Monday, June 11, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

"In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane."
Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900)

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Now now, robert.... selling ad space on the front page is not much different that "GE Theater" on TV in the 1950s and 1960s or "...brought to you by..." comments people are used to on TV and radio. Or how about various events named after organizations... or stadiums (ummmm... sorry.... stadia.... my Latin teacher is cringing).... For years entertainers and their shows were associated with sponsors. Magazines aren't exempt, and neither is news. I kind of remember some guy named Swayze doing the news and saying something about Timex watches, and even doing demonstrations.

What were you... born yesterday? :)

(Submitted by Senior Industry Analyst and Pundit)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

The only thing wrong with the WWD banner ad is the lack of a little "x" in a box in the upper right hand corner that will let me get rid of it. One more advantage for those crafty digital types! Drat.

(Submitted by a Printer)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Vintage BoSacks it is! I once heard a motivational tape that described Socrates as a gadfly, who went from venue to venue stinging those in leadership positions with his questions and comments. I believe that is the same quality attributed to biblical prophets. Avoid drinks containing Hemlock.

(Submitted by a Senior Ad Sales Director)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

We've been running ads on the front cover of several of our publications (when we can get the business). Aesthetics be damned. Quite simply, desperate times call for desperate measures. We're surviving by the skin of our teeth. If we can bring in an extra hundred thousand to the bottom line, that's at least one job we might be saving.

(Submitted by a Director of Manufacturing and Distribution)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Bob, I am not sure it is unethical. Design-wise its not that cool but newspapers and magazines make money on ads. If they want to put them on the cover (or in this case part of the cover) does the reader automatically think that the publisher has further reduced his or her title's independence? As a reader, I do not particularly see it that way. I do agree, though, that the accountability issues regarding distribution are critical to our industry, but exploring new ways to generate revenue is a prerogative of any business. And, if readers do not want ads on covers they will make it known with their wallets and limited available attention.

(Submitted by a Circulator and Author)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page
There is nothing new about this, magazines and newspapers a hundred years ago did it all the time. Indeed up until the 1960s the Times of London had a front page consisting exclusively of small ads, and a venerable British magazine, The Illustrated London News, if I remember correctly did the same right up till the early 60s.
(Submitted by an Industry Consultant and Author)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Bob, It is said that is much easier for a rich man to have principles, he can afford them. I'm a staunch church and state guy but selling ad space on the front cover is one of those evolutions that is inevitable in many instances and I don't think it's necessarily a case of lack of vertebrae. In a declining market you are forced to look at all opportunities to retain and attract advertising but of course without sacrificing true integrity. It is a reasonable argument that front covers are real estate and subdividing for revenue isn't by definition and integrity betrayal. It will take some new guidelines to rationalize the right and wrong but things like product placement in editorial shoots or volume advertisers getting editorial coverage as their due are far more egregious in my view. My favorite soccer team growing up was a Scottish team, Celtic, and I prized the jersey I had as a kid. Today, like all premier league teams, their uniform is adorned with a logo, for Celtic it's a beer, Carling. (So much for role modeling for kids!) While it pains me to see the purity of the green and white stripes so crassly adorned by a beer brand it is true that your sensibility adapts and you are more concerned about their play. So too will it be with a magazine, need to sell off a piece of your great property when times are tough? If you can live with the fact that you won't get it back but still have pride in your curb appeal and editorial retains a sense of integrity...I think this is a revenue reality of compromise and it has plenty of company. Would that we were all rich enough to afford the highest principles then we could condescend on greed . . .we haven't hit bottom at all yet...just lower third.

(Submitted by a Senior Publishing Executive)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Bravo to your comments and biblical quotation,

(Submitted by an Editorial Director, Retired)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Bo, Nobody is getting it and you are right, it is all about greed.

When Roy Reiman began his success ride years ago, every media buyer was begging him to sell space in his magazines. John Deere alone offered him some amazing figure for the back page of all his farming related stuff.

His comment, "as long as I own Reiman Publishing, you will never see commercial advertising in our magazines". He kept his word and must have done something right because he sold to Madison Dearborn Partners for a pretty handsome sum, who in turn sold the Reiman Publishing Company to Readers Digest for $750 million big ones.

I am going to beat the dead horse until something happens. When is anybody going to tell it like it is. The magazine publishing industry it in a downward spiral because of too much duplication facing the media buyers. What fitness magazine, cooking magazine, golfing magazine, travel magazine, etc, do you want to use up your print advertising $$$$. Answer is none. Go someplace else, like direct mail, cable TV, Internet, etc.

The last announcements from the paper industry prove my point that the magazine industry is in a free fall. The closure of Tembec in St Francisville, La, 250,000 short tons, of mostly light weight publishing grades with some minor commercial catalog grades.

UPM closure of their Mirmachi, New Brunswick mill, 350,000 metric tons per year of mostly all light weight publication papers.

Take a look at the consolidation in the printing industry, with the likes of RRD buying up Banta, Perry Judd's and Von Hoffman. Nnothing looks good for the magazine business because this type of consolidation will drive up prices. Add to this, the new postal rate plus the price of printing ink just went up another 10%.

Like I am asking, when is someone really going to tell it like it is?

(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Yes, edit is next - on line it is next! (or now) Because by all appearances, the electronic publishing model has yet to leave room for paying journalists well enough to get good journalism. All the online is still primarily driven by print journalism, it seems to me. So if you can't pay real journalists, worse than paid journalism is amateur rehashes of press releases, from publishers who are not even being paid! I see that now. Tonnage and timeliness vs. research, thoughtfulness, and quality journalistic standards.

(Submitted by a Publisher and life-long friend of BoSacks)

Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Selling Ads on the Front Page

Bo-Man. Thanks for the slap across the face. Your wake-up calls are always appreciated. I hope that you are collecting your works for a publishing perspective book at some point in the near future. I have been reading your pontifications for what seems like decades. I wanted to tell you that I have never found you to be wrong. You've got real biting criticism . . well yes. Painful explosions of truth to rebuild our industry, . well, damn yes. But actually wrong? . . . I would have to say no. . . Not that I can recall. And that is from someone who knows you from the early 1970's.

(Submitted by a multi-title Publisher)

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