By: Tony Case and Lisa Granatstein
react Dissolves, Saturday Review To Reappear
(Mediaweek) As one Sunday newspaper magazine prepares to publish its last
edition in June, another one is gaining ground. And Bob Guccione Sr. hopes to
enter the market with a revival of the Saturday Review.
Advance Publications’ Parade magazine said it will fold its youth-targeted react
newspaper supplement on June 5, despite reaching an estimated 4.4 million teen
boys and girls every week. Launched in 1995 in about 60 dailies, react expanded
to 225 papers but failed to compete for ad business against such big consumer
books as Seventeen and YM and emerging titles such as Teen People. In 1998,
react scaled back from 51 to 39 issues a year due to summer distribution
‘We got a penetration that was reasonable, but at the end of the year, there
were not enough [ad] pages to support the business. It was really an
unsupportable business model, quite honestly,’ said John J. Beni, president of
Parade Publications. Beni explained that the bulk of teen-magazine advertising
comes from beauty/fashion, and as react aims for a dual-gender audience, ‘that
was not a category that fit well in our positioning and execution.’ Beni said
react’s 40 staffers will be let go.
‘It never seemed to provide that much relevance to teenagers,’ said Dan Binder,
vp/director of magazine investment at Starcom Media in Chicago, whose client
Nintendo was a react advertiser. ‘It was being distributed in a vehicle that
wasn’t a great place to find teenagers, newspapers,’ he said.
‘Parade is a huge reader draw, but we really didn’t feel that react provided the
same kind of cost benefit for a paper our size,’ said Denver Rocky Mountain News
Vice President/marketing Linda Sease. The Rocky Mountain News, like other
dailies, distributed react only to selected subscribers.
While react falters, another newspaper magazine is catching fire. Access
Internet, which started in late 1998 as a monthly in 15 Sunday papers, has
expanded to weekly and is carried by 70 papers with a combined circulation of
7.7 million. Advertisers include Microsoft, Lycos, and AT&T WorldNet. Published
by privately held Access Media and distributed in the New York Post, Boston
Herald, The Miami Herald, and others, the magazine sports Web site and product
reviews, how-to columns, and feature stories.
Senior Vice President/Editor Stephanie Chang, a former editor at react, said
Access Internet was designed to complement newspapers’ increasing coverage of
the Internet and technology. ‘We consider ourselves a technology publication,
but we’re also a lifestyles publication, because the Internet is part of
everyday life,’ she said. ‘We want to humanize the Internet, to tell stories
readers can relate to.’
A new player on the market may come from Penthouse founder Bob Guccione Sr., who
said last week he plans to revive the legendary Saturday Review as a newspaper
supplement. Guccione’s General Media acquired the 67-year-old literary journal’s
name a year after it stopped publishing in 1986.
A prototype will be sent to prospective newspaper publishers across the country
in early May, after which publishers will be visited by General Media sales
reps. One part of negotiations is deciding when the magazine will be carried in
newspapers. Ads will be both national and regional, but editorial will be
predominantly national in scope.
Guccione, who has long hoped to revive SR, said he hopes to reach 6-8 million
circulation. Guccione declined to say which newspapers will be contacted. Like
the 1.7 million-circ New York Times Magazine, Saturday Review will maintain
‘that level of story, with top writers,’ he said. ‘It will be a very cultured
Lisa Granatstein is a senior editor and Tony Case is a contributing writer at
(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher