Innovative Empire is more than films

Empire is not just a film magazine; it is the film magazine, outselling its closest competitors by two to one. It is also one of the few consumer titles to buck the recent gloomy readership trend, revealing a three per cent rise in readers in its latest ABC figures to 187,202. In comparison, Total Film only achieved 84,520.

Empire
Empire

One thing Empire prides itself on is an eye-catching cover showcasing a major star or forthcoming blockbuster. But next month it is taking the ambitious step of running 100 different covers for the November issue. Film buffs are being encouraged to collect the lot; something only a title of Empire's cachet could even contemplate.

But editor Mark Dinning is well aware market dominance needs constant attention, and Empire is not throwing all its resources into design projects.

The Empire.com website has moved away from the normal Q&A format, recently arranging for Sienna Miller and Keira Knightley to test each other on their respective films for the ultimate prize of a Curly Wurly. The quiz was watched more than 25,000 times on YouTube.

Film festivals such as Cannes and the magazine's collaboration with the British Film Institute for this summer's Movie-Con festival have been covered using video blogs, and behind-the-scenes exclusives are now filmed.

All this is great news for film PROs, but does the Empire brand present any opportunities to those not working in the movie industry? The answer, increasingly, is yes.

Dinning aims for a broad readership, and Empire is run like a lifestyle magazine to reflect that. 'We are not a niche title,' he explains. 'Our "At home" pages illustrate this. We cover books, soundtracks, even film memorabilia.'

The Empire team is always on the look-out for new DVD players, headphones, flashy TVs and any gadget that is going to excite moviegoers.

TV shows and computer games are given regular space too. Recent issues covered cult series The Wire and the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed computer game.

David Slade, account executive at Shine Communications, pitches in game releases all the time. 'Empire puts the product in front of people who love films, but are also likely to love gadgets,' says Slade.

Henry Griffiths, partner at Andy Giles Associates, deals with Empire on a regular basis, and believes the title's audience often has cash to burn.

'A lot of readers will spend £2,000 on a home cinema,' explains Griffiths.

With a bit of imagination, almost any product can be related to films. That, and the fact that many of Empire's readers would shell out a four-figure sum on a TV, should put the magazine near the top of lifestyle PROs' hit lists.

QUICK FACTS

Publisher: Bauer Consumer Media
Circulation: 187,202
Frequency: Monthly
Contacts: Editor Mark Dinning mark@empireonline.com

 

A MINUTE WITH ... MARK DINNING, EDITOR, EMPIRE

 

- To what do you attribute the magazine's recent success?

I believe we are the best at what we do. Empire has almost 20 years of experience and has gone through a long process of evolution to get where it is today. We are authoritative, passionate, informed, entertaining and witty in our writing. Empire also has great contacts and access. For example, the film team behind the last Indiana Jones film did very little press activity, but we were given access to the set.

- Are you open to PR pitches?

We are receptive to pitches as long as they come in the form of open and honest conversations. Pretending a new film is a masterpiece when we all know it is far from good will not go down well. Don't try to ram things down our throat either.

- What is the best way to pitch to Empire?

A quick email works best. Get straight to the point. The team will always have ideas on how they want something done, so come up with a new, interesting angle for us to play with.

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