Hachette Gets Mobile

Four Titles Launch Ad-Supported Websites for Cellphones

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- So you still don't want to read a New Republic feature on your cellphone -- but mobile technology isn't going anywhere but forward, so magazine publishers are still pushing ahead with efforts to make the most of it. Today's case in point: Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. is introducing free-for-consumers, ad-supported mobile websites for four magazines -- Elle, Car and Driver, Premiere and Shock -- as well as the digital brand formerly known as a magazine, ElleGirl.
'Elle,' 'Car and Driver' and 'Premiere' are three of the Hachette Filipacchi magazines that now have their own ad-supported mobile websites.
'Elle,' 'Car and Driver' and 'Premiere' are three of the Hachette Filipacchi magazines that now have their own ad-supported mobile websites.

New base
"This additional distribution platform not only deepens our relationship to our existent consumers but introduces our brands to an entirely new user base," Olivier Griot, managing director for Hachette mobile services, said in a statement. "In effect, we leverage the brand while exploring new content possibilities existing entirely because of rapid advances in digital technology and user ease." Mr. Griot is attending a CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment event in Los Angeles today and could not be immediately reached.

Hachette is hardly alone in working the mobile web; Time Inc.'s Time magazine operates mobile.time.com while Dennis Publishing's Maxim sells wallpaper, ringtones and games for cellphones.

Hearst Magazines, from which Mr. Griot was poached by Hachette in April, created a digital-media unit in March designed to enable consumers to find Hearst content wherever and whenever they want -- as the mantra goes. Its Cosmopolitan, CosmoGirl and Seventeen magazines offer things like screen savers, text messages and horoscopes for a monthly fee -- with more plans on the mobile front advancing.

Still figuring it out
The publishers' arms race here is sometimes halting, as consumers and content providers try to figure out what works best. An Advertising Age report today said the Yankee Group has found that nearly half of consumers from 18 to 35 years old would be interested in mobile advertising if those ads subsidized mobile content. The same article cited Ovum research predicting mobile advertising revenue to reach $150 million this year.

But an earlier Ad Age article warned that only 1% of the country's 210 million mobile-phone users said they choose carriers based on entertainment options -- suggesting that content just isn't a key factor in the cellphone market yet.

And the vicissitudes of print publishing, where the vast majority of ad revenue continues to go, continue to roil plans. When Mr. Griot joined Hachette last spring, he told Ad Age that the company's For Me magazine was one of titles best-suited for mobile applications. For Me was shut down last month for weak newsstand sales.
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