Magazines launched 57 new digital initiatives in the first quarter of 2007, according to the Magazine Publishers of America, which released the results of the new survey on Thursday. The digital forays involved a variety of formats, including podcasts, new online video features, user-generated content, social networks, Web site redesigns and content for mobile phones.
Among the new initiatives are online audio versions of AARP the Magazine and its Spanish-language companion Segunda Juventud for the blind; podcasts, online episodes and multimedia from American Express Publishing; daily email alerts and Web site redesigns from Crain's; social-networking, video and blogs from Dwell, an online competition, mobile competition and WiFi directory from Forbes, virtual test drives at Hachette Filipacchi publications, and a custom mobile restaurant directory from New York. The full list of initiatives is available at the MPA Web site.
One of the biggest new areas of interest is online video, with major new programs recently announced by Time Inc., Meredith, Hearst, Rodale and Conde Nast. Among them: CosmoGirl and Popular Mechanics, both published by Hearst Magazines, will be creating digital content, including video, in partnership with Fox Television Studios. Rodale Partners has already announced that it is partnering with Brightcove to create Internet video channels for its magazine titles. It plans to bring high-quality video content to the Web site of flagship Men's Health first, followed by other media properties. And Time Inc. recently created an in-house video production studio for its 130 magazine titles.
Active Interest Buys Backpacker
Active Interest Media announced Friday that it has acquired Backpacker, a special-interest outdoors title. The magazine, with a circulation rate base of 340,000, was founded in 1973 and has become the leading title in its category. AIM boss Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III remarked: "Backpacker is an excellent magazine with outstanding future growth potential, and represents the best kind of properties we seek to acquire ... the leading multi-platform brand for the outdoor enthusiast." Active Interest Media purchased Backpacker from Rodale. Jonathan Dorn, Backpacker's editor in chief, will stay with the magazine as a member of AIM.
Wired NextFest in LA
Los Angeles will host Wired magazine's fourth annual "NextFest." The event, scheduled for Sept.13-16, has previously drawn more than 100,000 attendees altogether at events in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Attendees and presenters include inventors and researchers from around the world, mixing with science enthusiasts young and old. The event will take place in the Los Angeles Convention Center, a 150,000-foot venue. Featured topics include communication, design, entertainment, energy, the environment, exploration, medicine and health, robotics, security and transportation.
Roy Johnson Named EIC of Men's Fitness
Roy S. Johnson will replace Neal Boulton as vice president and editor in chief of Men's Fitness, owner American Media announced earlier this week. Previously, Johnson worked at Time Inc., where he was editor in chief of Savoy magazine, assistant managing editor at Sports Illustrated and editor at large for Fortune. He also makes frequent TV appearances, including co-hosting NBA TV's "Gamenight, and as a sports business source for CNBC.
Departures Names Jill Rudnick Marketing Vice President
Jill Rudnick has been named vice president of marketing for Departures. Before joining the travel pub, Rudnick was vice president of marketing for LTB media and executive creative services director for House & Garden. She has worked at Departures before, as marketing and promotions manager from 1993-1995.
American Heritage Suspends Publication After 50 Years
Fifty-year-old American Heritage, the magazine of American history buffs, is suspending publication. For now, the Forbes-owned pub will continue to maintain its Web site. At inception, it was printed in original hardcover format. The present circulation is 350,000.