Cross-media odd couple

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A TV network and magazine that operate independently have joined forces to offer content about female and family safety across both mediums and jointly sell the ad space.

Court TV, partly owned by AOL Time Warner and Liberty Media, and Meredith Corp.'s Ladies' Home Journal will offer the TV and magazine content. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC News will co-produce the TV portion hosted by an undetermined ABC News personality, but the content, called "The Safety Challenge," will not run on the broadcast network.

It's a move that allows two smaller players in the media landscape to function in the multiplatform ad rush, and expands upon a program introduced last year.

"We can go into the marketplace and provide what everybody asks for these days: a 360-degree integrated marketing plan," said Daniel Lagani, VP-publisher at Ladies' Home Journal.

Ad costs of the program and whether any advertisers have signed on yet were unclear. Spokeswomen for both LHJ and Court TV said last week that executives were out and they could not provide comment. The LHJ Web site shows that a full-color full-page ad in the magazine in 2002 will cost $175,500, but that may differ for this program. The Court TV spokeswoman said the network does not provide a rate card.

`SAFETY CHALLENGE'

The "Safety Challenge" will include magazine content in the May and September issues of Ladies' Home Journal and programming on Court TV in April and August, plus some content on each property's Web site.

Executives at both media outlets feel they're poised to capitalize on consumer interest in the topic of safety in a world still shaken by the events of Sept. 11.

"Safety has climbed up to where it's one of the most important issues on the minds of the public in general and women specifically," said Tom Olson, senior VP-ad sales, Court TV, in an earlier interview. "The environment that the programming is running in is different than last year and obviously that works to our benefit."Mr. Olson added that the ad climate has changed-though more gradually-as the economy has soured, forcing Court TV and Ladies' Home Journal to find ways to compete.

"A year ago, two years ago we were sitting fat and happy and now clients are being much more careful," he said. "They're looking for much more value since their budgets are not increasing greatly. One way to do that is to take TV and magazines and their different strengths and bring them together."

Ladies' Home Journal has a circulation of 4.1 million, while Court TV has a distribution of more than 66 million homes.

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