Lifetime turns a page

Net inspired magazine to hit stands April 22

At a time when magazines are closing down more than opening up, Lifetime Entertainment and Hearst are hoping that the cabler’s brand is strong enough to extend to the printed page.

Lifetime magazine, which hits the stands April 22, has the same feel-good sensibility as the Lifetime network. The women’s-interest cabler has been among the most-watched primetime cable nets for the last two years and can be seen in nearly 86 million homes. Net recently announced an investment of $800 million in programming for the next two years. Result will be 60% new shows, including reality TV.

Like the network, the mag showcases women who are happy yet still worry about issues ranging from the serious (breast cancer) to the frivolous (whether or not to iron jeans).

Lifetime’s brand extension effort includes Lifetime Movies, Lifetime Real Women and Lifetime Books.

The success of other TV-to-glossy moves bodes well for the new mag, most notably the success story of Oprah Winfrey’s “O.” Indeed, Lifetime may be taking the Oprah model — but with some conditions.

“Where Oprah is very much about leading a better life, sort of the path to further self-discovery, we are much more about life is good,” publisher Susan Plagemann said. “We’re not telling readers they should change, we’re championing the way they are.”

Advertisers already lined up include Liz Claiborne, Toyota and L’Oreal.

Yet, editor in chief Sally Koslow prefers to call up ESPN magazine, the spinoff of the sports cabler, as a precursor. In 2002 ad dollars for ESPN magazine were up 36% year-to-year to $168.8 million. Last month the mag’s ad revenue sky-rocketed up 74% to $20.2 million compared to March of last year.

With a rate base circulation of 500,000, Lifetime magazine will publish two bi-monthly issues then go monthly in September.

Some editorial content, such as the celeb-focused “Intimate Portrait” and the issue awareness-raising “Our Lifetime Commitment,” will be drawn directly from the cabler.

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