energy and optimism, and they respect the decades he’s spent healing people, in the OR, on his show, and in his daily life. So of course they were thrilled that he finally had a magazine, and they jumped to buy it.”
Dr. Oz, himself, also opens up doors to cross-promotional opportunities. Not only does he promote and reference the magazine on his daily TV show, but he and the brand have partnered on app promotions and a new book extension.
“We’re teaming up with Dr. Oz on his latest book [his first in 10 years], Food Can Fix It, which will be published by Scribner and Simon & Schuster U.K. in spring 2017,” Herzig tells Folio:'s sister site min. “Food Can Fix It will cover heart disease, fatigue, sleeplessness, pain, brain fog, inflammation and a lot more.”
Print isn’t the brand’s only platform, however, and it’s tapping into all the areas you’d expect a major publisher to explore in 2016 — mobile, video, social, etc. September was the second-best month on record for DrOzTheGoodLife.com with 295,000 unique visitors. That’s a far cry from the millions of monthly visitors other Hearst brands are capturing, but it’s a 91 percent YoY increase since the sight launched in September 2015. It monetizes that traffic through digital ad sales that are packaged in with print or served through multi-brand buys.
The brand’s Facebook page has a tick under 400,000 followers, again, not as robust as some of its sister titles, but it is building out a sizable video library with a pretty diverse range of content formats, most with view counts in the hundreds-of-thousands. And, like many other publishers, it has also begun experimenting with Facebook Live.
Digital platforms, like social media, are a clear added value for the brand’s audience development, even if print remains king right now. Herzig indicates that its digital audience, particularly on Facebook, is much younger than the print audience. In fact, she tells min that its largest follower demo on Facebook is in the 25 to 34 age range.
When you add all of it up — the rate base increases, ad sales increases, the influence of the magazine’s namesake and its digital growth strategy — it’s clear that Dr. Oz The Good Life is positioned well to thrive, but nothing is certain in today’s magazine media landscape.