Stephen Colvin, President of Dennis Publishing

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, March 4, 2002. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews. 

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Is the secret to success scantily clad women and articles guys actually want to read? Well, it's proven to be a good formula for our next guest. He is the president of Dennis Publishing, responsible for that magazine — I don't know about that model — but that magazine, Maxim.

He has been named Adweek's publishing executive of the year. Maxim has been named the hottest magazine of the year. Welcome, Stephen Colvin. Good to have you.


CAVUTO: This is hotter than hot, and I'm not just talking about the cover, but, I mean, this is amazing.

COLVIN: Pretty good cover indeed.

CAVUTO: What is the deal here? What is drawing this?

COLVIN: Well, it is the ultimate general interest magazine for men. It covers all the variety of issues that guys relate to and it is funny. It's sexy. And it's useful.

CAVUTO: In the old days, this was wrapped in cellophane.

COLVIN: Well, now it is a mainstream magazine.

CAVUTO: Now it is, right. But, I mean, you know what I mean, like in the old days, that was something like almost taboo, but now it is OK.

COLVIN: Yes, it is OK and I think has been OK. This is very much a mainstream magazine. And, yes, it has got beautiful women in it. But guess what? Guys like beautiful women.

CAVUTO: Yes. And what age guys are we talking about?

COLVIN: 21 to 45. But it's very much a mindset of celebrating being a guy. So any guy, whether it be a 50-year-old or a 20-year-old that can be playing golf together and have read the jokes pages from Maxim and have a good chuckle as well.

CAVUTO: I noticed advertisers are like running to this. And normally some advertisers, not all, but some generally askew more, I don't know, sexy magazines because they do not want to be associated with anything controversial? Your advertisers just say, the hell with it. What's the deal?

COLVIN: Right. Because the thing that really sets Maxim apart from the pack is the irreverent editorial term, we speak to guys in the term that they he understand, they relate to, and that is through humor. And the advertising agencies and the companies out there know that they want to reach college-educated high-disposal income guys, Maxim is the way to do it, and in very large numbers.

CAVUTO: Now in the old days, and I think you're a pretty smart marketer, you did not feature the stunning woman on the cover, not that woman. Now it is, of course, one stunner after another. I mean, is that by design that, you know, that's the great hook to get them into the magazine?

COLVIN: Absolutely. I mean, the newsstand is nothing more than a shop window. And what a better way to grab a guy's attention on the shop window, a publisher's four seconds in total to grab someone's attention.

CAVUTO: Is that so?

COLVIN: Absolutely. And what a better way of grabbing a guy's attention than having a beautiful woman on the cover. It certainly works.

CAVUTO: You want to know my crackpot theory on your success? It is very soft Playboy, and whereas Playboy and Penthouse and some of these others, it is in a different rack, so to say. And I think there opens up a wider audience for you, whereas people who might just sort of sneakily go up to the counter and get a Playboy or something like that, this one you don't have to do that.

COLVIN: Well, no one can be embarrassed having this on the coffee table. And, again, it is mainstream, the magazine Maxim we launched in Britain.

CAVUTO: Actually, there are about 50 of these on the coffee table in our waiting room right now. It's amazing how they've mushroomed.

COLVIN: We launched Maxim in Europe in the U.K. eight years ago and then brought it over and translated it for the American market. And we realized there was a massive void in the market too.

CAVUTO: The Playboy thing is interesting, how you have made inroads on Playboy because they have had a tough time. Penthouse has had a tough time. Even some of the harder-core magazines have had a tough time.

You are a good mix, and you kind of walk that line pretty nicely. Is your goal to eventually, you know, wipe them away?

COLVIN: Well, no. We see ourselves very much complementing, whether it be the fashion magazines, like the GQ one on side...

CAVUTO: Yes, but you are not GQ really.

COLVIN: Absolutely, but GQ is more of a vertical magazine as is Esquire and at the same time, Playboy, which has some general interest articles in it, but is featuring the nude woman.

CAVUTO: So your guys are actually reading the articles?

COLVIN: The guys read the articles. They devour the magazine. And there was a recent poll on the Fortune 1,000 CEOs and it showed that investment bankers are five times more likely read Maxim than they are to read BusinessWeek.

CAVUTO: Well, that is probably why the whole Enron mess happened, they were too busy reading this and never did anything else. All right. Stephen, thank you very much. Very good seeing you.

COLVIN: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Stephen Colvin is the man who runs Dennis Publishing. He is the president, and Maxim, one of their premier magazines, one of the most successful in the advertising world.

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