Monday, June 04, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: on Time Inc, Dow Jones, Mr. Magazine, MRI and Dignity

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
Howard Aiken (American computer engineer and mathematician 1900-1973)

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: on Time Inc, Dow Jones, Mr. Magazine, MRI and Dignity

Re: Time Inc. Waves to Gossip Sites on Its Way to the Bank
Ann Moore's arrogance is truly stunning! "Get out of the way. The People editors are coming." Does Ms. Moore think that 71 page views per website visitor is a GOOD thing? To me, that says that some people have a LOT of time on their hands. Once again, will someone please identify the advertisers who want to reach an audience that does nothing more intellectually stimulating than spend that much time at I think Ann Moore has been in her Time Inc. job too long, and there is a real need for a reenergized leader to better manage the company before it is too late. I'll bet Don Logan would not have even acknowledged celebrity news. He had too much class for that.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing)

Re: Dow Jones Desperately needs Murdoch? Oh, please!
What i find so funny about the generally negative response that Murdoch has gotten from the media elite is that he is far more astute about digital media than they are. The man finds niches that are underserved or un-served and goes after them relentlessly. It was dumb to start another broadcast network, because they already had three. Why start another news channel? We already have CNN and MSNBC. Cartoons in prime time? That was out when the Flintstones were cancelled... and then we got Homer Simpson.

This move to get WSJ is more like a shot across the bow to NBC who has put its CNBC eggs in the Dow Jones basket. If Murdoch owns Dow Jones or WSJ, NBC is left without a partner for CNBC as Rupert gets a gem that he can use to build Fox Business News. I think many in the media hate Murdoch because he keeps outFOXing his critics (pun intended).
(Submitted by an Industry Analyst)

Re: Dow Jones Desperately needs Murdoch? Oh, please!
Mudoch doesn't want to buy the Journal for respectibility. He wants to get people who own data (database business) and who have managed to create web properties that bring in significant cash because they are so good at what they do. It's not that they need him, but that he needs them. Buying MySpace may have been smart - or not, as enough time hasn't gone by to see. But whether a wise or foolish purchase, it was only that: a purchase of something that became a fad. The WSJ online is an *engineered* phenomenon, and the vast majority of the web hasn't figured out how to accomplish something similar.
(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: Magazines Feeling Postal Pinch
Could the USPS do a better job of driving us all out of business if they tried? Now that I think of it and based on performance, if that were their goal they would very likely be much less efficient and effective in accomplishing it. It is a relatively straightforward matter to defend oneself from the overt intentions of government, and government sponsored monopolies. It is the unintended effects, springing from their innate ineptitude, that will get you.
(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: Mag Sag: Readership Growing Older
Wait until 2009 when all the special deals go away, ie. using up leftover air miles on discontinued credit cards and airline bonus miles. My wife and I have been getting these types of subscriptions going on 2 years and we will not renew any of them.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: MRI Audience Numbers

I'm with you, Bo, that "Handguns" figure is a load of crapola. I use 2
readers per 1 copy for my "readership" figures, based on my own survey data
of MY readers. I actually prefer just to give advertisers my printrun figures.
Anything higher is ... well, I already used that word, didn't I?
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: MRI Audience Numbers
Even if it's true that that the statistics say that Handgun Magazine gets 47.1 readers per copy, it ain't so.

You are correct. But I probably read my copy of the magazine (That's a shooting enthusiast pun!) 47.1 times. That should count for something.
(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: MRI Audience Numbers
If you think about it, magazines must be playing with the definition of "read." So, a magazine on the rack at a store that gets flipped through by, say, 15 people but not purchases has been "read" 15 times. Or they over-estimate library/public use copies. But the lack of questioning on the part of this article is disturbing. Forget 47.15 readers a month - even BH&G's claim of 5 readers per copy seems lunacy.
(Submitted by a Writer)


Question: U.S. News is a closely held private company, so how does the
New York Post know that it "loses millions of dollars a year"?

Answer: It got a tip from Vice President Gephardt.

I have never seen a P&L for U.S. News, but I would be surprised if it is
losing millions. It certainly isn't losing as much money as the New York
(Submitted by a Publishing Director)

Re: THE DEATH OF PRINT NEWS is inevitable
Bob, this is the freshest, most intelligent article I've read in a very long time on the new publishing model of how to adjust to print's decline and online's rise and what the media companies need to do to make it work.
(Submitted by a weekly senior production operations manager)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Shred Of Dignity
I find it curious that some people wish to hold the circulation reporting of a magazine to a higher standard than they apply to the content it reports. Funny world.
(Submitted by a Printer)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Shred Of Dignity
Samir gets it right when he says "(celebrity) magazines are more like Prozac for the readers", but Janice Min is also right in trying to maintain a semblence of editorial integrity in a publishing category with very low standards for truth and objectivity. If there is a problem, it is that people reading the made-up stories and fabrications are not smart, or cynical, enough to understand that "just because you read it in a newspaper doesn't necessarily mean it is true." Bonnie Fuller, Min's predecessor at US and now the mud slinging honcho at AMI's Star, is at the other (lower) end of the integrity spectrum. (Min also has the discipline and understanding of editorial closing deadlines, unlike Ms. Fuller, and Janice always meets them, which is why her newsstand sales have soared during her last three years at US. Titles distributed on time ALWAYS sell better than titles that are late, regardless of the category.)

Intentional fabrication of stories and bogus cover lines may trick the reader for a while, but when a publication has lost editorial integrity, then it's Game Over time. Readers either keep buying for the sheer entertainment value, like watching a soap opera, or else they're just not very bright. Either way, can someone tell me which advertisers want to reach the consumers in either category? Not a sustainable business model, in my opinion.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing and Distribution)

Re: Tab Wars: Breaking News or Faking News?
Bo, In the "Tab Wars" article, for "Professor" Husni to dismiss the responsibility of journalism in celebrity reporting and suggest we should all be happy with some type of "gossip" grouping disclaimer that lets publishers say anything about stars for the purpose of entertainment is perhaps the most wrong headed thing I have ever heard him say. Mr. Husni shows no respect for truth and fosters the destructively cynical view that's all one big entertainment. Wonder how he would react if it were his life or family being misreported about for the purpose of selling crappy magazines! Worse, we should question this position for a University journalism program.

Bravo to Us for having the guts to call out its smarmy competitors, if they want to copy People and Us let it start with practices of integrity. If magazines want to have internal "gossip" columns with disclaimers about truth, well fine, if that's the best we can do. Is Us just saving it's own hide? You bet, and why shouldn't it? Is this honest competition? Ironically it is a lesson Us learned from People long ago.

Do we take ourselves too seriously in publishing? Ever ask yourself the consequence of the opposite. Here's something serious, Samir Husni disgraced himself in this article and I've had just about enough from this guy who's never contributed a damn thing to the magazine article except his own self aggrandizing. "Mr. Magazine?" Perhaps, he paid for that title it was not awarded and he obviously won't ever be confused as "Mr. Journalism," or "Mr. Integrity" for that matter.
(Submitted by a Senior Publishing Director)

Re: Tab Wars: Breaking News or Faking News?
There's a big difference between pleasing your customers and pandering to them. If you don't have enough self respect to do your work correctly, you customers will start to lose respect, and the next step is that they'll find something else to do. Perhaps I'm misremembering, but aren't some of the biggest gossip rags having large financial troubles? If it's insulting to a reader to assume he or she can't figure out when titles are full of crap, isn't it doubly insulting to peddle that crap?
(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Shred Of Dignity

Bob, Magazine editors rarely, if ever, refer to another magazine in their pages. This is a short-sighted because magazine readers read more than one magazine and are making comparisons all the time between magazines. (We know they read multiple magazines because most magazine subscriptions are sold via direct mail to readers of other magazines.) So I think it's great that US is providing their own take on how magazines in their category stack up. It will make for good reading.

My favorite instance of one magazine referring to another is when Spy started a column in its magazine of letters to the New Yorker. The New Yorker didn't have its own letters column, so Spy provided that forum for New Yorker readers. It was fun and provocative editorial material. PS - I LOVE the Weekly World News.

(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Parsons: 'Not an Advocate' of Selling Time Inc

So Richard Parsons is "not an advocate" of selling Time Inc. I consider myself very fortunate to have worked at Time Inc for more than ten years at the end of the hey-day...through the 1980's, when Ray Cave was editing a first class, respected, timely (no pun intended) and newsworthy magazine. It was a great time, very satisfying, and continued until Robber Baron Steve Ross (remember him?) did his financial tricks and let the Wall Street Fox in with the chickens. I think that thirty years from now, business historians will look back on American industry (not just Time Inc., or publishing and printing, but everything) and write that management decisions that were made by companies in response to pressure to meet Wall Street targets effectively destroyed American Business. Greed is good, or that's what they thought in the 1990's with Time Warner and AOL Time Warner. It was great to have been part of a class act in publishing. Sort of like being lucky enough to take the Queen Mary I on the last transatlantic crossing from London to New York. End of an era, never to be repeated.

(Submitted by a Senior Manufacturing Publishing Director)

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