Monday, February 25, 2008

Sports Illustrated Swimsuits Online Success

It has always been argued that a swimsuit edition does not belong on a sports magazine. But the winning formula used by Sports Illustrated to grow the print side of the business has clearly extended to new media. As the numbers suggest, online usage to view attractive models in skimpy clothing is a real winner. Now if only SI can find a way to keep these users to return; it doesn't seem to be the sports coverage so perhaps a second edition devoted to swimsuits in the Summer to furhter impact usage.

New York Magazine seems to understand what the user wants. They too used nude-like photographs of Lindsey Lohan recreating Marilyn Monroe poses to impact their print and online usage as well.

And while newstands can try to police usage, the web is much more difficult. And while it is hard to call these two magazines obscene, there is no formal group looking out for the public interest. I bring this up because of the recent fines of almost $2 mm against Fox TV stations that aired a butt shot from a repeat episode of NYPD Blue. That these stations get fined simply shows that there is a bigger issue at stake.

I do not think these fines are fair, nor do I think the Sports Illustrated and New York Magazine sites are obscene. It simply demonstrates that the changing landscape of the web has caused a very slippery slope to form. How one form of media gets fined while another with equal if not potentially wider access is not, shows that the FCC does not see how the world has changed.