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Red Bull Surprises With Magazine
CNBC.com | May 12, 2011 | 02:43 PM EDT

On the surface, the idea seems absolutely insane. A drink brand chooses to branch out into another business and it chooses, of all spaces, media.

Part of that media plan includes a television channel, a production studio that builds everything from mobile content to full-length films and starting this week — here's the hardest one to grasp — they are launching a monthly, for-pay, magazine called Red Bulletin .

In an increasingly tougher medium where fans expect more and more good content for free, Red Bulletin's cover price is $4.99 and has a circulation of 1.2 million copies, roughly half the circulation of ESPN The Magazine.

"Red Bull could have said, 'We're one of the top extreme sports brands in the world, why don't we go into sporting goods, skies, snowboards or mountain bikes?" said Werner Brell, managing director of Red Bull Media House North America. "Instead, we chose to get involved with media products — movies, TV, mobile products and print. And Red Bull was invented in 1987 by Dietrich Mateschitz. In 2010, more than four billion cans of the energy drink were sold and in the US, Red Bull grossed more sales than Budweiser , according to Beverage Spectrum, an industry trade publication.

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