The World: Time Inc. launches test of 'SI' in China

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[beijing] Time Inc. has introduced a trial issue of Sports Illustrated in China to test the waters of an unclear publishing environment. The Chinese-language title features basketball star Yao Ming on the cover and costs $1.25.

The official launch of the twice-monthly magazine, slated for September or October, depends on whether Time Inc. and its local partner, SEEC Media Group, gain approval to publish the magazine from China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

The government agency has banned publication of foreign magazines except titles about science and technology. Until recently that rule was largely ignored by foreign publishers of lifestyle magazines that steered clear of political news and other sensitive topics.

But since Time Inc. announced in March its China plans for Sports Illustrated, the Chinese government has started cracking down on newcomers. In the most high-profile case, it temporarily stopped publication of a local-language edition of Rolling Stone from Hong Kong-based publisher One Media Group and Wenner Media in the U.S.

Time Inc. is betting that China will be hesitant to block a global sports title two years before hosting the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Time Inc. is also getting around legal obstacles by calling its relationship with SEEC, publisher of successful titles in China such as Caijing, Securities Market Weekly and PC Magazine's Chinese edition, a "content and branding cooperation rather than a copyright cooperation," according to a Sports Illustrated official in New York.

Like all foreign titles, the Chinese edition of Sports Illustrated is published through a license belonging to a local magazine: in this case, a defunct sports magazine published by China Sports Daily Publishing House called Tiyu Huabao. Even so, the sports magazine is being introduced with a trial issue and minimal fanfare, clearly an effort to appease GAPP officials.

-normandy madden

U.K. government uses YouTube as education tool

[london] The U.K. government has started posting videos on YouTube to communicate to young, tech-savvy Brits how the British government works. The video "Transformational Government" explains how new technology the government is investing in will transform public sectors such as health care, education and the courts. That video is somewhat lively, at least compared to the very dry "Sharing the Leadership Challenge," in which a minor official explains the consolidation of government departments.

The two videos, posted Aug. 8, aren't among the hottest on YouTube, with 1,072 hits for one and 650 for the other after two weeks. And the few comments posted aren't very positive. One viewer thought the technology the government is so proud of poses a potential "civil-liberty disaster" and commented on one scene in the video: "I love the way the cop grabs the innocent loiterer."

-laurel wentz

Nike taps Fallon to handle projects in Southeast Asia

[singapore] Publicis Groupe has picked up its first Nike business with the appointment of Fallon Worldwide, Singapore, to handle Nike's regional advertising, assigned on a project basis, in Southeast Asia.

The win covers regional brand and product campaigns running across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Nike will continue to work with other agencies for local initiatives, primarily promotions, events and through-the-line initiatives. Previously, Nike's regional advertising was developed by WPP Group's Singapore-based Ogilvy Red Card.

Fallon's relationship with Nike in Singapore started with a project last spring, for which Fallon produced a limited-edition series of collectible football cards that sold out, according to Fallon's Singapore-based Juanita Tom, general manager, Asia.

-normandy madden

Dentsu to deliver ads on podcasts in Japan

[tokyo] The latest big player to get into advertising on podcasts is Japan's biggest ad agency, Dentsu. It's starting a service in the country to deliver advertising in podcasts through dynamic insertion, making it easier to change the ads, which will be sold exclusively by Dentsu.

Dentsu will work with radio network TBS Radio & Communications' podcasting program lineup in September. The podcasting programs, which the agency claims rank highly among iTunes files downloaded in Japan, include "Bakus-yomondai's Car Boy," "Speedwagon's Caramel on the Beach" and "Untouchable's Chicago Mango."

-laurel wentz
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