People.com Launches Country Channel
Vertical will feature exclusive music debuts, videos, photos and more.
‚ÄúFor us, Country is part of the larger landscape that is Hollywood,‚ÄĚ People Digital editor Janice Morris told FOLIO: exclusively. ‚ÄúWe recognized that it‚Äôs not just a type of music, it‚Äôs a lifestyle that we‚Äôve seen over the years permeate into other areas.‚ÄĚ
Country coverage is very much part of People‚Äôs DNA with pointed coverage of superstars and up-and-comers beginning more than a decade ago, including the launch of a special Country newsstand issue 10 years ago.
‚Äú[Country‚Äôs] been embraced by the larger culture and I think that‚Äôs what we‚Äôre reacting to,‚ÄĚ Morris says. ‚ÄúThe reality is that these stars, they‚Äôre part of our mainstream culture and part of the coverage that‚Äôs People overall.‚ÄĚ
Blake Shelton has been a breakout star in the last few years thanks to his starring role as a judge on NBC‚Äôs singing show ‚ÄúThe Voice‚ÄĚ while his wife Miranda Lambert has become a fashion darling in People‚Äôs Style section and Trisha Yearwood has rebranded herself with her southern-style cooking show on the Food Network.
Morris says People‚Äôs Country channel is an opportunity for editors to not just cover the big stars, but also feature emerging talent too.
‚ÄúWe have done video exclusives with The Band Perry, Gloriana, Florida Georgia Line. We were one of the first to feature Lady Antebellum‚Äôs music,‚ÄĚ notes Morris. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve gotten behind stars before they‚Äôre big.‚ÄĚ
It‚Äôs not just reader interest that prompted the creation of the vertical, but big data helped drive the decision.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre there for every big awards show in the country market,‚ÄĚ says Morris. ‚ÄúThose nights bring in droves of unique users and we get massive page views from it.‚ÄĚ
To support the extra coverage, the title rearranged editorial duties having People's assistant managing editor Cynthia Sanz lead all Country content for the brand by overseeing a small group of staffers that "have specialty in Country‚ÄĚ located both in Nashville and New York City.
The 2014 Country issue of People hit newsstands and tablets last week.