Mag Rack: Time Inc. Floats 'TGIF' Plan

Thank God They Both Publish On Friday

Time Inc. has begun pitching advertisers on an innovative new weekend magazine reach package that combines just resurected Life with People magazine, Mag Rack has learned. Both titles have a Friday newsstand date and the combination of People's mega circulation with Life's initial rate base of 12 million will deliver the kind of reach that can compete effectively with the weekend traffic-building of top network TV series.

It was unclear how Time Inc. is pricing the package, but whether it's a premium--or better yet, a discount over the individual title buys--it's likely to be attractive to buyers hawking weekend-shopping fare such as movies, DVDs, or just about anything retail.

There is no official relationship between the titles at this point. "I could see how that could work," said Life's new publisher Peter Bauer. "There is nothing formal in [the] works right now. We have not had any conversations like that." Then again, Bauer is the former president of People.

National Geographic Keeps On Truckin'

This fall, National Geographic, the historic, distinguished title known for its amazing photography, is embarking on a decidedly less-than-highbrow sales endeavor: taking a truck on the road for some grassroots event marketing.

The magazine will launch "The National Geographic Celebrate Photography Tour 2004," during which a custom-made, 18-wheel truck will travel to six cities from Sept. 24 to Oct. 31, parking outside brand-new Circuit City outlets in Greensboro, N.C., Richmond, Va., Landover, Md., Atlantic City, N.J., Commack, N.Y., and Boston.

The tour is intended to exploit the magazine's reputation for photographic excellence. The truck will contain educational and experiential photography displays (both digital and 35 mm), and will be outfitted with a plethora of high-end visual electronic equipment, including a digital photography center, a plasma TV entertainment center, and photographer's workshops.

Advertisers of the tour will receive exposure in a variety of ways, including in-store promotional kiosks in all Circuit City outlets nationwide, as well as promotion within a photo sweepstakes running in Circuit City's national circular.

In addition, an eight-page digital photography magazine supplement will run in National Geographic magazine in September, along with a "Celebrate Photography" Web site.

So far, Energizer has signed on to promote its camera battery technology in an interactive kiosk, and ScanDisk will push its flash memory cards. National Geographicis still looking for more category sponsors.

Partnering with a retailer is not something that the 114-year old title has done before. Claudia Malley, associate publisher, indicated that there may have been some hesitancy in the past to participate in such a commercial venture.

"We have really worked to re-energize National Geographic in the marketplace," she said. "We were very focused on National Geographic itself in the past. Now we are saying, what can we do for you, the consumer?"

What they can do for consumers is offer the rare opportunity to rap with some of the world's most renowned photography professionals on tricks of the trade--something that holds tremendous appeal for many amateur enthusiasts. "We said, 'How do we take photography from the pages of the magazine and let consumers touch and feel the process?'" said Malley.

It's this photography heritage that resonates with readers more than anything else. "Photography is core to National Geographic," Malley said.

Mags, Papers Could Save A Few Trees

The International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) and the European Federation of Magazine Publishers (FAEP) have been passing around copies of a handbook entitled Magazines and the Environment. The handbook does not discuss the tough magazine economy or the importance of editorial surroundings, but rather provides publishers information on key issues regarding magazines' effect on the environment itself--i.e., the earth, the forest, the trees.

The handbook, which is definitely not beach reading, discusses the need for the magazine community to "recognize collective responsibility" with regard to the industry's effect on the environment. Topics discussed include:

* What is the relationship between magazines and recycling? * What is a sustainably managed forest? * What are concerns about solvents used in litho (offset) printing?

Maxim TV?

Dennis Publishing announced this week that it is getting into the production business with the launch of Moving Pictures DPI, the company's new television, DVD, and entertainment division.

The move appears to be a smart play for the publisher of Maxim, Stuff, and Blender, extending its business beyond the somewhat-shaky publishing world while operating from a position of strength.

"It's exciting to see a publisher have a great strategy for entering the entertainment market," says Peter Jaysen, the division's new head. "Dennis Publishing knows who their readers are and what they want."

Might that include a Maxim TV network? "We may explore it," he said. "It has been discussed in the past. But we don't want to limit ourselves. There are so many different ways to package entertainment these days."

Indie Mags Weigh Publishing Models

The inaugural Magazine Leadership Forum for Independent Publishers took place June 21-23 at Northwestern University, hosted by Magazine Publishers of America's Independent Magazine Advisory Group (MPA-IMAG). The forum focused on the structural and business development concerns of independent publishers.

Sundance Film Festival Director Geoffrey Gilmore delivered the keynote address, drawing comparisons between independent magazines and independent filmmaking.