Print and Reality TV team up for a hybrid avatar

NEW YORK: Cable television has always managed to spill a lot of ink and ideas in print and on Internet. This time on its the reality television culture, which is spawning magazine concepts.

In the fray to cash in on the reality-pop culture are Primedia and Hearst magazines, both of which have been showing keen interest in the 'reality magazine' concept. While Primedia is planning to test launch the yet unnamed reality magazine by mid-January as a special offshoot of Soap Opera Weekly, Hearst is also believed to be looking out for a reality-based magazine concept.

Transforming cable properties into magazine format is getting to be the latest big idea in the media business.So, while the first of its kind 'reality magazine' is all set to test waters early next year, others are in preparation mode for their share of the plunge.

The rationale behind the interest is that if the Soap Opera Digest can notch up a circulation of around 0.5 million and AOL Time Warner's This Old House can go close to 1 million, there is a potential market for reality-based magazine that will talk about reality TV personalities like the construction worker turned millionaire Evan Marriott of Joe Millionaire.

Notwithstanding the excitement around the reality-mag concept, eyebrows are being raised over the soundness and sustainability of this business idea. Also more recently, the reality TV formula has shown some signs of wear. All the same, magazine publishers of the likes of Primedia Inc obviously think otherwise.

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