Adopt an Empire state of mind

Whether it is for a preview of a blockbuster, an indie film review, an interview with an actor or director or a behind-the-scenes look at the latest movie technology, Empire magazine is the film lover's choice, according to editor Mark Dinning.

But PROs with cinema-focused brands, filming technology, directors, actors and films to promote are advised to get in early when it comes to pitching. Most PR executives are used to forward planning but the front covers of Empire are decided an eye-watering two years in advance.

Coverage in the magazine is worth waiting for, says Phil Cairns, senior account director at Premier PR: 'Getting your film in Empire can be a critical building block in a successful UK PR campaign, and its standing in the international film community is such that you never have to work too hard selling the magazine to an actor's personal representative.'

'Empire is the world's biggest selling movie magazine, outselling its rivals 2:1, which puts it in a privileged position to deliver a world-class offering,' says Dinning.

He adds that the magazine and website have 'the attention of the movie industry, including fans such as Pitt, Tarantino and Spielberg'. The site gets more than 1.1 million unique monthly users and the magazine's circulation stands at 195,000 each month, according to the latest ABCs. 'Empire is a bedrock for movie lovers and the industry and since we won a PPA award last month we have a had a lot of emails from well known actors and directors congratulating us,' he says.

Dinning claims no other magazine can gain the access to sets, actors and directors that Empire can.

One example was getting James Cameron, Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis in a room to discuss the future of movies, including issues such as 3D, digital and CGI.

When it comes to working with the PR industry, Dinning says his magazine is lucky: 'The PROs who pitch to us really understand the magazine well.' His key piece of advice is to give the magazine as much time and access to the project, brands or movie as possible. Dinning outlines one example, when Inception granted Empire full access, resulting in a 27-page feature on the movie and director Christopher Nolan.

James Herring, managing partner at Taylor Herring, took Empire on a press trip to Japan to promote the game Final Fantasy XIII: 'If you give journalists an early, hands-on, exclusive, newsworthy opportunity you should get a decent spread - as we did.'

Dinning advises PROs not to put forward celebrities just because they are in a film, as the magazine is more about the technology and behind-the-scenes work that goes into the movie: '2012 is going to be a huge year for the movie business as the franchises are back. Empire is in a great position as our access to these movies will be second to none.'



Circulation: 195,000 (ABCs July-Dec 09)

Readership by gender: 70 per cent male, 30 per cent female (source: Bauer)

Publisher: Bauer


Launched: 1989



A MINUTE WITH ... Mark Dinning, editor, Empire magazine

Describe the magazine Empire is a magazine and online site for anyone who loves movies. It has the latest features and unparalleled access to the best directors and movies.

What advice would you give to PR professionals trying to get coverage? Access is paramount. In order to write a great feature, the more access and time we have the better the feature will be and the more exposure your client will have. If it is a great idea, it is likely to get more pages in the magazine.

Key dos and don'ts Again, access is the key. Do give us as much access as possible - most of our features involve a lot of time on set speaking to the cast, production team and director. One of the things we don't appreciate is being pitched a celebrity for the sake of it just because they have a movie out in which we have no major interest.

What are your deadlines? We have our covers set for the next two years, as we know what is coming up in the industry, but normally we work to a six-week lead-time and our deadlines are generally the first week of each month. So if you have any last-minute pitches or ideas it is best to get them in early.

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