Paste’s brand is literally soaring. The independently published, Decatur, Georgia-based entertainment magazine has partnered with Beat Marketing to produce “The PASTE BEAT,” an audio channel for American Airlines. Publisher and president Tim Regan-Porter expects the range and number of Paste’s audience to rise along with the brand, as The PASTE BEAT becomes available to the airline’s 4.2 million passengers per month—72 percent of whom, according to a recent survey, claim to use in-flight entertainment.
Why Do It?
The partnership appealed to Regan-Porter because it offered a natural extension for Paste, since the program includes music featured by the magazine as well as performances and artist interviews recorded in their studio, where they also record podcasts and sampler CDs. “It would not be worth the deal,” he said, “if it stretched our resources or our brand to something it’s not.”
It was also appealing because of its components: American Airlines provided reliability as the world’s largest airline and a wide, captive, and affluent audience; Beat Marketing—which supplies sampler CDs to coffee shops around the U.S.—offered what Regan-Porter calls a “simpatico” taste in music and method. Beat—who had been in discussions with American Airlines for several months—approached Paste in the spring because of its appropriate size and taste and because, according to Regan-Porter, “a print partner who could highlight the partnership outside the airline was crucial to AA.”
Correctly Gauge Your Production Commitment
The cost, according to Regan-Porter, is mostly in production and time. Though the magazine owned most of the equipment for production, the program has created a larger strain on personnel than expected, since it demands additional clearances and extends into new technologies for Paste. The Web presence for the program and other ways to leverage the audio channel are still being worked out, including a plan for passengers to text message codes for offers from the magazine.
Paste will measure the program’s success by monitoring Web traffic, online subscriptions, and mobile campaigns, but Regan-Porter has no specific short-term expectations other than basic brand extension and a “hard to measure but positive impact on advertising” through increased exposure. The program has no revenue model to follow but fits in with the title’s long-term goals. “It’s important to take those steps,” he says, “and hope that the revenue comes in later.”