A Magazine Just for You Arrives With Glitches

Apr 22, 2009
Published: April 20, 2009

WHEN Time Inc. and Lexus devised a project they thought could be a new business model for magazines, they discovered that new business models come with new problems.

The project is an individualized magazine called Mine. It is meant to play off the customizable features in the new Lexus 2010 RX by letting readers order the articles they want from Time Inc. and American Express Publishing magazines; the issues include Lexus ads personalized with readers’ names — along the lines of “The All New 2010 RX, Now With More John Doe” — or with references to the cities where they live.

Though the project was created as a one-time venture, Lexus executives thought a reader-assembled magazine could have wide appeal for a publisher. “When we first pitched this idea to Time Inc.,” said Paul Silverman, the executive media director of Team One, Lexus’s media agency and part of the Publicis Groupe, “one of the very first things we said to them was, we think we actually have a new business model for you, and, actually, the magazine industry.”

He said that claim might be exaggerated, “but we certainly think it’s a step in the right direction.”

But the Lexus project was not without its problems. A computer error caused subscribers to receive articles from magazines they had not chosen, and some of the articles that were included seemed outdated.

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New York Times

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