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Clear Channel Launches Ad-Sponsored Music Magazine

Clear Channel Communications Inc., a radio and concert company, said on Monday it is launching an ad-sponsored magazine for the summer concert season.

The magazine, “Music Guide Live!,” will make its debut over the weekend at a few concerts and eventually be distributed in more than 30 markets during the summer at Clear Channel radio station events and amphitheaters.

The publication is the size of the popular Playbill magazine distributed at Broadway shows, said Jay Freedman, vice president of tactical marketing at Clear Channel Collective Merchandising, a division of the radio operation.

The magazine will feature stories on recording artists, music news, touring schedules and other local information.

“As a radio group, we’re constantly being challenged with finding new ways to produce revenues,” Freedman said. “This provides us with a platform to go after ancillary revenue beyond spot advertising. This is all new money.”

National sponsors include American Express Co., XM Radio, Heineken, Panasonic, Tommy Hilfiger, Budweiser, Smirnoff and Dunkin Doughnuts.

“For a first year program, we are very pleased with our national commitments,” Freedman said.

For now, Clear Channel plans to publish the magazine twice during the busy summer concert touring season, but Freedman said the company may release additional issues beyond that period.

Clear Channel has discussed the possibility of music retailers acting as distributors beyond its amphitheater system.

Freedman said Clear Channel spent more than eight months developing “Music Guide Live!” after enjoying success with similar publications for sports.

Analysts said the initiative was a good creative step.

“It’s not going to make a difference in their bottom line,” said Jason Helfstein of CIBC World Markets, “but anything you can do to help your image with customers and any incremental revenue you can drive from being creative is always helpful.”

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