People.com Launches Country Channel
Vertical will feature exclusive music debuts, videos, photos and more.
â€śFor us, Country is part of the larger landscape that is Hollywood,â€ť People Digital editor Janice Morris told FOLIO: exclusively. â€śWe recognized that itâ€™s not just a type of music, itâ€™s a lifestyle that weâ€™ve seen over the years permeate into other areas.â€ť
Country coverage is very much part of Peopleâ€™s 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.
â€ś[Countryâ€™s] been embraced by the larger culture and I think thatâ€™s what weâ€™re reacting to,â€ť Morris says. â€śThe reality is that these stars, theyâ€™re part of our mainstream culture and part of the coverage thatâ€™s People overall.â€ť
Blake Shelton has been a breakout star in the last few years thanks to his starring role as a judge on NBCâ€™s singing show â€śThe Voiceâ€ť while his wife Miranda Lambert has become a fashion darling in Peopleâ€™s Style section and Trisha Yearwood has rebranded herself with her southern-style cooking show on the Food Network.
Morris says Peopleâ€™s Country channel is an opportunity for editors to not just cover the big stars, but also feature emerging talent too.
â€śWe have done video exclusives with The Band Perry, Gloriana, Florida Georgia Line. We were one of the first to feature Lady Antebellumâ€™s music,â€ť notes Morris. â€śWeâ€™ve gotten behind stars before theyâ€™re big.â€ť
Itâ€™s not just reader interest that prompted the creation of the vertical, but big data helped drive the decision.
â€śWeâ€™re there for every big awards show in the country market,â€ť says Morris. â€śThose nights bring in droves of unique users and we get massive page views from it.â€ť
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 Countryâ€ť located both in Nashville and New York City.
The 2014 Country issue of People hit newsstands and tablets last week.