Movie USA Seeks 'Untapped' Movie Market; the Title Takes on a Field Littered with Failures

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Movie USA seeks 'untapped' movie market

Movie USA, a monthly film magazine that began regular publication in July, offers fresh competition for the popular monthly Premiere. But, as a free magazine distributed through more than 400 theaters nationwide, Movie USA faces a tough market littered with failures.

The new title's publisher, Surin Jung, was lured into the market by its sheer size--1.2 billion theater tickets were sold last year. Jung plans to reach a million of those moviegoers each month.

"We are going for the average moviegoer," says editor Janet Heidt. Whereas Premiere targets an educated and affluent audience, Movie USA focuses on the "untapped" market of general moviegoers. And because the magazine is free, moviegoers will be more receptive to taking it home for easy reading, Heidt claims.

With a print run of one million, the 36-page four-color July issue was distributed through five major movie chains covering 40 major metropolitan areas and 100 smaller cities. Theaters displayed the free magazine in lobbies on customized racks.

So far, a number of advertisers have embraced the project. Movie USA sold 16 ad pages in the July issue at a $19,750 one-time color rate.

Some agencies, however, question the high price. As a start-up venture, the ad rates seem expensive, says Michael Gross, vice president/associate media director at J. Walter Thompson. He points out that established magazines with a one million circulation, such as Self an Yankee, have nearly the same ad rate as Movie USA.

Heidt counters that the $19.75 cost per thousand falls well below Premiere's $31.67 per thousand. "We are having no problems selling space in our magazine," she says.

The history of such movie magazines, however, has not been positive. First came Movie Guide, introduced in July 1981 by Movie Guide Inc., Salt Lake City. The $1 monthly, featuring movie previews and articles about film production, sold primarily through theaters and had a rate base of 250,000. …