A&E Spins Off Two Catalogs

Taking a page from TV series spin-offs, New York-based A&E Television Networks in March spun off two catalog titles, Biography and The History Channel, from its The World of A&E catalog.

The 50-page History Channel catalog is scheduled to mail in the summer and the fall in addition to the spring. The 32-page Biography catalog mailed to the Biography magazine subscriber list, the company’s direct response buyers, and some rented names, although Jennifer Kohl, director of direct marketing for A&E Television, would not provide specifics. Like the core World of A&E book, the spin-offs sell videos, gifts, and collectibles.

The new catalogs were inspired by the popularity of A&E’s Biography cable television series and the demand for nostalgia videos, Kohl says. It doesn’t hurt that the network’s core catalog, The World of A&E, has exceeded expectations with double-digit growth. According to Ridgefield, CT-based list manager D-J Associates, A&E has 40,363 12-month buyers. The average order is $78.

Not surprisingly, there is merchandise crossover among the three books. For instance, a History Channel-branded video titled The History of Britain also appears in The World of A&E. And the video retrospective Christianity: The Second Thousand Years is sold in all three catalogs, Kohl notes, because it appeals to Biography magazine readers as well as to History Channel and A&E viewers.

But beginning this fall, Kohl says, the catalogs will feature merchandise branded specifically for their individual markets. For example, The History Channel catalog — which has more male buyers than the other two books — will feature more videos on sports, the military, and history.

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