Media Lifeline: Masthead TV

The practice of transferring magazine brands to TV has met with mixed success over the past ten years.

1997: A rapid growth in multichannel TV across the mid-90s prompts broadcast regulators to allow masthead TV - the transfer of magazine brands on to TV programming. The National Magazine Company is the first to take advantage, developing Good Housekeeping and Zest programming in partnership with Granada Sky Broadcasting.

1999: And when the rules are further loosened to allow masthead programming on terrestrial TV, Northern & Shell is the first publisher to make a major move, commissioning a series of OK!TV programmes in partnership with ITV. Featuring Nigel Havers and Twiggy as presenters conducting interviews with celebrities in their charming homes, it is scheduled into peaktime, but fails to attract a viable audience.

2000: Emap devises whole channels for magazine properties including Smash Hits, Q and Kerrang!. But with the failure of OK!TV, observers doubt whether more sophisticated masthead TV programming can become a peaktime phenomenon.

2005: But niche lifestyle content is still regarded as a workable proposition, particularly when the production costs can be written off against more than one market. One ambitious international deal sees IPC Media and Discovery Networks produce a masthead spin-off with the LivingEtc branding for distribution via Discovery channels in the UK and Latin America.

2007: Multiplatform convergence is also a big issue - as shown by IPC Media and Turner Broadcasting, with the launch of Nuts TV on the Freeview digital terrestrial TV platform. The channel will dovetail with the title's evolving internet presence.

Fast forward ...

2010: As the growth of broadband internet continues to undermine the very future of "broadcast television", the notion of masthead TV begins to lose relevance. The concept of the channel has become redundant - the focus now is on the websites of content originators - and print manifestations of these brands are now produced only on the rarest of occasions. These one-offs are called "periodicals" or "TV mastheads".