Video Visa launches entertainment mag

In a move to expand its core business of video rentals and audio CD sales, Mexico City-based Video Visa in October tossed a black-tie gala to launch CinePremiere, a glossy entertainment newsmagazine.

The monthly, described as a cross between Entertainment Weekly and Premiere, is the first Mexican magazine to focus exclusively on showbiz.

The debut issue featured a cover story about Sharon Stone and Sylvester Stallone in “The Specialist.” The magazine also has published an interview with screenwriter John Milius about obtaining tanks for war pix “Apocalypse Now” and the now infamous “Red Dawn,” and recently printed an exclusive interview with Michael Crichton covering “Disclosure.” It also has profiled Hispanic filmmakers Edward James Olmos, Alfonso Arau and Robert Rodriguez.

Editor-in-chief Charles Oppenheim previously was editor-in-chief of Mexico’s leading finance publication, Expansion. Oppenheim also hosted the Television Azteca talkshow “Between Businessmen” and is a widely respected financial journalist.

Says Oppenheim, “We do like to get some hot gossip and colorful anecdotes but CinePremiere really focuses on the crazy business of Hollywood filmmaking.”

Oppenheim says the mag was able to cover the Sundance Film Festival in January because Robert Redford wanted to increase Latin American awareness of the fest “and he was told to invite CinePremiere, which he did.”

CinePremiere’s publishing coordinator, Eduardo de la Vega, says he hopes the magazine will become the primary source of entertainment news for Latin America. He said plans call for distribution of CinePremiere in Spanish-speaking communities in the United States by early summer.

De la Vega is bullish on the magazine despite Mexico’s present economic woes. “The Spanish-speaking market in the states is rapidly growing. Corporations like Time Warner and Wertheim Schroder have invested in El Diaro/La Prensa (the Spanish-language daily) in New York City because they see the opportunities in the Hispanic market,” he notes.

CinePremiere has a circulation of approximately 125,000 in Mexico and is distributed through Video-Visa’s 1,600 retail video stores and on newsstands. The company also plans to expand CinePremiere’s distribution to other Latin American countries.

VideoVisa, purchased by Eduardo Legorreta from the media conglomerate Televisa in August of ’93, is the largest video rental business in Mexico, with 2.8 million members.

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