Monday, June 25, 2007

The want ads department

c"It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious."
Alfred North Whitehead (British Mathematician and Philosopher, 1861-1947)

The want ads department

By: Edited by Valerie Block

Publisher David Carey was pressing the flesh last week during the final stretch of his race to fill Conde Nast Portfolio's second issue with ads. He met with clients to share enthusiastic e-mails from some of the business title's high-profile readers, media buyers say.

His efforts to retain all his advertisers haven't been entirely successful. The debut issue, which arrived in April amid tremendous hype and mixed reviews, had 185 ad pages. The September issue will have roughly 120, a Portfolio spokeswoman says.

One executive at a major media-buying shop explains why some clients whose ads appeared in the first issue will not return: "They expected a more hard-hitting, substantive business environment, and what they got was a fashion-centric, business-as-background type of Conde Nast title," he says.

Portfolio executives say the publication is meeting its original goals, which were to run an average of 125 pages in September, October and November. "This was the plan," says the spokeswoman. "We have solid fall issues and at least 30 new advertisers."

Mr. Carey will be booking September ads until July 10.

Union Rejects Time Inc. Offer

Union Representing Time Inc. Magazine Workers Rejects Contract Offer From Company

NEW YORK (AP) -- Members of a union representing editorial employees at Time, Fortune, People and other magazines at Time Inc. have unanimously rejected a contract offer from the company.

The Newspaper Guild of New York said Friday its members had voted 133-0 to turn down the company's offer, which the union said would have "drastically cut" severance pay, provided no guaranteed wage increases and allowed the company in several cases to change health coverage without consulting the guild.

The union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming that the magazine publisher, part of the media conglomerate Time Warner Inc., has been bargaining in bad faith by presenting proposals that "demonstrate a lack of intent to ever reach an agreement."

Negotiations have been going on since last December, and the most recent contract expired on March 22, the guild said. In January, Time Inc. announced nearly 300 job cuts, including 100 union-covered jobs.

In addition to editorial employees at Time and Fortune, the guild also represents workers at Time Inc.'s Fortune Small Business, Money, People and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Time Inc. spokeswoman Dawn Bridges said in a statement that the company "gave the union very fair and reasonable proposals, including generous severance, a merit pay system and overtime after 40 hours work. Our hope and expectation is to reach a new contract."
The Weeklies'/Biweeklies' 2007-Versus-2006 Ad Pages At Mid-Year: "Gossip" Remains Advertising Stronger Than "Real" News And Business.

We do not know whether the ever-growing legion of Us Weekly/InTouch/Life & Style Weekly and Star readers fully believe the never-ending pregnancies/anorexia/bulimia/obesity/marriages/separations/divorces afflicting America's celebrities, but advertisers continue to believe in the product. All of the aforementioned are up significantly in ad pages through the first half, with Bauer Publishing's IT (+30.20%) and L&SW (+51.83%) posting the biggest differentials overall. (Success did not stop L&SW editor-in-chief Mark Pasetsky from dismissing seven staffers last week.) That suggests quite an ad "welcome wagon" for Bauer's planned September launch of Cocktail Weekly, which advertising president Ian Scott said (min, May 7, 2007) will be less gossipy and more in the beauty/fashion/relationships mold of Cosmopolitan and Glamour. But, given the numbers, it is not only a woman who has the right to change her mind.

People (-1.91% through June) is not on this ad gravy-train perhaps because it is not gossipy enough, but it certainly earns more than its rivals combined. Conditions are tough at Newsweek (-7.21%) and the restructured Time (-5.57%), and continue to be so at BusinessWeek (-12.58%), Forbes (-3.52%), and Fortune (-17.43%). The much-improved economy and strong stock market (in spite of end-of-first-quarter concerns) is not yet reflected here.

We cannot guarantee that TV Guide's +29.74% first-half has removed it from intensive care, but the differential is the most pleasing since its major overhaul in October 2005. New-to-min's-boxscores The Nation did better "left" (+23.03%) than National Review did "right" (-7.77%).

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