Sunday, April 22, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: on MPA , Time Inc, Hearst, PIB and More

BoSacks Speaks Out:
For any of those who might be interested, I had a letter to the editor posted on the op-ed pages of Saturday's New York Times. The subject was "Gonzales v. Gonzales" (editorial, April 20) Here is the link: 1/opinion/l21gonzales.html? _r=1&oref=slogin

"The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge." Elbert Hubbard
(American editor, publisher and writer, 1856-1915)

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: on MPA , Time Inc, Hearst, PIB and More

RE: Study Reveals TV Pharma Ads Are Not As Effective As Print
The occasional positive analyses we see regarding the effectiveness of print advertising remind me of the story of the men who are locked in a dark room with an elephant. Each one analyzes the piece immediately in front of him. Individually they conclude the tail is a rope, the trunk is a fire hose, the leg is a tree trunk, etc.. But no one recognizes the elephant in the room.

We get the same effect in these studies. Someone discovers that people remember print ads. Who'da thunk it? Someone else realizes that half the reason people buy magazines is because they like the ads. Imagine our surprise! Maybe one of these days some research group will turn on the lights, and advertisers and agencies and media buyers will recognize the elephant in the room: Print works.
(Submitted by a Printer and lifelong pal of BoSacks)

RE: Black to Basics at Hearst Magazines
I'm sure they like the money from the deal, but does this make the most sense for long-range strategy? If things are moving to the web, why would you take what you had been developed on the web and shift it to television? That's training your audience to go elsewhere. I could easily be wrong, but I suspect publishers need to really look at long-term viability and let that strategy dictate tactics and business deals.
(Submitted by a writer)

Re: Trades Mags Event Revenues Surpass Print Mr. Sacks, Counterpoint . . . . What this article fails to point out is that most b2b publishers still derive 85% to 95% of their revenue from the print products as compared to digital initiatives. The other point to be made is that for every dollar lost on the print site to digital products equates to only about 20 cents in recouped revenue. I would also point out that the growth in event and conferences can be as much attributed to the print products and understanding and serving the needs of your audience rather than just the emergence of digital.

Of course digital revenue is the fasting growing category.When you start from nothing, that would be the obvious trend even if you only make limited strides. I'm not a dinosaur and like other b2b publishers we are spending a huge disproportionate amount of time on emedia as we should be. The article and Gordon's comments, if they were reported in the context he stated, tend to skew the reality of the situation as it exists today. Print IS NOT what I would call a minority of revenue generated by b2b print centric media companies! I would strongly urge b2b publishers to remain focused on their core business, create and nurture communities and most importantly understand and serve the needs of the reader in conjunction with seizing the new digital opportunities.
(Submitted by a Senior Vice President of Manufacturing & Circulation)

In Response to . . .
As a relative newcomer to publishing, I'm absorbing the culture, like a visitor to a new country. And with that innocent perspective I'm amazed at the suicidal tendencies of most industry pundits. Perhaps they've never experienced competition or adversity in any form. The drumbeat of fatalism is everywhere. Why even write about it? It's too awful . . . just kill yourself now. Really . . . or stop writing like this. Please, one or the other.

Is it possible that the blogosphere is a step in the evolution of the internet and doesn't actually represent the end of civilization? Just as Fox News didn't, not for lack of effort, end all critical thinking in America? Imagine the immediate post Gutenberg world . . . a Kinko's next to every Starbuck's, printing words just like they were printing . . . the Bible. . or the Koran. What gives them the right?

But in time, the values of the society will float to the top, for good and bad. A society that values truth and fairness will ultimately support professional journalism as the best source of trustworthy information. A society that craves only entertainment will be happy with just about anything that keeps its attention. Of the lessons Americans have been forced to swallow since 9-11, one is that the rest of humanity really isn't just like them. Ignorance and Absolutism are even more prevalent elsewhere. And to know with absolute certainty is to abandon thinking for believing and thereby step back in evolutionary time.. a trip many of us are not willing to take.

So, technology allows us to be ourselves, just more expediently. It plays no role in personal development or the accretion of wisdom. In things that matter, we are not changed at all.
(Submitted by a BoSacks Subscriber with an unknown Job Title)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
for all we know, the person who wrote it up every month quit or got another job and they handed it off to someone who didn't have the time needed to compile it every 30 days.

in a lot of ways it's an underutilized data series. there's a lot of neat things that could be done with it that seem to escape them
(Submitted by an Industry Analyst and Pundit)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Bob, bad news is better if you only hear it 4 times a year instead of 12.
(Submitted by a Senior Paper Buyer)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Bo, This is a non-event. For those who want the data monthly in the PIB community it will still be available. Looking at quarterly rather than monthly makes more sense for a trend analysis for two simple reasons, 1) it aligns with how other media report advertising and 2) it allows to better average variances such as months in on one year with five issue dates versus following year that might have four. What exactly is the argument for monthly anyway? Who is making what kind of decision or creating an informed opinion about the robustness of a market like publishing advertising from PIB reports that can't do that four times a year rather than 12?
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manfacturing and Distribution)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Oh, boy. Here we go again. The MPA is supposed to HELP the magazine publishing industry, but it hasn't been working out that way lately. Just about the time the MPA's ill fated "magazines in the future" print campaign fades into memory like a bad dream, here comes another nightmare - thinking that no news to the advertising community will be perceived as "at least it's not bad news, again". Amazing.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing and Distribution)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Bob: When you're losing the game, and can't compete, change the rules to your favor. A long standing political adage.
(Submitted by a senior ad sales rep)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
I do not understand this. For years there has been talk of "Immediacy", getting the newsstand copies, especially monthly titles, on sale more quickly. That seems to have stalled.

There was a revolution toward digital ads in order to get away from the 7 to 10 week ad closing cycle, and this seems to have been successful, though there are not many published ad closing schedules of 3 weeks that I know of.

So on the one hand you have this drive for speed, and now you have this data coming out every 3 months versus every month.

TV ratings come out "overnight". How do mags compete with that?

The mag business needs new measurements that show how fast magazine ads cume in the marketplace, and how consumers are acting on those ads they see every day in their magazines. A measurement to see how the ads are working.

Having less timely reporting does not seem the route to take in a 24/7/365 world.
(Submitted by a Former Production Titan)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
This should be unimportant to the advertisers, because they should be finding ways of measuring the effectiveness of their own campaigns and media choices. To use that basis for making advertising decisions would be like choosing a mechanic based on which one charged the most per repair, assuming that meant you'd get the best job done. But anyone who has had a car repaired knows how insane that is. What you really want to know is whether the result per dollar spent is favorable. If so, then who cares how much the various publishers made per page?

Are the publishers trying to obfuscate things? Oh, probably, but they also have a good point about how businesspeople are so quick to grasp at monthly trends and bounce around in reaction. W. Edwards Deming, the seminal figure in statistical quality control, had an experiment. He'd give someone a target on the floor, a handful of ball bearings, and have them try hitting the target. When the person dropping the bearings stayed in one place, then the bearings fell in a definite pattern, meaning that you could look at fixing the process of how that subject was doing the dropping. However, when the person was told to adjust to try hitting the target after each drop, the result was bearings scattered all over the place. By trying to fix the aim at every moment, the result was an unstable system that could never be improved. That, I think, is how many marketers make their decisions.

(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: Pew Survey Finds Most Knowledgeable Americans
The results are not surprising in the least. If you are interested in national and world events, watching PBS News Hour from 7-8PM, with a chaser of of Daily Show (OK, it was really LAST night's show, but it's still only 21 hours old) followed by pure cynicism on the Colbert Report is a good as it gets. Is American Idol's top rating, and Jeopardy's longevity, related to the fact that so many Americans are oblivious to important world events? The dumbing down of America has been going on for years. The only question is whether it is beyond the point of no return. Thirty three poor souls are murdered in Virginia by a madman, and the entire country watches nothing else for days, but 160 Iraqi's get blown up, and it's not even on the radar of most Americans. We have become the most isolated country of the world, sadly.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing and Distribution)

RE: right on target.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my email. I have come to rely on your insights into the industry and I find your outbursts to be very refreshing and for the most part . . . right on target. There is something that you do that other editors should focus in upon. Where everyone else is drilling down to the core of various subjects and interests, you on the other hand successfully cover a large industry with a very broad pallet. And yet you clearly keep everyone's interest.

At the end of the day I think it is the clear and unmistakable VOICE of your product that makes it a must read. When you came to our office and consulted with our company you emphasized that as a primary goal for our titles. Now I finally see that not only were you right, but you practice what you preach. (Submitted by a Senior Circulator)

No comments: