Maxim Magazine Plans Cable TV Network:

Announcement of sale, cable plans follows Esquire Network's launch strategy taking a 180

Maxim Magazine may be headed to television.

The men’s magazine has been sold to a media group led by Calvin Darden, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The Darden Media Group aims to launch a Maxim-branded TV channel along with an indie music label with the well-known publication name.

Darden said he already has a distribution agreement locked down with a pay-TV operator, with two more on deck, and that he hopes to distribute the Maxim TV network to 35 million households by the end of 2013.

News arrives the same week that Esquire Network, the cabler deriving from Hearst men’s magazine Esquire, recalibrated its launch strategy, opting to take over NBCUniversal’s Style Network instead of G4.

Maxim has felt the pressure of dwindling magazine sales like the rest of its competitors in the publication industry, recently cutting back its yearly output from 12 to 10 issues.

Moving into the television arena offers new financial prospects for the brand, as advertisers continually try to reach young male demos, often considered elusive in the TV spectrum.

Should Maxim launch a TV network this year, it would join an ecosystem populated by the forthcoming Esquire Network, Spike TV and the now-saved G4. While the crop of men’s nets compete for the same gender, the tone of each cabler could remain distinct — G4 catering to a tech-savvy, fanboy crowd, and Esquire to modern, upscale males.

Spike TV and Maxim, however, could face brand overlap, as both appeal to heterosexual men with frat-friendly content. Spike TV has noted in recent months, though, that it intends to broaden its demos to include women, as shows including “Ink Master” have drawn both male and female viewers to the net.

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