Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Magazines Bid for Ears as Well as Eyes of Readers: Audio Cassettes Offer Potential Profit Center for Publishers

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

Magazines Bid for Ears as Well as Eyes of Readers: Audio Cassettes Offer Potential Profit Center for Publishers

Article excerpt

As sales of books on audio cassettes boom--it's now a nearly $1 billion industry--magazines are taking notice and, with joint venture partners, getting into the act. For years, magazines have produced ancillary tapes, generally of the how-to or special-feature variety. Now some titles are essentially reproducing the content of the magazine on tape.

Will it work? Three recent entries into the market are People Weekly, Newsweek and Buzz--and they're all going at it with a different mix of price, format and distribution. For People, it's an effort by a healthy, mature franchise to expand, says Jeremy Koch, People's consumer marketing director. In January, 100,000 copies of the first issue of a quarterly audio version of People were expected to hit outlets that sell the magazine. Each issue of the 60-minute tape, "People Plus: The Stories Behind the Stories," will spin off from an issue of People, adding interviews from stars or their contemporaries. It is being produced by Beverly Hills, California-based Dove Audio.

At $5.95, the price tag may seem steep compared to the $2.95 magazine, but it's not excessive, says Richard Hack, vice president of creative affairs at Dove Audio. "Our sales point normally is $10.95 for a book, which in paperback is about $5.95." There are no plans now to sell ads on the tapes, Koch says.

Newsweek, however, plans to keep costs for its tapes lower by selling advertising and using existing material, pricing a 10-week subscription to "Newsweek On Air"--scheduled at press time to be launched early this year--at $29. …

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