Home Beautiful thriving with cross-platform initiatives as lifestyle sector grows

‘The magazine has evolved as the landscape has evolved.’

Wendy Moore has unique insight into the media and how it covers the lifestyle sector. She is editor-in-chief of the Pacific brand Home Beautiful and also a judge on Seven’s hit series House Rules.

She has been with Home Beautiful for 12 years while the current success of House Rules seems certain to guarantee it will be back for a seventh year in 2019.

“The magazine has evolved as the landscape has evolved,” Moore told Mediaweek when she was a guest with us on Mediaweek TV on Sky News Business last week.

• Watch Wendy Moore on Mediaweek TV here

“When I started on Home Beautiful in 2006, it was a beautiful magazine. At the time it needed to be a little broader in its approach to the market and we made that happen.

“What it is now is a brand and not a product. The magazine is a product of that brand. The magazine remains the flagship product, while all the digital and physical platforms make up the total brand now.”

Moore told Mediaweek the lifestyle audience is massive and continues to grow. “Sales are up 24% in magazine copy sales for the whole homemaker sector. There remains a very tangible demand for magazine products, particularly in this sector. In the sector there is about $8.8b spent on furniture and home wares every year.”

Moore said Australians remain very proud of their homes. Just like the family in The Castle!

“Home gives people a sense of belonging, particularly for women.”

Moore talked about a “shoes to sofa” transition that women go through. “We don’t leave shoes behind! [Laughs] We identify ourselves with our home – how we entertain, how we decorate – it becomes an extension of our personality.”

Apart from engaging audiences every month in print, Moore said the most successful recent initiative was House to Home Beautiful. “It followed the project of a renovation – and it also applies to a new build – with a builder and a stylist who are a married couple and they showed how you could inject your own personality into the new property. It delivered content on multiple platforms, but lived mainly on video with 45 pieces of content, which were published over a six-month period.

“We had about 2.2m video views and we had sponsors on board who received branded content. We also had print and social executions.”

When asked about the key audience, Moore said: “Women 40+ with higher than average incomes, usually living in their second, sometimes a third, home. They know what they like, but they need some help to make it happen.”

Mediaweek recently reported on the Home Beautiful Cooks Co-op initiative.

Moore said it was something they had never done before, and she wasn’t sure if they would have an opportunity to do it again.

“What we have done is partner with Marty Boetz. He is an executive chef who started Longrain Restaurant and he has bought a farm just west of Sydney. He decided to turn it into a paddock-to-plate restaurant. He has held a few events there and it is a great celebration of the local community. We partnered with Harvey Norman on Cooks Co-op and it has been a great partnership. Gerry Harvey has been out and he is a farmer in that area and he understands the importance of locally produced food and supporting farmers.”

The future of print

When asked if publishers are any closer to finding a sustainable model for what were initially print-only products, Moore told Mediaweek:

“We are. We are getting better at measuring the impact of our brands on audiences and understanding how we are connecting with them.

“We also have a better understanding of how our audience behaves on different platforms and what they want from those platforms. The revenue from that is definitely growing and we are starting to see some payoff for that.

“We have to get the product and the brands right on the platforms before you can expect the money to match the audience. We have shown in recent years that there is an appetite from the audience for multiple products under the one brand.”

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