Dr. Oz readies for his newsstand debut

Dr. Oz. (AP Photo/Harpo Inc.)
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Nicole Levy

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When Dr. Oz The Good Life, Hearst's new women’s lifestyle publication, lands on newsstands next month, it will come with many traits familiar to regular viewers of “The Dr. Oz Show.”

The magazine offers diet, health and fitness tips from the heart surgeon turned health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz, as well as wellness-minded approaches to finance. Its house style doesn’t shy away from the clinical now and then, defining terms like the "stratum corneum" (the moisture-protecting shield of your skin’s top layer), and quoting scientists and physicians across disciplines.

“We didn’t want to baby women,” Oz told Capital last Thursday while previewing the magazine at Hearst's Manhattan headquarters. “We’re not treating women like they’re dainty creatures, … [like] they’re going to break if we tell them what’s really going on.”

Hearst will place 375,000 copies on newsstands at a cover price of $3.99 and send 425,000 more to the subscribers of a few other Hearst titles, as well as those who have signed up for a free trial issue online.

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Arriving on newsstands Feb. 4, its founding editor and cover boy hopes to follow the lead of his media mentor. Oz first rose to fame in his guest appearances on Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show. In 2009, he parlayed his notoriety into his own highly rated show, and now, echoing Winfrey again, he's launching a printed complement with Hearst.

The magazine’s publisher, Kristine Welker, said she’s seen advertisers express enthusiasm for its mix of lifestyle content. Beauty is the largest advertising category in the first issue, which counts 148 pages in total, followed by health and wellness, then food, retail, finance, automotive and home. 

Oz is known for explaining medical issues in relatable terms, and the magazine strives to make topics like the latest research on bacteria in the human gut comprehensible.  

“It’s a lot of information, but very colorful and broken up to make it really accessible,” editor in chief editor Alison Brower said of the article on that particular topic.

The magazine makes an appeal to readers’ pre-established connection with its founder. His image peppers its pages, along with his confessional comments on everything from his favorite super food—white mulberries—to his email “foreplay” with wife, and editor at large, Lisa Oz.

Future issues are bound to recommend the alternative medicine that Oz likes to promote on his show.

“I won’t be hesitant to make suggestions that aren’t yet proven by medicine just because certain areas haven’t been fully explored by science,” he writes in the inaugural editor's letter. (Members of the greater scientific community have a times criticized Oz for relying on questionable data, among other assessments.)

Oz is, however, hesitant about one signature Winfrey branding strategy.

“I don’t have to be on the cover," he said. "It’s not an ego issue for me. If it helps the magazine, if it serves the reader, I’ll do it. If it doesn’t, I’ll get off.”

The first few issues will definitely feature Oz because, Brower said, “his presence on a cover bumps up the sale on a brand 30 or 40 percent sometimes.”

There is one area in which Hearst hopes that the Oz offering will stand out from its famous predecessor, at least lately. O, The Oprah Magazine has struggled following the end of the Winfrey's daytime show. In 2013, O’s ad pages fell fourteen percent, declining for a third year in a row, Publishers Information Bureau data shows. The magazine’s single copy sales dropped 17 percent in the first six months of 2013, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.