Call it the new European Invasion if you will. As Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni reports, the British legacy brand The Spectator is once again available in the U.S. This has been followed closely by an Italian classic coming to our shores, La Cucina Italiana.
“Condé Nast Italia acquired the brand in 2013 and since has seen tremendous growth;” Husni writes in his interview with Editor in Chief Maddalena Fossati and Business Director Allessandro Belloni. “September 2019 saw the first La Cucina Italiana website for the American market and the new quarterly print magazine was previewed recently at Eataly Flatiron in New York.”
As Husni explains, the classic Italian title boasts “Italy’s first and only food and wine magazine with a kitchen in its editorial office. So, you know authenticity and tradition mean something to this brand. But so does health and well-being, hence the Italian recipes you’ll find in this new magazine have been modernized with more natural and health-conscious ingredients.”
It’s an interesting parallel to their approach to publishing. Authenticity and tradition ooze from the content and we know print publications that stay true to their brand and their mission are thriving. Meanwhile, their business model has been modernized to take advantage of the global reach of the web and the trends toward higher quality print publications.
Husni asked Fossati and Belloni why they were expanding their print magazine into the U.S.
“Basically, we’re crazy Italian people, you know?” Fossati jokes. “But the real reason is that we still believe in print. Of course, not just print because the brand in Italy is a strong magazine because it has existed for 90 years.”
While they have a massive 5 million strong online audience for their website, Fossati feels on online experience is not enough for their U.S. audience.
“We think that print is still something that readers need” she notes. “Of course, we tried to do more of a coffee table type magazine, it’s quarterly and this is because just the website is not assertive enough, I don’t think.”
For Belloni, the move makes good sense from a business point of view.
“La Cucina Italiana is so well established now in Italy, we have a business model that is 50 percent advertising driven and 50 percent consumer sales driven,” he explains. “This gives us a good balance when it comes to Italian business. On the other hand, we also sell our magazine through a subscription model. And then we have the school where the students are paying a tuition fee for the lessons. I think this is really one of the foundational elements of the brand that we will want to bring to the U.S.”
Overall, the prospects look good. With food being one of the fastest-growing magazine niches, and Italian food reinventing itself with a more health-conscious mentality, the magazine should find a willing audience.
“So, knowing that more Americans are having the new Italian food that we are doing in Italy, food that is less fat and has more happiness for the body, I think it would be a good target because it would be nice to know that more people are in good shape,” Fossati notes. “We did a manifesto in Italy about the new happy Italian cuisine that had great success, because the idea was to modernize all the traditional recipes.”
Italian happy cuisine in a beautiful print magazine? I’ll say sì to that combination. Pass the menu, please!