SBD/February 15, 2011/Media

Sports Illustrated Projecting 41% Increase In Revenue For Swimsuit Issue

Sports Illustrated is "projecting a 41 percent increase in revenue this year from its iconic Swimsuit franchise, with the total boosted significantly by an array of new digital extensions," according to Eric Fisher of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Specific financial figures were not disclosed, but the print magazine, being released today, "will be joined by a return of an iPhone application that saw more than 1 million downloads last year, new iPad and Android applications, a new model selection show on DirecTV that was to debut last Friday, and a partnership with Sony to bring Swimsuit video in both 2-D and 3-D through the PlayStation Network and Sony's Qriocity video-on-demand service." Overall, SI "will gain 55 percent of its Swimsuit revenue from print advertising, 30 percent from digital content sales and advertising, and 15 percent from experiential and event marketing." Time Inc. Sports Group President Mark Ford: "Swimsuit in a lot of ways is the test pilot in pushing SI in new directions. There's also a case to be made that Swimsuit is truly the original multiplatform program in the publishing world. The digital opportunities are absolutely great, but being on TV is also a big, important step for us" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/14 issue). In Sacramento, Scott Lebar notes the Swimsuit Issue is SI's "biggest seller," as it "generates 7 percent of the magazine's annual revenue and now is a successful multimedia enterprise with video, social media, iPhone and Android apps, 3D video with Sony, and increased star wattage" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/15).

THE ORIGINAL: SI Group Editor Terry McDonell said the Swimsuit Issue has been "imitated a lot," and "that trend continues." McDonell: "Most of the imitations of it have sort of a leering quality that SI Swimsuit does not. It remains a celebration of athletic bodies and good health." When asked if he was referring to ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue, McDonell said, "Not necessarily. That's not exactly the same. I'm thinking about some of the laddie magazines and men's magazines that now do swimsuit issues. There's 13 international editions of SI Swimsuit. That makes this an event with great reach. Everywhere I've ever been since I have been at Sports Illustrated, I have been asked about Swimsuit" (USATODAY.com, 2/14).

CBS' "Late Show" unveils SI Swimsuit Issue
cover during last night's broadcast
AND THE COVER GOES TO...
: Irina Shayk was announced as the cover model of this year’s SI Swimsuit Issue during a presentation on CBS’ “Late Show” last night. A billboard presented by Nissan Juke with an image of Shayk’s cover on 53rd Street and Broadway was unveiled during the show. Prior to the cover model announcement, CBS' David Letterman said, "It's a big, big deal. The circulation of the magazine, they go from a couple million annually, and then when they have the swimsuit issue it jumps to a billion. ... That's just how important it is." Ten swimsuit models were waiting backstage for the unveiling of the billboard, and CBS’ David Letterman said, "I don't even want to do this because I don't want to disappoint anyone in that room. ... Oh, I can't do it. I just don't want to disappoint. I mean, all my life I've disappointed women. It's kind of my thing." Letterman later said, "I failed to announce that the other women who did not make the cover will lose their subscriptions to the magazine.” The models also read the Top Ten list on stage during the taping (“Late Show,” CBS, 2/14). Shayk appeared on NBC's "Today" show this morning to promote her cover appearance, while several other SI models were on CBS' "The Early Show" (THE DAILY).
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