TV Guide cross-promotes to increase circulation, traffic

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TV Guide cross-promotes to increase circulation, traffic
TV Guide cross-promotes to increase circulation, traffic

TV Guide has launched aggressive cross-platform campaigns that are expected to bump sales of two issues of its magazine.

Both special issues — a double issue on TV's return post-writer's strike, and the annual “TV's Sexiest Star” issue — will be released this Spring. TV Guide Network and tvguide.com are ramping up correlating coverage in the days leading up to each issue's release.

“‘Sexy Stars' became a defining moment for us,” said J. Scott Crystal, president of TV Guide magazine. “It really resonated with consumers, and it got tremendous pick-up. It had stunning photography and gave TV Guide the ability to connect with people who thought of the magazine in a different way because it wasn't the typical cover or subject.”

The company has started a multiplatform franchise from its “TV's Sexiest Stars” coverage. Now in its second year, “Sexiest Stars” urges fans to vote on tvguide.com for the sexiest television stars, and the program is hyped with specials on TV Guide Network, online features and a branded event in Hollywood. The top twenty celebrities will be featured in the May 5 issue of TV Guide magazine, which hits newsstands under two “collectible” covers.

“The theme from a year ago, the ‘sexy issue,' was always meant to be a test to see if there was enough resonance to create a franchise, and newsstand sales were up on that issue compared to the average of four or five prior issues,” Crystal said.

 “Sexiest Stars” is receiving extra marketing boosts from online and TV advertising and a consumer sweepstakes. Viral marketing will also play a role in the program: an online application will allow users to upload their photos in custom TV Guide magazine covers, sporting the headline “TV's Sexiest Fan.”

Last year's “Sexiest Stars” promotion was more limited in its range of platforms, focusing heavily on magazine editorial.

In another bout of cross-platform promotion, TV Guide Network and tvguide.com are running special features to complement this week's issue of the magazine. The March 31 TV Guide magazine is a special double issue, highlighting programs returning to the air for the first time since the writer's strike.

In its annual earnings statement for 2007, TV Guide reported that consolidated revenues were up 10% to $627.7 million and that the magazine had performed above expectations.

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