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National Geographic Partners With Custom Publisher to Form GeoGroup Media

By Dylan Stableford

Looking to capitalize on growing custom publishing expenditures and consumer acceptance of them, National Geographic is partnering with The Magazine Group for GeoGroup Media, a custom publishing outpost that plans to focus on custom projects that promote corporate social responsibility.

"With the vast resources and brain trust of National Geographic and our experience within the custom publishing world, GeoGroup Media will be a valuable tool for socially responsible branding efforts of major corporations," Magazine Group president Jane Ottenberg said in a statement. The Magazine Group currently produces magazines for 65 clients. Keith Bellow, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler, inhabits the project's "gatekeeper" role for ensuring quality content.

A Name in Custody?
While the name of the alliance may make corporate sense in a familiar phonetic mash-up of the two brands, confusion may lie ahead in the form of an established company with a strikingly similar name. The GEO Group, Inc. is a worldwide management firm specializing in the privatized development of correctional facilities and detention centers. In 2004, the company had $614.5 million in annual revenues, according to its Web site, as well as a 28 percent marketshare in North America. To add to the potential confusion, the company also produces a custom quarterly magazine for its employees, GEO World.

Stephen Giannetti, VP/group publisher, National Geographic Magazines, said he was "not aware" of "and not worried" about the similarity.

By Dylan Stableford

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