Note: This Machinist post is a public-service announcement to folks who consider the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition the publishing event of the year (others, click here).
Dudes: Save your $3.99 for another Red Bull and vodka, because you can get every picture from SI's swimsuit issue -- more than 1,500 pictures, plus videos, interviews, a desktop calendar, and, hottest of all, a list of swimsuit retailers -- on the amazingly comprehensive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2008 Web site.
The annual SI Swimsuit issue is a powerful force in the magazine industry; it does terrifically well for Time Inc., SI's corporate parent, reaching 70 million or so readers every year and selling tens of millions of dollars of ad pages.
But the real action isn't on newsstands. It's on the SI Web site.
The site's motto is "every model, every shoot with video," and that's what it delivers. Visiting this site, I can't see why anyone would want the glossy version.
If you're a serious scholar of swimsuit fashion trends -- or, instead, of body painting, which to believe the magazine is an increasingly popular way of going to the beach -- you'll find a lot more to float your boat on the Web than in the mag.
For instance, there are more than 60 video clips of the models, including this one, in which the very well-put-together Melissa Haro declares,
I won't lie, the purpose of this post is to mention swimsuit models, but I won't let you escape without a bit of new-media biz talk.
The SI site is a very good example of how the magazine industry can transition to the Web. Despite my advice to dudes of the world, the company is probably not going to lose many newsstand sales; for portability -- portability is an important feature for the subject matter at hand -- many will want the paper version of the swimsuit issue.
But unlike many other magazines, SI is wisely not letting exaggerated fears of reduced newsstand sales stop it from making buckets of money online.
A Time rep pointed out to me that the magazine is only on sale now, but the site will be up all year. In that year, the company expects 250 million pageviews, and the the site is packed with ads. Budweiser, Taco Bell, Honda, and Gillette made big buys. Every time you play a video, click a photo, do anything, you see an ad.
Gillette is sponsoring a very well-made video mash-up page that lets you make little clips of your favorite swimsuit models lolling about on the beach; you can post your homemade videos to your blog or social networking page, thereby increasing visits to SI's site.
I hope the New Yorker takes note of this, I really do. Hendrik Hertzberg, I hear, loves running around naked.