SBD/Issue 96/Sports Media

ESPN Preps Redesign Of ESPN The Magazine, Accompanying Web Site

ESPN Redesigning Magazine
And ESPNTheMag.com
ESPN is prepping a major relaunch of ESPN The Magazine that will include a full-scale visual redesign of both the print magazine and the ESPNTheMag.com Web site; a deeper tie with ESPN.com's Insider service, which has included a subscription to the magazine; and a much stronger embrace of digital distribution methods. Exact launch dates for many of the initiatives have not yet been established, but some efforts such as multi-platform ad sales around the magazine brand have already begun. And company execs are aiming for a full-scale presentation of the magazine's new look and identity at this spring's advertising upfronts. The moves come after several months of unfounded industry rumors of a potential demise for the print version of the 11-year-old magazine. "This is about expansion, not contraction," ESPN Publishing GM & Editorial Dir Gary Hoenig said. "We are not abandoning the idea of a printed magazine. It remains a cornerstone of what we're doing. But what we're after is an evolution of the brand." The visual redesign in part will seek to give the magazine a stronger link with the existing graphic identity of ESPN's TV properties. Also a goal in the strategy is bringing the ESPN Insider subscriber base, roughly 350,000 people, closer to the print magazine's circulation base of about 2 million. The additional digital components will include several applications for mobile and an expansion of a previously announced linkup with Zinio for a digital version of the magazine.

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