In circ: So happy together?

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Bonnier's Popular Science magazine and Discovery's Science Channel have teamed up to create a new TV series: “Popular Science: The future of.” The interesting thing about this partnership is that the sales and marketing teams from both brands will be working together on integrated plans — and sharing revenue on integrated ad packages.

This looks like "the future of" magazines, and I'm 98% behind it.  

The idea is clever from a marketing and ad sales standpoint, in that it spreads the brands across multiple channels. How many single-channel media brands do you see raking in the ad dollars right now? How many single-channels brands do you see winning massive audiences day after day? Media (and consumers' attention spans) are so fragmented these days, it's essential to be anywhere and everywhere that someone might look. Magazines need to have another leg to stand on, which is why many have their own Web sites.

So what's with that nagging 2%?

I guess I'm confused about the responsibility factor in deals like this. With demand for accountability in sales and marketing higher than ever, mixing everything together seems a little risky for the individual brands. Even when you're sharing profits, you should be able to trace advertising successes back to something specific, especially when you have two established brands with pre-existing consumer bases.

When the partnership ends (presumably after 10 episodes), media buyers will ask, was the print ad mostly responsible for driving people to an advertiser's Web site? If so, does that mean that existing PopSci readers are good prospects for that product? Once the series is over, should advertisers stick with the magazine, the TV network, or insist on finding a new TV/print pairing?

I'm sure they have analytics geniuses working away somewhere to get this all straightened out, but until deals like this become the norm (and that day is coming), I'll keep my healthy skepticism about the print/TV ad divide.


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