Thursday, May 11, 2006

Magazine Execs Chart Plan To Challenge TV Online

Magazine Execs Chart Plan To Challenge TV Online
by Erik Sass, Thursday, May 11, 2006 6:00 AM EST
DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES AND broadband penetration will allow magazines to compete with established TV industry players on the Web, executives said at a conference Wednesday hosted by the Magazine Publishers of America and the Independent Magazine Group.

"From a business standpoint we hope to take dollars from television, not cannibalize print," said Steve Hedlund, president of the Ehlert Publishing Group, which produces multiple titles targeting "power sports" enthusiasts including aficionados of cars, motorcycles, boats, jetskis, and other recreational vehicles. "We'll try to capture what we do in print, but now with sound and movement--because our enthusiasts are all about the sound and movement."

Hedlund said that the Internet gives his company the means to achieve a longstanding goal--video programming. He said the company had tried to get into traditional TV programming in the past, but was held back by high production costs and "painful" negotiations.

"Ultimately the networks work against you," Hedlund said. "They start talking to your sponsors, and they always find a better deal just outside your own shows."

The move to broadband video is shaking up the world of text journalism too, other panelists said. Steve Waldman, CEO, founder, and editor in chief of, which began as a text-only online publication--said that one of the company's most recent new employees came from HBO, compared to earlier, when the first 10 staffers came from magazines and newspapers.

Waldman added that video ads command far more than text-based ads. "We're getting about $25 per CPM for video, and $3 per CPM, so that tells you where advertisers are now heading, and what direction we're going to be scurrying as we go forward."

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