by Maud Kersnowski
Executives of a new independent film magazine are backing away from plans
to sell all editorial space to advertisers, contradicting an introductory
promotional packet distributed recently. Instead, the magazine, called
"Indie", will follow a more traditional format when it launches this
"Indie's" executives recently disavowed any intention of publishing
articles paid for by a film or studio. "Indie's cover will never be sold,"
according to Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Joseph Steuer, a former writer
for "The Hollywood Reporter." "And at this moment, the articles are not
for sale," said Steuer. He confirmed, however, that sections of the
magazine may be sponsored by advertisers.
A marketing packet, which discussed selling editorial space, was sent to
independent film organizations by mistake, according to "Indie's"
Publications Director Kevin Hyson. "We're kicking ourselves that it ever
went out," Hyson told indieWIRE recently.
While Hachette Filipacchi Custom Services Manager Dawn Erickson refused
to comment on why the packet was sent out, Steuer told indieWIRE yesterday
that the information was prematurely distributed by a consulting firm hired
by Hachette, the magazine's owner, to acquire mailing lists for the magazine.
The concept that every page could be bought by advertisers was one of
several prototypes of the magazine. A prototype was nixed in development,
but not before brochures were sent touting, "Every page including the Front
Cover, is available to an advertiser for sponsorship."
The criticism of the marketing packet from film journalists and the
independent film community centered on the packet's implication that P.R.
and marketing personnel would control the magazine's content. "Indie's
editors will work with a film's marketing and promotional staff to develop
a story about the movie, an interview with the director or stars, a
synopses of the film, a pre-release review, behind the scenes gossip, a
special column etc.," the packet proclaimed.
While the latest concept for Indie's editorial content is different, the
targeted audience remains the same. Indie will be free magazine mailed to
independent film viewers . This distinguishes it from magazines with more
industry-focused readerships, such as "FILMMAKER" and "The Independent Film
and Video Monthly". According to Steuer, the new magazine targets film
patrons rather than filmmakers. He added that Indie's mailing list is
being culled from various organizations, including film festivals,
screenings, and seminar series' & museums. Steuer offered that Hachette is
spending over six figures building a list that is targeted to reach 250,000
The magazine's articles will contain the usual movie magazine staples:
features, columns, interviews and behind-the-scenes stories. Films
distributed by studio specialty divisions make up the bulk of the content.
The amount of space devoted to smaller films and non-features, such as
documentaries, shorts, and animated films, remains to be decided, according
to Editor-in-Chief Steuer.
The basic article format is similar to "Premiere" magazine, also owned by
Hachette Filipacchi, but "Indie" executives are distancing the new
publication from its more established sibling. "We're not like 'Premiere',"
says Steuer. A source close to Premiere told indieWIRE that Indie's
reluctance to associate itself with the older magazine may have arisen from
Premiere's staff bristling at the implication, made by a recent trade
publication article, that "Indie" was a "Premiere" spinoff.