[This story has been updated.]
Quebec’s shelter magazine community will be getting a new neighbour in February, when House & Home Media introduces its French-language counterpart to Canadian House & Home, Maison & Demeure. The new monthly will carry translated stories from the English-language H&H, as well as 16-20 pages (including a unique cover) of original French-language content in every issue. “We really want to be national,” says House & Home Media president Lynda Reeves. “And you really can’t be national in Canada if you don’t have a French edition. And it’s just a good opportunity for us to expand.”
The circulation plan has the company targeting a paid circ around 27,000 in 2009, with the hope of doubling that number by 2010. About 50,000 copies of the premiere will be printed. Subscription sales will begin in October through the soon-to-be-launched Maison & Demeure website. The H&H website will also have a link directing readers there.
Reeves says months of research went into the project and showed a strong demand from both readers and advertisers. “The ad sales community has been fabulous,” Reeves says. “Ad sales are so buoyant. I know [ad sales director] Kirby [Miller] has sold the outside back cover for the entire next year.”
To put the new book together, H&H Media is hiring a staff of six—a senior design editor, managing editor, art director, production manager and two salespeople—that will be split between Toronto and a new Montreal office.
While a number of successful shelter titles already exist in Quebec—Les idées de ma maison, Decoration Chez-Soi (both published by TVA Publications) and Décormag (Transcontinental Media) are all among the country’s top 50 revenue generators—Reeves argues that nothing in the French market the stands up to H&H in terms of production values, paper stock and photography. “It is perceived as a higher-end brand than the existing offerings,” Reeves says.
[UPDATE] Décormag publisher Francince Tremblay wasn't willing to say much about a magazine she hasn't seen, but did comment that Quebec is a much smaller market than English Canada. "Of course the stock of House & Home is great and of course the size is nice and all that. No one can argue against that. It's just the matter of a market also...You don't get the same type of revenue if you're selling 250,000 copies [H&H's national circulation] than if you're selling 60,000 copies. You don't have the same circ revenue and you don't have the same revenue per page as far as advertising—but it costs the same to create the book." [/UPDATE]
(Calls to TVA executives were not returned by deadline.)
H&H has a paid circulation around 14,000 in Quebec, according to an audited statement from November 2007. House & Home's TV show, meanwhile, has been running in French for several years. “There’s a real window for us because the House & Home brand has really gained quite a lot of popularity in Quebec," Reeves says.