Monday, September 10, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Jobs, Mags, and our Future

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Jobs, Mags, and our Future

Re: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Jobs, Mags, and our Future
Your "loyal reader's" (below) comment reminded me of the experiences I have frequently had during the past few years with our magazine wholesalers and retailers. It led me to pick up an article in last week's Newsweek Magazine entitled "Era of the Super Cruncher". The gist of the article is that "expertise and intuition can be replaced by objective, data based decision making. Those who control and manipulate this data will be the masters of the new economic universe," according to the article.

This seems to tie in with "loyal reader's" statement that once he was a craftsman, now he is overhead.

The same could be said for newsstand distribution. Representatives of the publishers and national distributors used to rely on instinct, intuition, a study of past sales and like titles in categories and then work their business relationships with wholesalers who (at least the good ones) had long term ties to the communities and retail locations they serviced.

Now everything is managed remotely by people who have no ties to the retailers or the communities they service and the deliveries are, frequently, third party. There is no room for intuition, experience, salesmanship or even relationship building. The numbers are the numbers are the numbers (Of course, if you give us a little more discount and buy this promotion - which we won't guarantee full distribution on, we can change your numbers...). If this is progress, perhaps we should see what our sales efficiencies were before consolidation and after.

As a representative of smaller publishers, I can't change the distribution paradigm. I can believe in the Tooth Fairy and be all I want to be, but I can't change the paradigm. But I can and do work in and around it. I passionately believe that print and web and and should work together and can sell each other - so, I just try to live in this brave new paradigm and hope the bean counters keep thinking I am worth keeping around.

(Submitted by a Newsstand Guy who was also recently reminded by upper senior executive level "my stocks worth more than yours" management that he, too, is overhead)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Media Buyers, Mags, and Football
While you are correct that publishing a Sport magazine like a (Football Fantasy) is difficult to have timely information; you don't need e-paper to rectify the problem. All you have to have is a web-site that consumers can down load (print on dead tree paper) the most current information.

You remind me of those dorky kids that took metal lunch pals to school. Us brown-bagger don't want to walk around holding my e-paper all day. That is the beauty of recycle paper, I don't need to worry if it stolen, broken, etc. When its usefulness is done, I toss it out.

Besides, the new I-pods now will have Internet access, which have already made e-paper obsolete. The beauty of Magazines and down loaded printed info is the transportability of it. Like everything in life e-paper will work on certain categories and not on others.

Keep up the good job, enjoy reading your point of view.
(Submitted by an Unknown)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Media Buyers, Mags, and Football
Bo, I have three sons; ages 18, 16, and 12. All three read paper magazines about their chosen interests. The fact that in two out of three cases those interests are *electronic gaming* does not stop them for wanting to curl up with an ink-on-paper magazine at the end of the day.

Unless and until an "e-paper" solution has all the virtues of paper: portability, ease of

reading, disposability, low-cost of use, low entry cost, low risk (read in the bathtub, like I

read magazines and my husband, too) etc. I don't think niche/passion magazines will be dinosaurs.
(Submitted by a Multi-Title Publisher)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Media Buyers, Mags, and Football
I stopped buying the fantasy football pubs a few years ago. The online sites (I like are simply better sources of information and are up-to-the-minute regarding the latest player developments. The price for the online service is probably comparable to what you paid for three fantasy magazines, and it includes weekly match up forecasts and daily player news throughout the football season (after all, a fantasy owner's job is just beginning at the draft!)

Is this yet another indication that print is dead? No, it's an indication that for the very latest news and information, the web can't be beat. I am a firm believer that in-depth reporting and full-length magazine narratives will always be best received on a dead tree.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Media Buyers, Mags, and Football
Thanks bo, It's readers like you that continue to support my titles. I publish several small niche titles for readers just like you. Your description is my mission. I publish titles that my readers feel they must have. It's all about understanding your clients and never, ever forgetting that without passionate readers you have nothing.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: On Media Buyers, Mags, and Football
Great to hear about your love of football. Maybey ou can add a summary of game results on Monday morning? Or better yet add a demo based on the city you live to get your insights on upcoming games!

Forget about epaperm watch the next iPod for the first real digital handheld device for reading that will be sold to the consumer. This time next year, you will see kids reading on iPods! Schools are already purchasing ebooks for iPods.

The problem with epaper is there is no system to deliver the data. ITunes handles the delivery very well except you need to connect to a computer. With the iPhone you will be able to get away from the computer.
(Submitted by a Global Procurement manager)

Re: Bauer Upping Most Low-Cost Weeklies' Cover Prices
Bo, this is detrimental to true market demand and not good for unit demand. The consumer has determined Bauer's success, which has always been recognized by the publisher. The model works for the publisher, and you know what they say if it aint broke. The dollars will look good but it will again lead to a major decline in unit sales on an industry wide level and especially at publisher level. If a consumer chose a Bauer publication based on price over the competitive titles will they now chose to buy nothing as the price creeps closer to the competition? If so, how does this model work for the distribution channel? Essentially, when a newsstand customer purchases a low priced Bauer publication they are hiring the product to do a chosen edit content, which ever it may be, at a low cost. Clearly Bauer has carved our a niche. Wholesalers understandably want to carry less on their trucks of titles that do not sell, not less on there trucks of what used to sell.
(Submitted by an unknown from a major Publisher)

Re: And now, Grim Words from The Reaper
I've read with interest the Speak out series that gives everyone an option to vent their thoughts and opinions. Our industry changed years ago. Once the large became larger and the publisher and yes printers (accountants started to think pennies and not nickels) this industry changed.

Not being able to see beyond ones nose, thinking that if I can save a penny it will better the bottom line and more importantly having individuals in high management positions who do not have a complete understanding of our industry put another nail in our industries coffin. Sounds awful doesn't it. It is.

I've always respected the production people I've spoken to over the years. But the one's who know their stuff are disappearing or retiring (?).

We're losing the knowledge and expertise we one had. Too bad.
(Submitted by a Printer)

RE: My former employer

I just wanted to tell someone today that I am eternally grateful for my life as a self-employed writer. We all have our difficult spells, but I thank the gods and goddesses that I'm no longer at a newspaper.

My former employer, The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville just had a major shake up. On Friday, they announced the abolition of Metro, Lifestyle and Features departments in favor of interest "groups". They also abandoned most of the existing beats--no more movie reviewer, no more music writer. All the existing reporters now have to reapply for newly created positions. So the guy who's been doing movies for 10 years and the guy who's been doing music get to both apply for one "entertainment writer" job which doesn't include reviewing at all. The former Home and Garden editor can apply for the "nesting" writer job or just become a GA. All this in an atmosphere where people dare not complain because there are been plenty of layoffs in other departments.

When I left there in 2004, I was the Features editor and I'm cannot tell you how happy I am to have been spared all this. Apparently, the Atlanta paper did a similar thing a couple of months ago
(Posted by a Writer)

Re: The Worst PR Debacle in History
Two points appear to be lost to the "media" etc.

1) That even though there should have been no lead in any of the paint no child was killed, injured or maimed. So where is the actual damage--except to Mattel.

2) That Mattel is supposed to be taking a sample from each day of production and sends them to lab --one in China and one in the USA. How come both labs didn't find the paint problem?

The fault should not be with China but with the American mfg that allowed this to happen.

(Submitted by a Toy Consultant)

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