COLVIN: THE MAXIM EXPERIENCE
Byline: Holly Haber
DALLAS — The British magazine model is better than the American one.
At least according to Stephen Colvin, president of Dennis Publishing USA, which owns Maxim and Stuff. Colvin expressed his view at a magazine conference here Tuesday in a presentation entitled, “Brands+as Magazines+as Movers of Product.”
In the U.K., 50 percent of magazine revenue is generated from circulation, with the remainder from advertising, said Colvin. “As a result, the reader is taken very seriously. A magazine cannot survive if it does not sell on the newsstand.”
The figures are drastically different in the U.S., he continued, with 80 percent of revenue coming from advertising and 20 percent from circulation. “[In the U.S.] what’s really important is making sure the advertisers are happy — not the readers,” he pointed out. “Our perception is if there were a more balanced percentage, it would be healthier for magazine publishing in America — period.”
Colvin also implied that British corporate hierarchy, with both editor and publisher reporting to a general manager, was superior to the American model in which they function more separately. “[In the U.K.] they all work together toward a common goal and communication tends to be very, very clear,” he asserted.
Colvin’s case is backed by the numbers. Maxim, the men’s mag for the 18- to 30-year-old set that touts sex, beer and sports among its focal points, has a circulation of 2.5 million in the U.S. alone (No. 1 in the category) and is distributed in 11 countries. Launched in 1995 in Britain, Maxim landed in the U.S. five years ago. Last year, Maxim carried 1,200 pages of advertising, second to GQ, with 1,784 ad pages.
Maxim has joined forces with Hollywood studios in the premieres of “The X-Men” and “Planet of the Apes” and the forthcoming, “Austin Powers.” Further, a Maxim Lounge at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas serves as a celebrity hangout after special events.
The Maxim brand is moving into other media as well, including music CDs, radio and a forthcoming TV project, Colvin pointed out.
“If you have a successful magazine brand, it can also be used to launch other product,” he asserted.