For the first time in this media market, and perhaps anywhere in the country, a print magazine is about to launch a complementary television show.
Bucks & Montgomery Living Magazine, a local lifestyle magazine about to celebrate its second anniversary, has announced the launch of a cable TV show on WMCN-TV to launch on June 7th. As many print publications across the country scale back, BML instead has found a way to expand its audience, better serving its readers and its advertisers.
“We are thrilled to be taking print media to the next level,” says Karen Lavery, the magazine’s director of operations. “By linking our local magazine with our own television show, we will be giving our readers variety, options, and a whole new and innovative way to get information.”
For Bucks & Montgomery Living Magazine (bucklivingmag.com), this next level actually comes in two steps. First, readers may have noticed a full-page ad in the March issue detailing the use of Microsoft Tags in various places throughout the magazine.
The small, colorful code looks like a tiny Aztec blanket. Owners of smart phones need only download the free app from Microsoft. Then they snap the Tag with their phone, and are taken immediately from the one-dimensional print page to the advertiser’s web site to read more about the company or perhaps watch a short video. This technology works for more than ads: feature stories that are tagged allow the reader to access the magazine’s website and view additional photos and other information, for which space in print is at a premium.
Several national magazines already use this technology, including Golf Digest. “Instead of reading through ten pictures of the golf pro demonstrating a swing, you can watch him do it on your phone, or save it to watch later on your larger screen at home,” Lavery explains.
Tag provider, Michael Rubillo with The Catalyze Group, Inc. of Doylestown, believes the interactive capabilities between print and digital content providers are just beginning, with untold future benefits for both readers and advertisers.
“These tags enable the publisher to tie the paper content to the electronic, digital world, one of the first times this has been able to be done easily,” says Rubillo. “Now readers can see videos and flash animation, content that can change on a regular basis.”
The second step in BML’s walk into the future is a television show to launch in June.
“This project is going to be fantastic,” enthuses the show’s producer and host, Rich Noonan. “This magazine gets it. They’re among the most progressive in the country. I don’t know of any that are as connected to the audience and advertisers as this one is going to be.”
Noonan, who grew up in Pottstown and graduated from Indiana University of PA, is well known in the Philadelphia region as the main anchor on Channel 29’s 10 p.m. newscast from 1990 to 2002. He then anchored the news at a CBS affiliate in Atlanta for a couple years as his own production business near Philadelphia was taking off. Now he splits his time between Alpharetta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two daughters, and southeast Pennsylvania.
Noonan will produce a half-hour monthly show, shown on a rotating weekly schedule. He will prepare 2 ½ minute spots for each of the magazine’s top advertisers each month. Not infomercials, he considers these pieces to be mini documentaries along the lines of 20/20 or Dateline.
“Every business has a story beyond what they usually promote,” he says. “And when you go deeper, you find stories that resonate with potential customers.”
Lavery explains the logistics behind the programming this way: “Advertisers who buy a cover profile in the magazine get a two-page profile that’s tagged. When someone scans the tag, they will get the 2 ½ minute spot from the TV show on their phone, effectively tying the magazine and the show together.”
Joe Krause, president of JAKIB Media Partners in Jenkintown, a producer of video news stories, brought Lavery and Noonan together with an idea of creating something new and exciting for this media market.
“I wanted to use the 30 minutes of television time to tell great stories and bring the magazine to life,” says Krause. “This hybrid partnership will set the standard for innovative campaigns that produce measurable and meaningful results.”
Noonan plans to air compelling pieces with behind-the-scenes information, saying there is no better vehicle than “this TV show and the magazine together to tell each story.
“I’m a news guy. I find the interesting thread that ties it all together, to make viewers actually feel something. That’s what we’re going to do.”