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In circ: 944 Media’s Marc Lotenberg

Six Degrees, a lifestyle magazine distributed in Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Las Vegas, got a new lease on life when 944 Media, another regional publisher, purchased it late last week. DMNews chats with Marc Lotenberg, CEO and founder of 944 Media, about acquisitions, automation and growth in a down market.

What made 6 Degrees appealing?

We were looking at the product for a while, and were talking about either replicating it or finding another way to stay in touch with the youth market. As 944 has grown, our demographics have grown, and we have kind of gotten away from that 21-year-old demographic in lots of ways. We didn’t want to lose touch with our roots in the youth market because they are trendsetters, so we decided to take 6 Degrees over rather than try to replicate it.  

The print market is weak right now — what made this a good business decision?

We believe a lot in automation and technology, and we’ve found a way to really bring a new direction to publishing where we don’t require as much investment as other magazines. We’ve automated pretty much every angle of the business. There are a lot of economies of scale with 6 Degrees, and we can focus our staff solely on revenue generation.

You’re “relaunching” 6 Degrees April 30 – what does that mean for the magazine?

We want to stick with the original; they have a great brand, great creative assets and a great demographic, so we don’t want to change the front line. We will be adding a lot of mobile and Web capabilities to their products. Our biggest thing to relaunch is the backend automation — giving clients a better return on investment, increasing the magazine’s distribution getting it more legitimate through auditing and compliance.

Who exactly is your target market for 6 Degrees?

The 6 degrees customer is the youth, trendy market. They’re early-20s to late-20s. They go out a lot, like to be in the know and like to go to all the cool events. They get dressed up and will bring their bank account down pretty low to buy that new outfit. Image and beauty come before even food.

Have you launched any campaigns to boost excitement for 6 Degrees?

We did some initial things on the Web site and have been sending blasts to our members. We’ve also done some mobile messaging. Our number one thing will be launching an event promotion company that produces the events for 6 Degrees and 944 and other clients. That should launch before this summer.

What is your distribution strategy for 6 Degrees?

It’s controlled circulation and is given out at all music stores and fashion places and local restaurants and events. We’re going to be adding 6 Degrees to markets that 944 is already in, starting in Scottsdale, AZ and Los Angeles. Each city has a circulation of 20,000, and Miami does 25,000. As we get greater control over back end we will start increasing circulation.  

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