Mag Tied to Network May Give Lifetime a Boost
Byline: SHIRLEY BRADY
Lifetime magazine is getting a bigger marketing push than the most successful TV-to-magazine effort to date, O: The Oprah Magazine.
The new magazine will launch April 22 with a rate base of 500,000 readers and distribution on 30,000 newsstand checkouts. That’s a bigger debut than O, which launched at 20,000 checkouts.
Hearst, a co-owner of Lifetime Entertainment Services with Disney, publishes both titles. Lifetime’s first issue will be unveiled today at an event in New York. Two double issues will be published before going monthly in September,
The pre-launch push also features the “largest direct mail drop Hearst has ever done, with about 3 million direct response pieces going out,” says Lifetime publisher Susan Plagemann. Cross-promotions in Hearst’s Good Housekeeping and Redbook are also planned, and e-mail blasts will be sent to users of iVillage.com, the largest online hub for women.
“This is pretty significant,” says Plagemann. “Hearst isn’t messing around.”
Lifetime Television is promoting the magazine through 60- and 90-second on-air promos.
Hearst and Lifetime are counting on the network’s name recognition – it’s in over 86 million TV households – to make the brand extension pay off.
If all goes as planned, the effort will rekindle ratings at a critical time for Lifetime. Ratings declined 25% among viewers 2-plus (to 1.8 million) and slipped 24% among viewers aged 25 to 54 (to 831,000) in the first quarter. To regain its two-year title as the top-rated cable network, Lifetime is spending an unprecedented $800 million over the next two years on programming to lure back those lost viewers.
With mostly original editorial content, the magazine will tie into three key network features: original movies, advocacy campaigns and Intimate Portraits, with a celebrity featured in both the TV biography series and in the magazine each month. The upcoming Intimate Portrait on launch issue cover girl Faith Hill, for instance, includes footage from the magazine’s photo shoot.
The partners walk a fine line between viewers’ loyalty to Lifetime TV and creating an independent, but related, identity for the magazine.
“Our goal is to make sure the magazine can stand on its own yet maintain the integrity of the brand,” says Rick Haskins, EVP of Lifetime Brand. “It will never be a TV guide for the channel.”
The premiere issue carries 104 ad pages. Big names on board for the launch include Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Chrysler, Toyota, MasterCard, General Motors, Prudential Securities and Procter & Gamble.
Roughly 20% of launch advertisers also buy time on Lifetime Television, although no cross-platform deals have yet been struck.
THE NEXT QUESTION:
*Will Cosmo TV, Hearst’s rumored cable network offshoot of Cosmopolitan magazine, further erode Lifetime’s ratings?
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