NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- A new TV series from Popular Science magazine and The Science Channel is the latest to suggest the partnership model is evolving from swapping content to shared accountability for both editorial and ad sales.
The Bonnier monthly and the Discovery cable network will team up for "Popular Science: The Future of," a new 10-part series making its debut in June on Science Channel and Science Channel HD. Each hour-long episode will explore different future iterations of one given topic, like "The Future of Play," where video games become even more interactive and entire cities become engaged in an experiential game for thousands of people. Popular Science editors and researchers will work with Science Channel producers on the episodes.
But on the back-end, Popular Science and Science Channel will share all ad sales and marketing duties, with each company's sales teams joining forces and sharing revenues on convergent ad packages. Popular Science will combine a monthly circulation of 1.3 million and 6.6 million readers, with Science Channel, distributed in more than 56 million homes.
Deborah Adler Myers, senior VP-programming for Science Channel and Discovery Emerging Networks, said the two brands are building a platform with a seamless cross-platform approach for advertisers, readers and viewers. "We wanted to create a creative experience for advertisers that you can't get by buying any one package," she said. "We'll be posing questions on the show so that you have to go to the magazine to find the answer, then go to the web site, so that it really becomes a multiplatform experience."
Gregg Hano, publisher of PopSci Media Group, said the show fit with the strategic direction the magazine had been heading with its cross-platform media strategy. He said the integrated approach has been garnering "extremely good feedback" from the advertisers approached about the new platform, and expects to announce launch sponsors in the near future.
The deal is not without precedent within the Discovery family. Last fall, Time Inc.'s "Real Simple" partnered with TLC for "Real Simple. Real Life," a show that brought the shelter title to life on TV, with sponsors like Kraft, Saturn and S.C. Johnson attached for a package that included TV, print and online. The show itself, however, failed to catch on with TLC's home-happy audience, averaging a total 386,000 viewers in its first seven episodes.
Ms. Adler Myers has high hopes that "Popular Science: The Future of" will buck the recent trend. "This is a true partnership, with the goal in mind of knowing how to make for television the best entertainment experience to that consumer. If the consumer's not happy for this being brought to life, it will have been a great partnership with both brands making a rich piece of entertainment."
But Popular Science already has one successful content partnership with a cable network under its belt, Food Network's "Food Detectives", one of the network's most successful new prime-time shows and a frequent guest spot for Popular Science editors to appear as experts on culinary myth-busting.
Although the partnership was strictly editorial, Mr. Hano said the show has shown a quantifiable lift in Popular Science's brand visibility and an indication that future partnerships may have more weight with marketers. "I believe it's helped us both with the general consumer market as well as lifting the awareness in the advertising community, where so many of the planners and buyers are female and may not have had direct knowledge of the magazine," he said.