Thursday, June 17, 2004

New Monetization Option for Publishers: A Natural or a Washout?

The New York Times (reg. req.) reports on a recent trend in consumer magazine publishing where publishers are issuing private label products that leverage their brand name with their readership. Maxim magazine was an early entrant in this space with hair dye for men, which purportedly appeals to the hip or wannabe-hip male audience they serve. The article reports that Maxim is considering extending into nightclubs and frozen foods that bear the Maxim label. Maxim isn't alone in leveraging its brand into product extensions. Nearly everyone is aware of Martha Stewart's Omnimedia and its home goods products sold at K-Mart. And, Prevention Magazine is introducing a line of vitamins in the fall.

Now, not only is the line between editorial and advertising getting blurred, the line between publications as an advertising platform and as the advertiser is merging as well. Although publishers have to be careful not to alienate their existing advertisers, it is easy to understand the appeal of private-label products from a financial point of view because of the additonal revenue and high margins. And, while it is unlikely that we'll see soon see business publications hawking hair dye, it is not unusual to find publishers leveraging their trusted reputation in a particular space to lend their names to conferences, executive training seminars, topical books, and the like. With e-commerce capabilities already in place on their Websites, who knows what sort of brand extensions we'll soon see from major online business publishers?

Post a Comment