Commentary

'Outside' Goes Digital Out-of-Home

Last week brought another example of a print brand expanding into digital out-of-home video: Outside magazine, published by Mariah Media Inc., is partnering with the Resort Sports Network to create a new DO network reaching guests at resort destinations around the country. The Outside Television Network is effectively taking over RSN, which will be completely rebranded.

Set to debut June 1, 2010, the new network will deliver custom content drawing on the editorial expertise of Outside magazine to TVs in guest rooms and public areas. The new editorial content will include video versions of Outside 's most popular content, including special reports on subjects like Best Towns, Best Jobs, Trips of the Year, Best Gear, Outside Buyer's Guide, and lifestyle advice on health, fitness, and nutrition; Outside will also produce feature stories on topics that lend themselves to the video medium.

Currently the RSN network covers 110 resort destinations, reaching a total 61 million viewers per year, and is the top-rated channel in its market, according to Nielsen figures cited by Outside, and RSN CEO Mark A. Burchill held out the possibility of expanded distribution under the Outside brand. Unsurprisingly, RSN boasts desirable viewer demographics, as resort-goers tend to be more affluent and more prone to spend than the general population.

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In addition to bringing the Outside brand and editorial content to RSN, the partnership also allows both partners to offer advertisers integrated programs combining the DO network presence with print and digital channels, including both Web and mobile offerings. Options include multiplatform advertising, sponsorship, and promotion packages.

A number of big consumer magazines have struck deals to raise their profiles through partnerships with digital out-of-home networks. In 2008 Condé Nast's Bon Appetit partnered with Premier Retail Networks to distribute special, custom-made content via PRN's Checkout TV, which operates about 19,000 screens at supermarket checkouts, with partners including Pathmark, Albertson's, and Wal-Mart. The short-form, custom content includes cooking tips, party ideas, and tie-ins with "The Next Food Network Star"; Bon Appetit also has a strategic partnership with the Food Network.

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