Editor-in-chief of delicious. magazine Kerrie McCallum this month helps the title celebrate its 15th anniversary
After leading the title for the past two years, editor-in-chief of delicious. magazine Kerrie McCallum this month helps the title celebrate its 15th anniversary.
Shortly after McCallum joined the title, NewsLifeMedia, who previously published the magazine under licence, bought delicious. magazine from the ABC. McCallum however had been in the NewsLifeMedia stable already as the launch editor of Sunday Style after she moved across from InStyle magazine.
“As delicious. magazine has expanded, it has been hard to continue to work on a weekly magazine,” McCallum told Mediaweek. “delicious. now has a much bigger online presence, a social media offering and a growing book business.”
“While there have been some magazines facing revenue challenges, the premium food magazine sector is not declining”
Sunday Style was recently closed with a new magazine, Stellar, edited by Sarah Le Marquand, taking over.
As to changes at one of Australia’s most successful food magazines since she first arrived, McCallum said: “Some things have remained very much the same. Some things are different because market has evolved very dramatically as has the food lifestyle culture.
“The things that remain the same are many of our contributors like Matt Preston, Matt Moran and Valli Little. The ethos also remains the same – impressive yet effortless food and entertaining.
“We also continue to run the delicious. Produce Awards, which are a celebration of seasonality and eating local. We also continue to champion celebrity chefs and up-and-coming talent.
“What has changed dramatically is our growth – we have gone from being the leading premium food magazine to the leading premium food lifestyle platform. By launching a website not quite 12 months ago, we have tripled our social following and we are about to launch our first hardcover book.
“We have also launched a weekly delicious. on Sunday section within the new Stellar magazine.”
Part of the success of delicious. is no doubt linked to its affordable cover price. At $7.50 it is considerably cheaper than other titles in the food category and also the upper end of the prestige lifestyle category. “We have internal discussions about the price and we have been able to hold. $7.50 for a premium title is excellent value.”
Another key to the title’s success is to make sure it keeps a national footprint, not to just focus on Sydney or Melbourne food culture. “One thing we do to continually involve other states is our reader events. delicious. wants to grow our experiential side of the business. Our reader events always sell out and often before the magazine goes on sale.” McCallum used an example of subscribers (who get the magazine first) buying all the tickets for a $250 dinner with Shannon Bennett at Vue de monde before the magazine is available at retail. “It is very important not all our events are in Sydney and the readers will constantly remind us of that too.”
Helping confirm that Melbourne is the food capital of Australia, McCallum noted the delicious. brand has a bigger Facebook following in Melbourne than anywhere else. “Melbourne is a very important market for us and half of our contributors come from Melbourne. We also have editorial panels in every state and they send back information about restaurants, produce and trends to us.”
Although restaurants have their recipes featured in the pages of delicious., there is no fear for them when it comes to revealing secret ingredients. “We make the recipes applicable for the home cook. We only work with chefs who allow us to do that. No one is ever going to go to all the detail involved in a restaurant meal. We make it easier for the reader. We might occasionally run a very long and detailed restaurant recipe online, for example a Peter Gilmore MasterChef recipe, but very few people will try to cook that. People would stop reading the magazine if we printed those long recipes. We have to be impressive, but at the same time it has to be effortless.”
Food magazine sector
“The market is booming,” said McCallum. “While there have been some magazines facing revenue challenges, the premium food magazine sector is not declining. Food lifestyle is very stable if not in growth. Part of that is having a healthy digital brand too.
“Australians have never been more fascinated with food lifestyle.”
McCallum mentioned the continued good ratings for MasterChef and also My Kitchen Rules.
As to growing the delicious. digital footprint yet keeping the magazine the brand champion, McCallum said it was something they thought long and hard about.
“We didn’t want to cannibalise the magazine audience. When we launched our website back in November 2015 there was a lot of rigour applied and questions asked about what were our verticals and what sort of audience did we want to attract.
“There is only a 3% duplication between the magazine audience and the website. We wanted to attract a youthful audience and also to skew more male. This month we see that 28% of our online audience is male. The monthly magazine is predominantly female.
“In the magazine we are able to do different things to what we can do online. The magazine is a beautiful, premium and luxurious experience predominantly for people who want to entertain well.
“The website services different needs.”
McCallum said the website can obviously be more topical, quirky, with people searching for exciting new recipes. She revealed a delicious gin and tonic tart was their most popular Facebook post and online recipe ever.
“That information we then adapted for the magazine when we did a gin and tonic tart take two for our May cover earlier this year.”
McCallum said that each delicious. platform relies on the other now, with one needing the other to survive successfully.