Mag Bag: Play by Play, Hallmark's Custom Title, Mass Appeal Turns 10

  • by February 17, 2006
Play by Play

Earlier this week, MediaPost magazine critic Larry Dobrow wrote a review of a magazine called Play, which covers the electronic gaming industry. I had never heard of the magazine, but its title definitely rang a bell. Why? Because just a couple of weeks ago the New York Times Co. launched a new, national sports magazine with the exact same name. The Times' Play was introduced on Super Bowl Sunday as an insert to The New York Times. The company said it will be distributed four times this year, with additional issues coming in June, August, and October. We called both the Times Co. and Fusion Publishing Inc., a West Coast outfit that publishes the other Play, but by press time no one had called back. We're not sure that one Player is even aware of the other. We'll try to revisit this one later. Stay tuned.

Hallmark to Launch Custom Title

In another example of a major marketer using a custom publication to reach its customer base, Hallmark says it is developing its own magazine for launch sometime later this year. The move follows test issues the company published over the past two years with help from Time Inc.'s custom unit. But for the formal launch, Hallmark is going it alone, a company spokeswoman said. The as-yet-unnamed magazine is expected to focus on topics including food, home, and relationships. Other details, including frequency and circulation, are up in the air, but the project is a definite go. Custom publishing seems to be getting hot. Just this week, Wachovia Wealth Management announced it is teaming with Pace Communications, a well-established custom publisher, to launch a new, high-end custom magazine to be distributed to 50,000 Wachovia clients and prospects (MediaDailyNews, Feb. 14). And last month, National Geographic announced a deal with custom publishing company the Magazine Group, to launch a new co-venture to create what they called "socially responsible" communications vehicles for clients (MediaDailyNews, Jan. 24). Hallmark's move into magazines comes only a short time after the company sold a division that produced television programming.



CMP Media Closes Two Titles

Last week we reported the demise of two titles from Frank Publishing, Travel Savvy and Business Traveler. Unfortunately, we have another double casualty to report this week. CMP Media is closing the doors on Secure Enterprise and IT Architect, both monthlies. That's the bad news. The good news is that the tech titles will each get a new life online. IT Architect's existing online presence will be expanded, and a new site is being created for Secure Enterprise. A spokeswoman said layoffs connected to the closures were "minimal" because most staffers would stay with the company to work on the online versions of each title. She also said the magazines were not being closed because of poor advertising, but because CMP wanted to "realign resources" to better serve readers and advertisers. "Increasingly, people are looking online," she said, and the company decided to act accordingly. Where have we heard that before? The other bad news this week came when Budget Living, a National Magazine Award winner, announced that it, too, would fold.

Mass Appeal Turns 10

It's a very happy 10th birthday to Adrian Moeller's Mass Appeal magazine, which the entrepreneur started with little more than a dream and a prayer in 1996. Today the bi-monthly boasts a circulation of 140,000, and ranks the likes of Ford Motor, PepsiCo, Reebok, VH1, and Toyota among its advertisers. Mass Appeal covers art, fashion, film, music, games, cars etc., and targets young, hip, urban men with an interest in hip-hop culture. To celebrate the anniversary, Moeller and his wife, Samantha, plan to launch a new title called Missbehave, which will serve as a sister title to Mass Appeal--catering to young, hip females, with a focus on urban fashion and lifestyle.

Portale to Join Fashion Site

Fashion magazine veteran Carl Portale, the one-time publishing boss over titles such as Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and Mirabella, is joining Glam Media, Inc. as the company's new vice president and publishing director. In his role, Portale will be responsible for overseeing all advertising, marketing and co-branding initiatives for, an interactive fashion and shopping Web site. Portale had been serving as an advisor to for the past six months, the company said. Since then, he has been involved in signing advertisers including Target, Gucci, and Nine West to the site. A formal announcement of Portale's new appointment is expected Tuesday.

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