Posted on September 1st, 2009 8 comments
Well, you can’t buy Cross Review scores, but you can certainly buy a lot of the magazine’s preview real estate for your games if you have the bux, as Enterbrain’s “Special Advertisement Project” (a document on their business-account page, which also features the rate cards for all their mags) for August ’09 explains.
For 6.5 million yen (just over $70k), you can purchase a 9-page “bump tie-up” affixed to the mag, replete with an opener and eight pages of advertorial devoted to up to 4 titles. That’s pretty expensive for one go, but more reasonable is the 2.8-million-yen ($30k) “exclusive scoop gatefold,” a three-page advertorial preview with three-page fold-out advertisement stuck on afterward. Least expensive — and most popular, I guess — is a regular old two-page scoop spread for 1.5 million ($16k). Both it and the $30k gatefold are reserved for new game announcements only and are limited to a single title.
Considering that the two-page scoop is actually cheaper than a lot of Famitsu’s “real” advertising space (they charge 1.1 million yen for a full-color page and 2.75 million yen for the inside-front-cover spread), I’m sure a lot of companies go the advertorial route with Famitsu, which prints (and has always printed) very few traditional advertising pages compared to mags in the West.
I should note that advertorial like this — which isn’t expressly labeled “Advertising” in some way, like it is in America — is status-quo in a lot of Japanese enthusiast press. I haven’t actually talked to anyone from Enterbrain since my GamePro days, but they had some sort of advertorial service going since at least back then, in ’02 or so. Newtype always had a bit of unannounced advertorial in each issue (something that occasionally gave us trouble in the Newtype USA days because advertorials couldn’t be translated and printed in our mag), and while it was usually pretty obvious if an article in Newtype was paid for, it’s much less so in Famitsu, usually. They do a good job at making all their previews equally flashy and eye-catching. I’d love to talk to their art designers sometime.
I should also note that I’ve never heard of a US magazine that actually let publishers pay money for more preview space. Not money. Publishers will wheedle media in any ethical way possible for coverage, of course, because that’s their job, but they’d never offer money — it’s too juicy a secret to keep under wraps, and it would damage the reputation of both sides when the cat came out of the bag.
In Japan, though, the relationship between games and game media is — and has always been — very incestuous like this.
Famitsu’s still a great mag, though.
(PS: The PDF mentions on the bottom that all potential games to be covered “must be assessed by the editor-in-chief,” which means that I sadly can’t buy 6 pages of Famitsu to talk about Super Family Gelande.)