With a portfolio that includes magazines like Model Railroader, Astronomy, Scale Auto, and close to a dozen other titles aimed at different types of tinkerers, Kalmbach Publishing is heavily invested in hobbyists. Its biggest title, Discover, focuses on big picture developments in areas like science and technology though.
The company’s latest launch is a merging of the two.
Drone 360 will be available next month, aiming to serve a growing audience with interest in the small, unmanned aircrafts known as drones. It’ll focus on both individual use cases—tips and tricks content that mirrors the stories you’d find in a hobby title like Bead & Button, another Kalmbach magazine—and the larger conversation and controversy around drone use.
“We have a product development committee that's been evaluating a number of opportunities, but this one resonated for me,” says Steve George, editor-in-chief of Discover and editorial director of Drone 360. “Working on Discover, we see a lot of tech trends, and you can't ignore what a burgeoning industry multi-rotor drones have become. It's a hobby with enormous potential, and nobody understands passion brands and enthusiast publishing better than Kalmbach. But there's another component here, which is the promise-and-peril part of drones. These devices have become part of a national discussion.”
Kalmbach is taking the merging-two-worlds approach past content philosophy and applying it to areas like distribution and marketing for Drone 360.
The $7.99 magazine will have an initial print run of about 35,000 issues, distributed both at newsstands, using Discover’s bipad, and in hobby shops where Discover doesn’t sell, but other Kalmbach hobby titles do. It’ll also be available as a digital edition.
“As far as marketing, what made this such great title for us is that, in addition to promoting it through Discover's distribution channels, we can also cross-promote in our other titles, especially Trains and American Snowmobiler,” George says. “These readers are intensely curious about RC drones. The aerial photography capabilities—getting that birds-eye view—really appeals to them as part of their respective hobbies. “
George notes that the magazine is a single-issue special issue publication (SIP) right now, but says he’s optimistic it’ll be expanded into a quarterly. The 92-page launch issue had a low ad bar, but it's on pace to outsell its budget, he says.