Media Lifeline: Masthead TV

Magazine publishers are increasingly looking to TV to exploit their brand equity.

1997: The National Magazine Company is the first publisher to exploit newly liberalised legislation by launching two masthead programmes, based on its Good Housekeeping and Zest properties, in partnership with Granada Sky Broadcasting.

1998: Magazine publishers join forces to launch a campaign aimed at persuading the Independent Television Commission (at this point, the lead commercial television regulator) to relax its rules on masthead TV programming on terrestrial television - bringing mainstream broadcasting into line with cable and satellite. A similar campaign the year before had failed - but now the ITC gives way.

1999: The first primetime masthead TV programme on a terrestrial channel hits the screens when OK!TV launches on ITV. The format involves C-list celebrities (Nigel Havers, Twiggy) visiting and interviewing B-list celebrities (first up is Sharon Stone) in their lovely homes. Observers believe the floodgates will now open - and FHM promises to sign a flurry of deals - but masthead TV remains a relatively niche phenomenon.

2002: Time Warner's IPC cements its masthead relationship with Viacom's MTV when it agrees a deal to develop a new music strand carrying NME branding. Earlier in the year, MTV had broadcast the NME Awards and a week of programming inspired by the event.

2005: IPC and Discovery Networks International agree a deal to produce 15 half-hour shows utilising the branding of Livingetc, IPC's modern homes magazine. The series, which will run on Discovery Travel and Living in the UK and across Latin America (representing a universe of 15 million homes), will feature members of the magazine's editorial team sharing tips on creating stylish modern homes.

Fast forward ...

2008: The business comes full circle as broadcasters, hit increasingly hard by audience fragmentation, begin negotiating deals for TV programmes to begin supplying content for branded-feature franchise slots within magazines. The first involves ITV's innovative new home makeover show, Room for Change, taking a regular four-page presence in Good Housekeeping.