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Gray Lady going to movies

Times new mag reaches out to film fans

The New York Times is launching a movie magazine that will be distributed at Loews Cineplex Theaters nationwide.

OnMovies will repackage reviews and coverage from the paper’s culture dept. to reach film fans who are not subscribers or readers of the New York Times. No original content will be produced for the magazine.

“We have wonderful content in the culture arena that doesn’t reach the entire world,” said New York Times chief advertising officer Denise Warren. “Here’s an opportunity to reach a different segment of the audience.”

The free, digest-sized magazine launches Dec. 16 and will be published 18 times a year. Initially, 1.25 million copies will be distributed at theaters in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas and Washington, D.C. It’s the latest expansion in culture coverage for the Times, which added a page of coverage last September and beefed up its entertainment reporting staff.

The Times’ deal with Loews is exclusive and the exhib chain has a stake in the venture. Both sides will evaluate the project and decide whether to pursue other partners and seek wider distribution. Moviegoers will be given a copy of the magazine with their tickets.

“We are delivering a captive audience at the point the magazine is distributed,” Warren said.

Loews will be able to sell ads for the publication as part of its on-screen advertising sales. Loews is the world’s third-largest exhib chain with 200 theaters and 2,176 screens worldwide.

Deputy culture editor Jim Schachter, who’s in charge of the project, likens the magazine to Playbill, which is the same size and is read in the semi-dark of the legit theater before a show begins.

Staff is testing the design in movie theaters to adjust the type size, colors and headlines to make them legible in low theater lighting.

“The Times has generally invested heavily in cultural news,” he said. “This is every bit as important to the paper as the foreign and Washington report.”

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