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Rolling Stone magazine to be published in Russia

One of the most popular musical magazines – the Rolling Stone – will have Russian edition.
The magazine publisher –US Wenner Media company – has signed the agreement with Russian SPN Publishing House.  SPN is not the first company to think of launching Russian edition of the Rolling Stone, but all other Russian companies saw no perspectives for this magazine in Russia.

The Rolling Stone has been published since 1968 in Canada, Australia, Germany and many other countries. The circulation for its edition is more than one million copies.  In addition to the Rolling Stones, Wenner Media publishes the US Weekly and Men’s Journal.

SPN Publishing is the company from St. Petersburg and the part of SPN group which also includes advertising and communication agencies and providers for cell phone communication. The publishing house owns a number of Russian technical and entertaining magazines and has annual turnover about $5 million.

The terms of the agreement with Wenner Media may be called favorable for Russian publishing house. According to Russian press, SPN will obtain free license for using Rolling Stone brand, and will be required to pay royalty to  Wenner Media. As a rule, the royalty for such magazines is 8 percent of their sales. In Russia the percentage is higher  because  of low price for placing ad (about 10 – 12 percent  from advertising revenues and 7-8 percent from sales of magazine).

SPN will invest $1 million in the project in the first year. The first issue of Russian Rolling Stone will be on sale in June. The magazine will have the equal amount of stories from Russia and foreign edition of the Rolling Stone (not only in the USA, but also in European countries), said Director General for SPN Publishing Valery Shilkov. The circulation for the first magazine issues will be  40-50 thousand copies with the plan to reach 100 thousand copies by the end of the year. The magazine will be distributed mainly in Moscow.

Other Russian publishing companies rejected the offer of Wenner Media and are doubting if these plans can be realized. "We refused to participate in the project because the original Rolling Stone magazine can offer only its brand”, said Director of  Gameland Publishing House Dmitry Agarunov. “Our research demonstrated that we can borrow only two stories from the original magazine and will be required to fill the entire magazine by ourselves”. Moreover, Mr. Agarunov believes that  the magazine name will attract the people in their 30s and 40s who are not the target audience of the Rolling Stone.

So far, musical magazines have not had much success in Russian market. Last fall Venetto Publishing House stopped publishing  the New Musical Express. The Play musical magazine had to be transformed into general interest edition. “The problem is about the absence of advertisers for such projects. In the West similar magazines place ads from recording and film-making  companies, but Russian companies of this kind cannot afford placing ads – they are being undermined by mass piracy.

SPN CEOs are sure they would be able to find advertisers.  “Our Publishing House is controlling big part of  the advertising market  for electronics and mobile communication, and we will attract these advertisers in the Rolling Stone”, said Mr. Shilkov.

Source: Lenizdat

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