Commentary

At NewFronts, Hearst Turns Another Page (And Some Cheeks, Too)

The effort to marry live events to online video got a new addition at NewFronts when Hearst Magazines Digital Media unveiled plans for a “Magic Mike Live” stage show in Las Vegas that will be supported by a Cosmopolitan-fronted video series.

That was one of the more fleshed-out projects floated at the Hearst NewFronts presentation Wednesday night. The presentation began with a dance routine featuring several hunky, bare-chested men giving way to a surprise appearance by “Magic Mike” star Channing Tatum, who said the Vegas idea is simply a matter of “asking women what they want and then giving it to them.” 

The male revue is set to debut next March, originating from the Hard Rock casino.

The 2012 “Magic Mike” film actually was credited with making some feminist points within the context of a film about male strippers, and in a Facebook Live post, Tatum amplified on that theme discussing the the stage show and Cosmo series centering on it, asking women for suggestions.  “It’s up to you, it’s up to you to help us create it,” he said. “It should be woman-empowering instead of about the guys going and getting naked.”

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Though, being that it’s Las Vegas teaming with Cosmo, so it’s fair to bet there will be some strong interest in guys getting (mostly) naked. Hearst connected the show to conventional onlinine series, articles, more Facebook Live appearances, Snapchat opportunities, Instagram applications, quizzes and even virtual reality projects. 

The rest of the evening included details of ambitious slate of programs introduced by Lee Sosin senior vice president, marketing solutions and branded content and video and Troy Young, HMDM president. The scope of the projects shows the impact video has had on the magazine business; indeed, some of the video packages have names that seem reminiscent of what were once magazine section features. 

Hearst Magazines Digital claims 170 million site visitors each month and 97 million social media followers across 21 brand Websites.

It touted those sites, and new video content, and at least one reconstituted one, Delish, that started, stalled and was relaunched with a more comical, personal and way more millennial touch.

Hearst also announced a video documentary from its Cosmo site, “Back On Two Feet,” about Kirstie Ennis,  a Afghanistan War Marine veteran who needed to have a leg amputated, and her extraordinary life journey afterward.

Also, the spotlight was on Cosmo's new "WhoHaHa," the provocatively titled digital spot for female comedians and humor fronted by actresss Elizabeth Banks, that actually debuted last month. In an introductory video, she mused, looking down at her torso,  “I took a good, hard look at my who-ha. It’s hilarious! Let’s brand it!” (Refinery 29 also announced a new female comedian digital channel, Riot, at its NewFronts presentation.)

Other new video ideas (and some already existing projects) showcased included Bazaar-fronted “Unbridaled,” which dresses brides in unconventional gowns; “Beautiful Nights,” a make-up series; “The Younger Games,” which delves into all the ways women try to make themselves look younger,” and from Esquire, the humorous “How To Be A Man with Frank Kobola" and  “Who’s That Guy” that delves into the style and substance of famous dudes in the form of a game show/talk show, hosted by Esquire’s new editor-in-chief, Jay Fielden.  

A couple other women-focused series, “All In” from Cosmo, and “My Turn” from Elle with star turns from Chelsea Handler, Margaret Cho and Wanda Sykes were touted.  

More seriously Esquire is partnering with Wieden + Kennedy to create “Manhood,” an unusual eight-part video series that intends to look at the changing perceptions of what makes a man a man in the confusing 21st Century . (Wieden + Kennedy is the agency behind Old Spice’s “Manhood” clever commercial campaign, by the way.)

pj@mediapost.com

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