How a UK film magazine became the biggest movie brand in the world

Lights, camera, action. The audience at the Worldwide Media Marketplace was today treated to the story of how a UK magazine became the biggest movie brand in the world.
This year’s WMM, organised and hosted by FIPP, takes place on 14-15 May in London, the United Kingdom. It provides a platform to for all those interested in cross-border licensing and syndication (across platforms) to meet, do business and build relationships.
The Empire magazine story was one of several cross-border publishing presentations at the event, which also included an exhibition, Licensing and Syndication Masterclass and various networking-related activities.
The Empire story was told by Mark Dinning (pictured), editor-in-chief, and Simon Greves, Bauer Media’s (the owner of Empire) international director.
Dinning said that the movie industry is now in its healthiest state ever, grossing over $35bn at box offices worldwide in 2013, with strong growth over the past two years.
Empire outsells its rivals by more than 2:1, with a market share of 72 per cent and over 60,000 subscribers. Advertising base is expanding beyond just the movie advertising industry.
Dinning provide several examples of how Empire continues to invest in the quality of the brand, and relationships around the brand.
For one thing, Empire prides itself in delivering world exclusives (scoops!), with the world exclusive for nine out of the 10 biggest grossing movies. Whereas many people today can also blog and tweet movie “reviews,” it remains an important feature in the magazine as a credible source of views. In-depth, multi-faceted features, across platforms, have become a norm.
The magazine is also renowned for creating 3D cover technologies – they plan to do more of this, with cover plans planned until June 2015.
Industry relationships are important (in Empire��s case, studios, movie stars and directors), the evidence of which is the following quote from Quentin Tarantino, “Movies are my religion, and Empire is my church”.
Dinning emphasised how technology “really helps” Empire, which turns 25 in 2014, to  offer readers/users quality, multiplatform content.
Empire, which launched in the UK in 1989, has international editions in Australia (2001), Russia (2008), Portugal (2011), Italy (2012), the US (2012), with more markets to follow, including China.
Greves emphasised the importance of Empire’s relationship with the industry, and how this translates into exclusives and quality content offered to its readers. This content is internationally transferable, with licensees “using a lot of our content and between 10 to 12 of our covers per year”.
The Empire audience tends to be early adopters of technology, with a high percentage owning tablets. “We deliver all our content plus much, much more (such as trailers and other content) not included in the print editions” here, Greves said. “Empire has a bright future in the digital world.”
Addressing potential licensees, Greves said with the global movie industry continuing to grow, there are many reasons to consider launching a movie magazine brand such as Empire.

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