To the Maxim
Hot female models are to men's magazines as is paper to the PC. This means today's online experiments at one of the most popular men's magazines may soon become business-as-usual for adventurous print publications cashing in on the Internet. According to Dan O'Brian, lead developer at Maxim, "Everything you know is wrong."
Maxim is an experiment as much as it is a periodical. In honor of sex, sports, beer, gadgets, clothes and fitness, Maxim launched in April of 1997 with 175,000 copies. The publication was the first domestic to attach a music CD to its cover. And by September, its audited rate base reached 275,000, eventually escalating upwards of one million copies by last year. Once successful in print, Maxim further established a hardcore online presence. And in cooperation with AvantGo, an interactive technology service, Maxim Online is now available via handheld devices and through an online radio network, Maxim Radio, using RealPlayer audio applications. The magazine also recently developed a newsletter for subscribers who can't seem to get enough of the publication's hijinx.
Much like it's namesake, Maxim pushed even the most experimental addendums to the limit by recently hosting a live-broadcast party packed with celebrities and spy-cams. Deemed "Maxim Motel," the magazine's promo-party took over a seedy L.A. motor lodge for a night of show-biz-style stirrings. With each room transformed into separate simultaneous parties with guests including rock group, the Cult, and actors Kirstin Dunst and Matthew McConaughey, online participants could log in to spy on folks engaged in everything from tattooing to faux-honeymooning in real-time. Because the digital cameras captured the events in streaming media, even after the live-action folded, Maxim Online visitors can still view the antics via their Web browsers today.
The entire project signals a new kind of multimedia publishing groove, showing off some of the latest software options for the Web, as well as blurring the line between flipping a page and tapping a keyboard. Whereas the magazine industry was once a brew of high-gloss and in-depth feature writing, the new generation of publishing is demanding more than ink can provide. Despite fears of online domination, an Erdos & Morgan research study shows that print publications are still considered more trustworthy than electronic communications. But in a survey conducted of 12- to 17-year-olds by the Newspaper Association of America a few years ago, more than half reportedly used the Internet to glean information and/or make purchases. For Maxim and other magazines, such as Vibe, Premiere and Fortune, this means that the goals of operating online and in print is simple: to increase subscriptions and woo new advertisers interested in getting more bang online for their print buck. And since some of the nation's most popular and most profitable magazines court a young reader base, it's not surprising that those with the online scoop are also scoring among trend-feeding consumers.