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).
cover during last night's broadcast