Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fertile Ground for Magazines

Fertile Ground for Magazines
By Eric Benderoff
Tribune staff reporter 0704110766apr12,0,3666288.story?coll=chi- business-hed

Publications are pulling the plug on their print editions as they cultivate rapidly growing online revenue options

Final print copies of InfoWorld, a 29-year-old weekly computer magazine, were shipped to subscribers last week.

Death was attributed to plummeting print revenues and declining readership.

"There's no guarantee anymore that when InfoWorld landed on a desk, it would be read," explained Bob Ostrow, InfoWorld's chief executive.

At the same time, the magazine's online version is thriving. Killing off print to focus on online is a growing trend in the magazine business, as evidenced by recently folded titles such as Child and FHM. The trend is especially prominent among business-to- business publications.

"Editors and salespeople will tell you that you can't create online products fast enough to satisfy readers and advertisers," said Tony Silber, editor and publisher of Folio, a magazine for the publishing industry. "Print media used to be the key revenue source, but now it's a very subordinate piece of the pie."

Chuck Richard, a vice president and analyst with Outsell Inc., a media research firm, said online revenue growth rates for magazines "are always in the double digits. Sometimes it's in the 20 to 30 percent range and certain titles are in the 40 to 50 percent range."

The only loser for business publishers? Print, where ad revenues are "flat or negative 5 percent," Richard said. InfoWorld is a case in point.

Ad pages in the print issue had fallen 18 percent in January and 14 percent in February. Meanwhile, online readership in February grew 85 percent year- over-year, Ostrow said, and the bulk of the magazine's revenues were being generated from its online publication.

So when the print version of InfoWorld was spiked, the "market termed it as a non-event," Ostrow said. "The advertisers didn't blink."

With the move, 10 print production jobs were eliminated while the company hired a few multimedia producers to bolster the magazine's online presentation.

"We stay in front of our readers with e-mailed newsletters, a daily podcast they can subscribe to and RSS feeds," Ostrow said, referring to daily updates directly to subscribers' computers.

"We think it all works together," Ostrow said.

It's not just banner ads that draw revenues. Rather, it's the opportunity for an advertiser to sponsor an event or an e-mailed newsletter, Richard said. "It's a multilayer source for revenue."

In its 2007 forecast, Outcast said revenue for professional events, like seminars, is expected to grow 6 percent; revenue for sponsored e-mails should increase by 11 percent; sponsored Webinars, or online seminars, are expected to rise 28 percent; and even white papers, or sponsored content, is expected to grow by 38 percent.

Yet at some magazines, the shift is more of a reflection of age-old publishing concerns, where titles face stiff competition. Child, one of several similar titles published by Meredith Corp., struggled as the least popular sibling among American Baby, Parents and Family Circle.

American Baby focuses on neo-natal care and a baby's first year, while Parents covers toddlers. Each reach 2 million monthly readers. Family Circle, for parents of tweens and teenagers, reaches 4 million.

"Child was geared to upscale and working two- income families," said Art Slusark, Meredith's vice president for communications. But its content overlapped American Baby and Parents and its circulation fell from more than 1 million in 2005 to roughly 825,000.

Child's last print publication is due this summer. After that, Child's content will be available only online -- or folded into some of Meredith's other magazines.

Roughly 60 positions are being eliminated in the print magazine's closing, and Meredith is taking a $3 million charge for severance costs and another $7 million charge to write off assets for Child as it transitions into a broader online portal.

Child will be reborn in July as part of a parenting portal that will include podcasts, videos, blogs and other e- products.

"We think that is where the growth is going to be," Slusark said. "Online revenues are growing at a much faster pace than print, better than 50 percent annually in some cases."

Until the portal is launched, Meredith will use to lure readers to its other publications. For instance, when visitors go to the Web site for potty training advice, the first bit of information they see is a pop-up ad for Parents magazine.

FHM, the once highflying "lad" magazine known for photos of scantily clad celebrities, is also being reborn online. Its last print edition is still on newsstands, but it is scampering to serve online its gadget-happy 18-34 male demographic.

"We thought we'd beat the other magazines to the punch," said Scott Kritz, editor in chief. "For our demo of younger men, online is the best way to reach them. We've been seeing a lot of advertising shifting online."

FHM laid off most of its print editorial staff but has expanded its online staff, he said. "I was nervous the first two weeks after we suspended the print magazine, but not anymore. It's ramping up" Kritz said.

FHM recently hired an online ad firm, Gorilla Nation, which signed several new clients in the last week. Some advertisers, including Miller Brewing Co., remained after the transition.

Still, Kritz is conflicted about the change away from print.

"The reason I got into this field is I always loved magazines," said the former computer science and journalism student. "But that's not the way people consume information these days. Online is easy, convenient. It's right in front of you.

"For better or worse, that is the way things are going." to Merge Into to Merge Into
by Lucia Moses sp?vnu_content_id=1003570645

Less than a year after its print edition closed, will cease to exist as an independent site by the end of the month. Visitors to the teen site will be directed to People’s, which will carry teen-focused stories that are branded as may pick up features unique to the teen site like polls and quizzes.

“We decided to do this because as we look at the activity on, stories about teen-centric celebrities do very well, and we get a nice amount of teen-demo traffic,” said Mark Golin, editor of The thinking, he said, was, “We’ve got traffic on TeenPeople, People is a larger site, why not combine and have the teen traffic going to one place?”

Asked if the site were doing poorly, he said, “If that were case, we wouldn’t continue to use the brand.” will offer advertisers the chance to move their programs to, a spokesperson said. has operated as a standalone site since mid-2006, when Time Inc. folded the print edition of Teen People. Teen People had launched eight years earlier, paving the way for other new teen magazines competing with the established Seventeen, Teen and YM.

The site had 435,000 unique visitors in March 2006, but a year later, it didn't meet minimum sample size standards needed to reliably project audience size, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. It was supported by two full-time staffers and a network of freelancers. One of the full-timers will work for and the other, who worked remotely from Nebraska, will leave the company, the spokesperson said.

Hachette Filipacchi Media’s ElleGirl also folded its print edition last year as the company focuses more attention online. ElleGirl and the U.S. edition of Premiere, which also folded, continue to operate in an online form. Hachette is bullish on ElleGirl. Marta Wohrle, vp, director of digital media, Hachette, said the site is on track to double its revenue in 2007 over the year prior, and has attracted Target and Cover Girl among its new advertisers after it relaunched in October.

Why Ideas Aren't What They Used to Be

Why Ideas Aren't What They Used to Be
And Why That's Good for Creativity
By Marc Brownstein

A few years ago, Hershey Foods approached Ogilvy with the assignment of creating a spectacular billboard to be displayed in Times Square. Ogilvy responded by creating a retail store in Times Square, with a spectacular billboard on top of it. Irresponsible? Exactly the opposite. It was a move that was ahead of its time. And an example of where our business is headed.

The days of filling prescriptions with just print, TV, radio and billboards is not just over but recommending that today will get your agency in trouble with your client. Truly.

Folks, the new media that we live with today has forced us to go back to our roots and remind us of what business we are in: ideas. Any kind of idea. But certainly not one with a pre-destined media scrip attached to it. It has to be a free-form idea, applicable to anything, anywhere. Like a microsite. Or a guerilla effort. It's OK to recommend print, or direct mail, but it's made more relevant when it drives you somewhere, like the microsite, to seek more information about the brand.

A lot of people in the advertising business bemoan the state of the industry today. But I think it's incredibly exciting. And so do a lot of copywriters and art directors I talk with. Think about it: The discipline of coming up with a concept, without pre-destined media vehicles, is very liberating. I'd argue that it disciplines a creative team into having a laser focus on solving the marketing problem, without being encumbered by the "where" phase of the marketing plan. Better ideas are being birthed. Creatives are having more fun. Clients are getting better work. And, ultimately, advertising will continue to be relevant and effective for years to come.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting

BoSacks Speaks Out: One of the great comforts of doing this newsletter for as long as I have is that my base readers know what I will say before I have to say it. So tonight, I am going to wait to hear from you. What do you have to say about this news release from the MPA and the PIB? Please, . . . I would like to gather a collection of industry reactions. When I gather them together, I will broadcast my own at the same time.

FIB, n. A lie that has not cut its teeth. An habitual liar's nearest approach to truth: the perigee of his eccentric orbit.
Ambrose Bierce (American Writer, Journalist and Editor, 1842-1914)

Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
by Joe Mandese fuseaction=Articles.showArticleHomePage&art_aid=5 8563

IN THE LATEST MOVE IN an ongoing trend reducing the flow of information about the advertising performance of major traditional media, the magazine industry Tuesday announced it would discontinue its monthly reports on advertising pages and revenues booked by major consumer magazine publishers. The reports, which have been distributed publicly to advertisers, agencies and the industry's trade press by the Publishers Information Bureau for more than a quarter century, will now be released quarterly effective with the first-quarter 2007 report.

The PIB, a division of the Magazine Publishers of America, said it was making the move to quarterly reports to provide a "broader context" on the supply and demand of consumer magazine advertising pages, and to dissuade advertisers, agencies and industry analysts from drawing conclusions based on the vagaries of monthly reports--but the move is the latest in a pattern of similar moves by other media trade groups over the past several years that appears to be suppressing, not enhancing the flow of information about the advertising performance of their member media companies.

After years of publicly reporting cable network advertising totals on a monthly basis, the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association suspended those reports in 2001 at the behest of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau. Last year, after years of publicly reporting the daypart and overall revenue totals of the Big 3 broadcast networks on a quarterly basis, the BCFM also suspended those.

After years of reporting indices and percent changes for national, network and local radio advertising results on a monthly basis, the Radio Advertising Bureau in December 2006 said it would discontinue distributing that data on a monthly basis, although it would continue to make it available via its Web site, and would begin distributing more robust data--including advertising dollar totals for radio--on a quarterly basis beginning this year. Radio's first quarterly results are scheduled to be released May 1.

Wayne Eadie, president of the PIB, said the magazine industry's move was also being made to conform with how other media trade groups report their medium's advertising results. The Newspaper Association of America has historically reported newspaper ad volume quarterly, and the Television Bureau of Advertising has reported broadcast ad revenues quarterly. The CAB has not reported any cable advertising revenues for years.

One trade group that continues to report its data on a monthly basis, and is actually expanding it to include new sources of data such as online and digital media sales, and even revenues from events, is American Business Media, an association representing business-to-business publishers.

The MPA has been in talks with the Interactive Advertising Bureau about developing a similar reporting scheme for the online properties of consumer magazine publishers, but it is unclear if and when that might come to fruition. One of the problems with that project is trying to establish an even-handed and accepted basis for estimating the advertising revenues of online publishers versus the PIB, which utilizes--for better or worse--published magazine rate cards and advertising page counts as a uniform standard across publications.

It's unclear whether other industry groups have plans for estimating and reporting the advertising revenue stream derived from online versions of TV, radio and newspapers, but those sources are expected to grow at far faster rates than those of their traditional media inventory.

The timing of the PIB's move is interesting, because it coincides with a relatively flat period for print advertising growth--something some observers might see as a move to squelch potential downward trends.

"I'm disheartened to hear that it might be perceived as a lack of transparency, because that's not what it's about," said Ellen Oppenheim, chief marketing officer of the MPA. "We're hoping to provide more information and a broader perspective than one month can provide."

An especially vexing issue for the MPA's members was that people might draw significant trends from the monthly statistics that were mere anomalies in publishers' or category results.

"One of the things that we've noticed is if you index something off a small base versus a big base things become magnified," she explained. "We were finding that people were looking at month-to-month trends as meaningful, and we felt they needed a larger context. We don't want it to be less transparent. We want it to be a stronger perspective."

Joe Mandese is Editor of MediaPost.

TV Pharma Ads Are Not As Effective As Print

Study Reveals TV Pharma Ads Are Not As Effective As Print
by Nina M. Lentini fuseaction=Articles.san&s=58545&Nid=29254&p=204 904

AFFINITY, WHICH RESEARCHED CONSUMER REACTIONS to pharmaceutical advertising in the first quarter of the year, has found that fewer people recall TV drug ads than they do print ads for drugs.

The research and consulting firm surveyed 4,000 people by showing them visual storyboards of direct- to-consumer (DTC) TV ads and found that 36% recalled specific TV campaigns. That compares with 50% that recall specific print campaigns.

However, Affinity also compared consumer reaction among those with and without the medical problems associated with specific drugs and found that those with ailments had higher recall of ads that discussed their ailments and took the most action to find out more about the advertised product. In some cases, the percentage was double or more. For example, 43% of people who suffer with osteoporosis recalled a TV ad for Fosamax Plus D compared with only 19% of non-sufferers.

"Recall can double even though TV is viewed by many as being a broad medium," says Affinity's managing director, Tom Robinson. "The reality is, you're reaching enough of them that you're having impact among the target audience."

The top-recalled DTC categories were sleep disorder at 64% average recall; erectile dysfunction at 42%, and high cholesterol at 42%. Among the top campaigns were those for Lunesta (70% recall), Lamisil (67%) and Nasonex (65%).

Recall scores among women were higher than among men, the study found, while net-action levels generated after exposure were similar. The top actions consumers took were "Have a more favorable opinion about the brand," "Ask a doctor of other medical professional about the product" and "Gather more information about the product."

The campaign that generated the highest action score among consumers was Roche's Tamiflu, a drug designed to treat the flu within the first two days of symptoms.

Nearly 60 unique campaigns ran in the first quarter, Robinson says. One of the general issues addressed by the survey was the way prescription drug advertising is viewed by consumers. "There is some confusion about this category," he notes. "One of the intentions is to get people to comply with their own prescriptions and the numbers show this kind of impact is pretty small."

As for consumer perception, Affinity found that consumers most often turn to "Doctor, nurse or pharmacist," "Friends, colleagues or family members" and "Health-related articles on Web sites" for information about new medications.

Other key findings:

More than eight out of ten consumers (81%) believe that prescription drug commercials should also highlight the potential risks and side effects of the advertised medication.

More than four out of ten consumers (41%) believe that TV commercials are a good way to learn about new prescription drug medications.

One-third of consumers (33%) report that after viewing specific DTC commercials, they were better equipped to talk to their own doctor about potential treatments.

Nina M. Lentini edits Marketing Daily.

Zell Thinks Real Estate, Ignores Steal Estate

In Buying Tribune Co. Zell Thinks Real Estate, Ignores Steal Estate
By Simon Dumenco article_id=115953

Investor Sees Future in Newspaper Sites -- Guess He Hasn't Noticed the Kleptomedia Running Wild Online

If you're reading these words on the internet, do you really care where exactly in cyberspace you're reading them?

Sam Zell seems to be looking at the Tribune Co. newspaper brands much as he looks at grade-A office space. Only problem is, Zell is actually investing primarily in what's destined to rapidly become virtual office space.

It's a sad irony of Sam Zell's highly leveraged purchase of Tribune Co. using an employee-stock- ownership plan (ESOP) that journalists at all the various Tribune properties will be embarking on majority ownership of a major media company in the Age of Kleptomedia.

The word on Zell, of course, is that he made his fortune in real estate by buying distressed office buildings and turning them around. Given that newspapers are distressed properties, Zell sniffed major opportunity.

Real estate of the past
Sadly, though, I think Zell may be hampered precisely because of his real-estate background. He obviously thinks of the various Tribune papers -- The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, etc. -- as properties; literal properties. And for generations of readers, newspapers really did function as spaces -- as destinations. You had your cup of coffee and your paper and you immersed yourself in that destination; you really could lose yourself in it. Newspapers even seemed real-estate- ish: If you spread a broadsheet out on your kitchen table or desk to read it, it obliterated everything else. A newspaper had, in real-estate-speak, a major footprint.

Zell seems to be looking at the storied Tribune Co. newspaper brands much as he looks at grade-A office space. Sure, he's thinking, valuations have taken a beating, but in most cases the Tribune papers are still the premier properties in their respective markets.

Only problem is, to extend the real-estate metaphor, Zell is actually investing primarily in what's destined to rapidly become virtual office space. And, worse, squatters demonstrably have no problem co-opting and colonizing that space.

Transient readership
We're all supposed to be overlooking declining print circ at newspapers; the print operations of newspapers, we generally understand, are doomed. And we're supposed to be cautiously optimistic (as Zell clearly is) that at many newspapers online readership (and revenue) is growing dramatically. But the truth is that readers simply don't reside in newspapers' online spaces in the same way that they used to reside in their print editions. From a quality- real-estate standpoint, newspaper sites might technically qualify as grade-A cyberspace -- but most readers are, at best, just passing through their lobbies.

Rick Edmonds, a media-business analyst at the Poynter Institute, late last year issued a report titled "A Closer Look at Plunging Circulation." It includes this ominous passage:

"According to Nielsen/Net Ratings research numbers ... the average visitor spent 41 minutes at newspaper websites -- that is all sites, not those of a single local newspaper. A closer look at those numbers, however, underscores the difficulty of the industry's current business dilemma. If you divide that monthly total into a daily one ... the average time spent online would be about 1.4 minutes per day. (A recent NAA/Scarborough study estimated that the typical reader spends a little less than 30 minutes with the daily edition of the printed newspaper and more than 45 minutes on Sunday.)"

Extended stays at MySpace
Meanwhile, according to, the average MySpace user spends just under half an hour on the site per visit.

In a way, though, even worse than the obvious lack of serious engagement that online users have with newspaper sites is the specter of kleptomedia that I raised at the start of this column.

Let's rewind 20 years. In 1987's "The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT," Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand wrote: "Information wants to be free. Information also wants to be expensive.

Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine -- too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless, wrenching debate about price, copyright, 'intellectual property,' the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better."

He was writing way before the dawn of blogging, amazingly.

Motorcycles, not media cycles
Sam Zell is 65. Sure, he rides motorcycles and he seldom wears a tie, but I wonder if he reads blogs -- or if he even knows any bloggers. I wonder if he knows that, circa 2007, it's silly to buy a herd of cows -- just to stray, for a moment, far afield of the office- space metaphor -- because everybody's distributing, copying and recombining the, uh, milk free.

I suppose it'd be a different story if Zell were in this for Noble Reasons. If, say, he had a deep and profound love of cows, and was convinced of the civic importance of making sure citizens get a steady supply of nutritious, professionally produced milk.

But, no. As Zell told Dave Carpenter of the Associated Press, he sees himself as "an opportunist" -- one who's just "not as pessimistic about the future of the newspaper business as others might be. I just think that newspapers are a part of our life and they're a part of our culture and a part of our society, and there will always be a place for them."

Isn't that sweet? And a little sad?

A neat-o deal
Barring a higher bid or regulatory complications, Zell will be leveraging his own $315 million investment to purchase Tribune Co., along with 20,000 Tribune employees, for $8.3 billion.

Zell will get to become the most powerful stakeholder with a comparatively minor investment. Neat-o, right? That's the magic of ESOP math.

But the financial mushiness of the ultimate "ownership" of the Tribune Co. is really just a side issue. In the Age of Kleptomedia, the larger question is: Who really owns the news?

New MPA Ad Campaign - Magazine Ad Pages Grow 1%

Magazine Ad Pages Grow Just 1% in First Quarter But Industry Sees 7% Bump in Revenue
By Nat Ives article_id=116015

NEW YORK ( -- Magazine ad pages in the first quarter of 2007 came in only 1% higher than in the slow kickoff quarter last year, according to new statistics from the Publishers Information Bureau. Family Circle, which saw ad pages up 30%, was a big winner during the first quarter. Golf Magazine didn't fare as well -- it was down 20%.

Estimated revenue, it should be noted, grew 6.9% over first-quarter 2006, according to the bureau. And even measured by ad pages, certain ad categories outperformed the average by a long shot. Ads for drugs and remedies, for example, consumed 13.7% more ad pages than they did last year, while retail grew 9.2% and food and food products expanded 7.3%.

Six major categories decline
But those gains were offset by declines in six of the 12 big ad categories tracked by the bureau, including home furnishings and supplies, which fell 15.5%, and financial, insurance and real estate, which dropped 10.8%.

Among the magazines, big winners included Dennis Publishing's Blender, where ad pages grew 35.6%; Meredith Corp.'s Family Circle, up 30.3%; National Geographic Traveler, up 34%; Time Inc.'s Real Simple, up 32%; and Sound & Vision, part of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., up 33.6%.

The news was worse for magazines including the Advocate, which saw ad pages decline 40.9%; Golf Magazine from Time Inc., down 20%; Guideposts, off 25.2%; Time Inc.'s Money, down 33.2%; Nickelodeon, down 40.3%; and PC Magazine, from Ziff Davis Publishing, down 38.8%.

The Publishers Information Bureau also said it is discontinuing monthly reports in favor of a quarterly model; the next numbers from them will arrive in July.


Big brands featured in MPA magazine ad campaign production/40688.html

Underscoring just how effective magazines can be in engaging consumers directly — and how they can improve advertisers’ results — four top-tier advertisers have joined the consumer magazine industry’s new advertising campaign.

Ads featuring Charles Schwab, Hewlett-Packard, Saturn and Verizon Wireless have been placed in trade-industry publications.

The ads feature jagged portions of a full-page ad that appears to have been torn from a magazine as well as copy that explains why readers often tear ads out and respond to them.

The online components of the campaign include the Web site at and banner ads.

Advertisers see the campaign as an opportunity to present more direct, in-depth product information to consumers so they can take the ad with them or pass it along to others.

The ads will run first in Advertising Age, Adweek, Brandweek, Mediaweek, Automotive News and the Advertiser, as well as on the Web sites of those trade publications. The ads will also run on the Web sites of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Jack Myer’s MediaVillage and the AAA SmartBrief newsletter.

At least 60 consumer magazines have committed to insert the ads in their complimentary copies this year. The copies are circulated to members of the ad community and in publishers’ letters that accompany the magazines.

The campaign is directed by the MPA’s Magazine Marketing Collation, which is comprised of MPA- member publishers and allied industries that include printers and paper manufacturers.

Their goal is to boost awareness of the effectiveness of consumer magazines in the advertising community.

Brian Williams Weighs In on New Media Submitted

Brian Williams Weighs In on New Media Submitted
by Kristen OGorman 487

Brian Williams, award-winning anchor and managing editor of the "NBC Nightly News," spoke before a packed room of NYU journalism students on Wednesday about his recent trip to Iraq and offered his advice to aspiring journalists.

And, as anticipated, Williams also spoke about the role the explosion of online media has played in traditional media.

"You’re going to be up against people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe,” said Williams. “All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I’m up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn’t let the efficiency apartment in two years."

Williams compared this to a New Yorker cartoon featuring two dogs sitting in front of a computer and one says to the other: “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.”

"On the Internet, no one knows if you’ve been to Ramadi or you’ve just been to Brooklyn and just have an opinion about Ramadi," said Williams.

"And now, apparently because encyclopedias were too exact, we have Wikipedia, the inexact encyclopedia. We don’t get hung up on facts. In my entry alone there are seven errors, and I’m completely unimportant."

While Williams is certainly not against blogs—he has a blog, The Daily Nightly, that he updates every day and speaks very highly of some other blogs, like Michael Yon’s—he does worry that the explosion of useless, frivolous media is causing us to miss out on something.

"If we’re all watching cats flushing toilets, what aren’t we reading? What great writer are we missing? What great story are we ignoring? This is societal, it’s cultural, I can’t change it. We should maybe pause to think about it. Because like everybody else, I can burn an hour on YouTube or Perez Hilton without breaking a sweat. And what have I just not paid attention to that 10 years ago I would’ve just consumed?"

But if a journalist doesn't embrace new media, he or she isn't going to be around much longer. According to Williams, a reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer was fired recently because he refused to start a blog.

"It seems to me that if I’m in print and everything around me says ‘updated seven minutes ago,’ I’m going to want to also have been updated seven minutes ago, if not six," said Williams. "He or she who doesn’t adapt dies."

Trade Mags No Longer Press, Event Revenues Surpass Print

“The key to change... is to let go of fear.”
Rosanne Cash

Trades No Longer Press, Event Revenues Surpass Print
by Joe Mandese fuseaction=Articles.san&s=58477&Nid=29195&p=204 904

IN A MILESTONE SYMBOLIC OF the shifts taking place across all media, business-to-business media can no longer be described as the "trade press." That's because print advertising now represents a minority of the revenues generated by business-to- business media companies. According to a compilation of 2006 revenue data released Monday by American Business Media, "face-to-face revenue" has surpassed print advertising sales for the first time in the history of the industry. By face-to-face revenues, the ABM means conferences, trade shows and events, which garnered $11.3 billion among ABM members participating in the association's Business Information Network tracking reports. That brings events to a 36% share of B-to-B revenues, nudging out B-to-B print advertising's 35% share for the first time ever.

It's a trend that is not likely to reverse itself. The ABM estimates that events is the third fastest growing source of revenues for B-to-B publishers, surpassed only by the rapid rise of digital (online) advertising sale and custom publishing. Print advertising, by comparison, has been steadily declining.

According to BIN estimates also released Monday, print advertising pages fell 3.1% in January vs. January 2006, while print advertising revenues were down 2.8% for the first month of the year. The worst category fittingly was media, with Movies/Radio/TV/Video trade press ad pages down 10.8% in January.

"As business media companies continue to move into a multiplatform environment, the industry is experiencing growth in three out of four of its major segments: trade shows, custom media and e-Media," ABM President-CEO Gordon Hughes stated, adding, "E-Media has grown a remarkable 22% in revenue over 2005, followed by custom media's 18% growth spurt and trade shows bringing up the rear at a 10% growth variance over 2005. Although ad pages and revenue for January 2007 showed a decline of 3.1% and 2.78% respectively, as predicted, the business media industry now represents $31.1 billion in revenues across all four platforms, making the power of the brand at the heart of everything you do."

Joe Mandese is Editor of MediaPost.

Monday, April 09, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Circ, AMI, Time, Covers and Jon Stewart

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Circ, AMI, Time, Covers and Jon Stewart

Re: Star Publisher to Slash Guaranteed Paid Circ

Bob: This article quotes a John J. Miller, COO of AMI, saying STAR's advertisers "like the transparency" of learning their ads were seen by 10% fewer readers than the minimum guarantee. Where I come from, it is a legal, and ethical, requirement to notify advertisers when the publication misses the ABC audited rate base for whatever reason. The next step is to agree on a rebate, additional insertion, makegood, or other compensation to give the client the audience reach he paid for. As your article says, AMI fiscal year results showed a loss of $160.9 million. The industry has been watching the AMI scam for years, and it is apparent that the newly found "transparency" is motivated not by sense of honesty and fair play, but by the belated realization that fraud in contractual agreements (insertion orders) and misrepresentation of financial results is of great interest to the staff at the SEC, and usually results in time served in prison.
(Submitted by a Senior Publishing Manager)

Re: AMI Bleeds $160 Million - Inside the Star Slashings
When you can get sick news on the internet ,why buy a tabloid which is old news?
Almost like Newsweek, US World Report and Time. Is this a surprise to these guys?????
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Is Time Warner's AOL A-OK?
I find personal experience is always a good indicator of how well a business is being run. Let's see...I first signed up for AOL around 1995 or so. Dial up seemed sufficient (remember the beep-beep-beeps from the modem - how quaint!) and I, along with millions of others, happily paid $23 per month for the new service. And the wonders of the internet! Wow! Since then, like the rest of AOL Time Warner, the business strategy has fossilized. I must have paid at least $3,036 ($23 x 12 months x 11 years) through direct credit card payments, no billing or collection fees for AOL. Now, I get AOL for free, just by asking. But even Free, it's no bargain.

Those stupid mortgage dancing presidents are REALLY annoying. And this is the business model with Wall Street thinks will be successful? The analysts should take a look at buying the bridge to Brooklyn just a few blocks east of their offices.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of MFG and DST)

Re: Is Time Warner's AOL A-OK?
Bob, who needs AOL if you have High Speed internet? Have you ever tried to cancel your AOL membership? It is very entertaining. No I don't want it anymore, No at $29.99 and no not either at $19.99. No really I don't.. not even at $9.99. I really don't need it please cancel it. Oh I have to hear you tell me about your other offers before you can cancel me...OK... No.. Nope.. not interested . . .nope.. no. Please cancel it, I wholeheartedly agree that I no longer whish to have my service.
(Submitted by a Paper Director)

Re: Magazine launches down in Q 1, '07
Why is this such a surprise? With no more such thing as the mass market, as suggested by Procter and Gamble which means markets have to be more pinpointed across several demographics, why should this not be true for magazine publishers?
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Before Jon Stewart - The Truth about Fake News
Wonderful article. Thanks for including it as I would never have seen it. Why does the Jon Stewart show appear more honest, intelligent, credible and respectable than Fox news, for example? The Jon Stewart show with the president of Pakistan was great, he has quite a sense of humor.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Before Jon Stewart - The Truth about Fake News
Talk about fake news . . . . . . I can't believe you would publish such crap.
(Submitted by an Unknown on a Blackberry)

Re: Before Jon Stewart - The Truth about Fake News

There goes my blackberry vibrating again. Bo go to sleep you work too hard for us every day!
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Before Jon Stewart - The Truth about Fake News
Bo you are the very best. What I have learned in the past 15 years from you is to expect the unexpected. You are best damn editor that I know of. Thanks for the thrills.
(Submitted by a Senior Publishing Sale Rep)

RE: The Magazine Split Cover Explosion
When I saw the title of this piece I thought, “At last! Someone is going to address the damage done to the products we produce by the USPS with their shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, elsewhere known as ‘automation equipment’” But then, I’m just a printer and generally concern myself with matters more mundane than those that occupy big brained publishers and high powered industry oracles.
(Submitted by a Printer and life-long pal of BoSacks)

RE: The Magazine Split Cover Explosion
During a split cover test I worked on for one weekly publisher, we got a significant number of complaints from newsstand buyers who felt tricked into purchasing two copies of the same issue, only to realize in the first few pages that "Hey, I've already read this issue". Customers who have been deceived, or who feel their subscriber cover is somehow inferior to the newsstand cover, will take that into account when renewal time comes around. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I cancel.
(Submitted by a Senior Production Director)

RE: The Magazine Split Cover Explosion
Bo, The first thing I do when I receive a magazine? Rip off the split cover(s), remove all blow-ins and remove all other bind-ins, inserts, and other clutter. These are distracting and annoying to the reader and I don't think I am the only one who feels this way.
(Submitted by a Prepress Manager at a global publisher)

RE: The Magazine Split Cover Explosion
hmmmmm . . . .covers that scream for attention . . . . newsstand sales on a long-term decline . . . . hmmmmm . . . .
(Submitted by a Bo’s Second Favorite Industry Pundit)

Re: Boomer Boon: 'Crazy Aunts and Uncles' Spend $1.7 Trillion
In the 14 years since I passed the age that many media planners feel I no longer exist:
I have purchased five different auto brands manufactured by four different carmakers.
My annual vacation has taken me to five different foreign and four different domestic destinations.
Carried by at least seven different airlines.

Business trips and conferences have found me in four different hotel chains.
I have changed my cell phone carrier three times and my primary banking relationship just as often.
My choice in restuarants, shows, clothing brands and music is just as eclectic as it was 24 years ago.

If you're no longer advertising to my affluence you are the one who is missing out. Not me.
(Submitted by a "senior" marketer)

Re: Boomer Boon: 'Crazy Aunts and Uncles' Spend $1.7 Trillion
Bob, Thanks for sending Boomer Boon: 'Crazy Aunts and Uncles' Spend $1.7 Trillion.” It’s sweet solace for those of us who routinely ask ourselves “How did my folks get to be so much cooler than I am and why haven’t the advertising agencies figured it out?” Disclosure: I work for a magazine that’s been frustrated by this question for years.

As a guy in his thirties with two kids I spend a lot of my consumer time hanging out in the diaper isle, comparing Elmo-branded products, and reading the labels on baby food jars. And I’m not alone. Most of my friends, even those pulling in the most money, are in the same boat.

Meanwhile, my Mom and Dad are having the fun they deserve in retirement and spending a lot of money. iPods, big screens, computers and the newest of new cell phones routinely grace their monthly statements, not to mention mountains of the most technologically advanced outdoor garb and membership fees for the gym where they work out to stay in shape for their next adventure-oriented trip. They are hip, curious, and can run further without stopping than I can. . . .

Guess who drives the four-door domestic and aging SUV destined for use until it dies? Hey media buyers, wake up and go after the real money. My wife and I are not your ticket to CPM nirvana. Don’t believe me. Ask your parents to dinner and see who picks up the tab.
(Submitted by a communications manager)

RE: Why are so Many Publications so Ugly?
This makes me think of direct marketing. I used to do a lot of it, and a rule of thumb was ugly often sold better than pretty. This article smacks of an insider’s attitude. Above all, design must work for the end of the communications, and that means testing to see the effect. When you think of how important customer reaction is to a periodical, it’s amazing how often magazines and newspapers undergo visual overhauls in almost a vacuum. When your customer isn’t the governing factor, then it’s your ego. I’ve seen people responsible for communicating with customers decide on looks because they liked it, not because the customers did.
(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Is the Internet Facing Gridlock?
So when this happens and something needs to be done, people may finally realize it ain't free ?

Or will it matter anyway, because by then we will just be a nation of people that spend their lives watching homemade videos ?
When every single individual becomes a publisher, where is quality ?
(Submitted by a Senior Printer)

Re: BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Life, Time, Mags and Content
Bob, I love the new trend of closing a magazine, but saying that "it will continue to stay alive online." It is like the politician or celebrity who gets in trouble and announces that they are going into rehab. Who is fooling who?
(Submitted by an Industry Supplier)

Coming Soon to TV: Your Favorite Mags

Coming Soon to TV: Your Favorite Mags
Hearst Inks Development Deal With Fox to Turn Popular Titles Into Series
By James Hibberd article_id=115994

NEW YORK ( -- Fox Television Studios and Hearst Magazines are joining forces to create series for broadband and eventually network TV based on popular magazine titles. The development deal includes two initial webisode projects inspired by CosmoGirl and Popular Mechanics.

The development deal includes two initial webisode projects inspired by CosmoGirl and Popular Mechanics. The online series feature an undetermined number of two- to three-minute episodes that will launch on the magazines' websites. The companies also plan to pitch the content to web portals such as Yahoo and AOL.

The CosmoGirl project is a serialized soap, with fans contributing to the narrative by submitting suggestions for what should happen next in the story. The details of the Popular Mechanics webisodes have not yet been determined, nor has a timeline for launching either project.

50-50 split for Fox, Hearst
The deal marks the first union between Fox and Hearst, with the companies agreeing to a 50-50 split of any advertising revenue. If successful, they hope to create further content for both broadband and network TV. "This is an innovative partnership that marries Fox TV Studios' creative ideas with Hearst's successful brands and content," said Angela Shapiro-Mathes, president of Fox Television Studios.

The webisodes will be the first foray into broadband for Fox Studios, which has long been known primarily for reality and documentary content.

This week, the Fox team will seek to score two more credits when it begins shopping two projects from "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell, whom it signed to a development deal last year. The studio is keeping quiet on the details, but Ms. Shapiro-Mathes is optimistic this summer will be a watershed. "This is a nice place to be in a comparatively short period of time," she said.

Black to Basics at Hearst Magazines

Black to Basics at Hearst Magazines
BY Tony Case jsp?vnu_content_id=1003568633

Cathie Black runs a tight ship at Hearst Magazines by squarely facing publishing's many challenges, keeping costs down and tapping into the digital future.

"Not bad for a girl from the south side of Chicago, huh?" Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black quips during a quick nickel tour of her magnificent corner office, on the 43rd floor of Hearst Corp.'s shimmering new office tower in midtown Manhattan.

It is, in fact, a jaw-dropping view, peering down on the Time Warner Center, Central Park, across the Hudson and beyond to readers who have made Hearst—with powerhouse magazine brands including O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen, Town & Country and more than a dozen others—one of the most influential publishers in the country. (And the world, with nearly 200 international editions. Hearst's latest global player is Harper's Bazaar in Dubai.)

Indeed, there's no shortage of good news coming out of Hearst these days—sharp new digs, an aggressive drive to make its Web sites more relevant and lucrative and record profits rolling in. But with Black and many of her team gathered in New Orleans this week for their biennial management conference, there also may be some cracks in the foundation of fortress Hearst. Despite all of her accomplishments since taking charge in late 1995, could the company's hypercautious, bottom-line focused ways under Black—while filling the coffers—dull Hearst's edge and the future viability of its magazines?

As Black herself likes to say, Hearst is a private company that behaves like a public company, without the pressure of having to answer to Wall Street.

Hearst, she explained during an interview last month, "has always tended to be smaller, with less structure. The publishers report to [executive vp, chief marketing officer and publishing director] Michael Clinton, the editors report to me, and [executive vp, general manager] John Loughlin runs the operations side—that's it. There aren't these layers of management that are expensive."

In terms of market share, other big publishers, most notably Condé Nast and Time Inc., have traditionally been more profligate spenders than Hearst. But with a shrinking ad market, stalled circulation and soaring expenses, they too have eviscerated cost centers.

For its part, Hearst has left no stone unturned in the hunt to save money, including centralizing ad production and bringing previously farmed-out, expensive chores like photo retouching in-house. Sales reps in Detroit juggle titles, while those on the West Coast are virtual. "We're looking at processes all the time," says Black.

However, some see that examination as limiting. "They scrimp and scrimp and squeeze and squeeze," says one former staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, adding that Black nails double- digit revenue growth by cutting fat. "But at a certain point, when the fat is gone, you're down to the muscle and you can't cut anymore. You have to have ideas for growing the business."

While Hearst is ringing up profits (earnings have climbed 109 percent on Black's watch, says a representative), circ and advertising numbers at some leading titles are showing signs of vulnerability. And when it comes to launching new titles that grab hold of readers and advertisers, Hearst—with a couple of exceptions, most notably O, its wildly successful partnership with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo—has struggled.

On the one hand, the Norman Foster-designed offices, for which the publisher paid $500 million in cash, would seem to dispel the image of Hearst as a company that operates solely with the bottom line in mind. But with very real challenges to the publishing business at every turn, thriftiness is not an evil in Black's book. When asked whether Hearst is more careful with money than its rivals, Black, with her signature straightforwardness, says "Definitely, it's different here."

Over the years, Black has put an end to such frivolous outlays as the $500,000 a year spent on flowers and other gifts employees gave each other. Hearst's penchant for thrift was fodder for blogs that chattered that the annual company holiday party was being relocated from Tavern on the Green to Hearst HQ (some might actually call that an upgrade), and that shrimp, an employee favorite, was not on offer.

Black certainly can be credited with resuscitating some long-established brands like Esquire and overseeing one of the most successful launches ever in O, as well as the launch of Cosmopolitan's teen spinoff CosmoGirl. But Hearst has had its fair share of flops. too.

Missteps include the much-hyped, Tina Brown- helmed Talk (a partnership with Miramax about which, in a 1999 Mediaweek profile, Black said, "On this one, we know. We've got a winner here."); women's lifestyle book Weekend, widely seen as a knockoff of Time Inc.'s Real Simple; cable spinoff Lifetime, with partner Lifetime Entertainment Services; shopping guide Shop Etc., an attempt to capitalize on the success of Condé Nast's Lucky, and short-lived family title Offspring, in partnership with Dow Jones & Co., with which Hearst publishes SmartMoney. Another women's title, Chic Simple, was tested but never got off the ground.

There also have been some breakout successes: O gave way to the 625,000-circ quarterly shelter title O At Home, and Town & Country to T&C Travel. Hearst's latest effort: bargain-priced women's service title Quick & Simple, its first U.S. weekly, which was launched in 2005. Its circ has steadily climbed from an initial rate base of 225,000, with plans to take it to 325,000 this year. But ad business in 2007 is off to a slow start, with pages down 15.1 percent year-over- year through February, reports the Publishers Information Bureau.

Of course, Hearst is hardly alone in the struggle for relevance and revenue. The industry as a whole has been remarkably slow to invent inspired new magazines. Like other publishers, Hearst has played it safe by leveraging tried-and-true brands with spinoff titles.

While conceding the inherent gamble of putting out a new magazine today, one media buyer sees Hearst as particularly risk-averse. "Hearst is always reluctant to go into the marketplace with a brand new magazine with the financial undertakings," says Maggie Connors, senior vp, group media director at FCB. "They're a little more conservative," says another buyer who does major business with Hearst's fashion and beauty books. "Condé Nast is pouring millions into Portfolio. I don't know if that's the kind of company Hearst is."

Whether that's folly or wisdom is up for debate. Roberta Garfinkle, senior vp, director of print strategy at TargetCast, says, "Ever since Cathie went over there, she's run a very tight ship, a very smart ship," adding, "When you look at them compared to other companies, Hearst tends to be much more stable and easier to work with, particularly for clients who are not multi-gazillion-dollar clients."

"I don't think we have to get our backs up about being cautious," says Black. "Just to put something out there because we want to have a launch every year, I don't know that that's such a good idea." Black acknowledges that newsstand is a significant challenge: "The old 'stick it out there and see if readers will come' is not a very effective approach these days."

When it comes to the performance of its established titles, there is no denying Hearst faces challenges. Some issues are unique to the company; many are not. Ad business is soft all around. Circulation management—especially newsstand pressure and the intensified scrutiny of verified copies—bedevils most publishers, while production and distribution costs keep mounting everywhere. As Black sums up, it is a "sobering time."

On the circ side, most Hearst titles are delivering bonuses. Nine of its 15 magazines measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations achieved growth in the second half of 2006. Others remain under pressure. Even the darling of the Hearst stable, 2.3 million-circ O, is slowing slightly after years of explosive growth. Over the last half of 2006, total paid/verified circ dipped 1 percent, according to ABC, as the company tested a cover price increase that pushed down newsstand sales 9.9 percent. (A Hearst representative also cited a "challenging newsstand environment" and the "changing shopping patterns of today's busy woman.")

Meanwhile, O's ad pages through May are up 10.7 percent year-over-year. O was Hearst's best- performing title in terms of ad growth last year and was the only Hearst title to achieve double-digit gains, according to Publishers Information Bureau.

Hearst's other contender in the women's lifestyle space, the 2.4 million-circ Redbook, is having a tougher go, with single-copy losing 28.6 percent, leading to a total circ that's remained flat. (Rival titles Time Inc.'s Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's Martha Stewart Living saw better sales in the same period.) Hearst, which is attempting to breathe new life into Redbook with a seven-figure makeover this July that will increase the trim size by 5 percent and upgrade the paper stock, sees the circ declines as a "natural and expected" result of the book's repositioning away from the traditional women's service format in an attempt to grab younger female readers. Ad pages through April were up a healthy 4.7 percent, on spreads from Avon and Kimberly-Clark. Through May, pages are up 7.6 percent.

Everybody, it seems, cheers Esquire editor in chief David Granger and the bang-up job he's done reviving that storied men's title, which weathered a challenge in recent years from the low-rent laddie books that have since flamed out. Esquire was just nominated for seven National Magazine Awards, including General Excellence, on top of two prizes last year. Granger, coming up on his 10th anniversary at the magazine, is roundly considered one of Black's best hires.

Despite editorial plaudits, Esquire's total circ was flat, holding at 709,151 and newsstand sales fell 10.2 percent in the last half of 2006. Esquire is now officially within spitting distance of its 700,000 rate base. (Hearst attributed the sales slip to a change in verified copies.) Esquire's ad pages doubled in the decade since Granger took charge, though ad pages through May fell 9.9 percent, despite recent spreads from Citigroup and Dolce & Gabbana.

After a shakeout last year in the teen field that saw the death of two players—Time Inc.'s Teen People and Hachette Filipacchi Media's Elle Girl—Hearst dominates with the two largest circulation books, the 2 million-circ Seventeen and 1.4 million-circ CosmoGirl. Despite the continued exodus of young readers to the Web, circ is not a concern for Hearst here.

Seventeen's circ was level in the second half, while CosmoGirl enjoyed a healthy 5.3 percent bump, even as newsstand dropped 3.6 percent. But the teen titles are shedding ads, with pages through May for Seventeen down 7.4 percent and CosmoGirl feeling a 12.6 percent falloff, according to Mediaweek Monitor. Continuing to close in on Hearst's turf is Condé Nast's successful start-up Teen Vogue, which has carved a distinct, fashion-focused niche and reaped a bumper crop of business from luxury marketers like Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

In women's service, the venerable and just-retooled Good Housekeeping, with a whopping reach of 4.7 million, grew its circ last fall by 2.2 percent, although ads were off 3.1 percent through May. In the cutthroat fashion/beauty category, Hearst's troika of Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan are gaining ground, with all three books scoring solid ad page gains through May, trouncing Condé Nast's Vogue, Hachette Filipacchi's Elle and Time Inc.'s In Style in terms of growth.

Even so, Hearst's players still sell far fewer ads than their rivals. And Harper's Bazaar, under editor in chief Glenda Bailey, continues to play catch-up to Anna Wintour's indomitable Vogue. The circ picture also shows challenges for the Hearst titles. The 2.9 million- circ Cosmo—despite the steady guidance of editor in chief Kate White, who Black moved over from Redbook in 1998 after Cosmo's Bonnie Fuller exited to join Condé Nast's Glamour—lost 2 percent in total circ, on a nearly 5.9 percent falloff in newsstand attributed in part to a modest hike in the cover price. Meanwhile, 962,000-circ Marie Claire was flat in total circ after a sharp 26.9 percent decline at newsstands. (The company cited a slash in verified copies.) The 726,000-circ Harper's Bazaar was level.

In the challenged shelter field, Hearst's 884,000-circ House Beautiful, which last year got a new editor and a radical makeover, recorded 12.2 percent growth in ad pages through May, while total circ grew 2.6 percent. The news wasn't as good at 1.6 million-circ Country Living, whose ads dipped 1.4 percent and total circ slipped 5.2 percent on a 12.6 percent newsstand hit. Circ at the lush Veranda, meanwhile, rose 4.3 percent to 459,000, and ad pages through March/April rose 12.3 percent.

Despite pressure on the numbers, Black continues to mine gold from her magazines. Hearst is coming off five straight years of record profits, and some of the publisher's oldest titles are also among its best revenue generators, according to Black, including Esquire (revenue up 14 percent in 2006) and Harper's Bazaar (up 13 percent). If Black has her way, an aggressive, much-touted push into the digital arena and the revamp of the company's magazine-branded Web sites could have a significant impact on revenue.

Many who do business with Hearst say they like the relative stability of its publishing ranks. "Once people get there, they don't leave," says FCB's Connors. "There's always continuity in their magazines. Publishers and their staff have been there for years." Says another buyer, "They're a great company. You see it in their people. There are publishers who have been there a long time." Over and over, ad execs also point to Hearst's willingness to work with advertisers and a greater sense of flexibility than chief rival Condé Nast.

Black's publishers are a devoted lot. Seventeen vp, publisher Jayne Jamison, approaching four years at the teen title and previously Redbook's publisher, says she feels "blessed" to work with such a "very smart, incredibly focused" boss. Still, she admits, "There is definitely a bottom-line focus here, and we're all acutely aware of that every day."

Nobody would describe the rapid-fire Black as a shrinking violet. This is a person, after all, who became the first woman publisher of a U.S. weekly magazine in 1979, when she was tapped to run New York, and who is credited with helping make a hit out of Gannett's USA Today, where she was president and publisher. Forbes magazine has named her one of "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women." It goes without saying that Black, who sits on the boards of IBM and Coca-Cola Co., didn't reach the top of Hearst Tower without being equal parts tough and smart.

Harper's Bazaar's senior vp, publisher Valerie Salembier, who has been with the title for four years and earlier was vp, publisher of Esquire, remembers her first budget meeting at Esquire a decade ago. The numbers weren't looking so hot. Still, she hit Black up for a big boost in the marketing budget. Black's response: "Are you insane?" Since then, Salembier has grown to appreciate Black's blunt style. "I've worked for people who skirt the issues, so you never know where you stand. Cathie invites you in&hellipshe is a superb motivator at all levels."

While the edit side also has stayed somewhat stable lately, there has, of course, been some drama. Celeb editor Atoosa Rubenstein briefly set media circles oblong last fall when she bolted Seventeen to start her own self-focused Web venture via her MySpace page. And the shelter category has seen a succession of editors in recent years, especially at House Beautiful.

Meanwhile, Marie Claire remains in flux following the abrupt ouster a year ago of longtime editor in chief Lesley Jane Seymour. Seymour was replaced by former More executive editor Joanna Coles, who was considered a curious choice as she had never been an editor in chief of a consumer magazine and had a hard-news reporting background. The timing of Seymour's dismissal also was seen as odd considering that the title's paid circ at the time had growth better than 3 percent and that Seymour had led the book to its first National Magazine Award nomination in years.

At that time, a Hearst rep said Marie Claire needed a "fresh perspective." A company insider notes that those who work on the title have always been caught in the middle of a tug-of-war between Hearst and and its 50/50 French partner, Marie Claire Album. A year later after the shake up, some senior staffers, including the creative director and beauty director, have left and ad directors are keeping a close eye on the title's circ problems.

While Black boasts that her editors "have a lot of autonomy and independence," she clearly is involved. Granger says Black "is always very clear about what she thinks you're doing" but insists she does not micromanage editorial. "I haven't always followed her advice in a strict manner, but I've always listened," he adds. "She has great perspective about what will make the business stronger."

Granger has proved more than capable of steering Esquire to editorial greatness, but he remembers early, uncertain days and a "chat" with Black over his choice of Fred Rogers (TV's Mr. Rogers) for the cover of Esquire's "Heroes" issue, in which the boss used language "not necessarily appropriate for a family publication." With Black, says Granger, "There's never any miscommunication."

When asked to describe her own management style, Black, true to form, has a concise answer at the ready: "Collegial, collaborative, but precise about decision-making." She is quick to add, "I am very interested in one thing—results."

Electronic Paper - Edging Toward Reality

"Electronic paper" edging toward reality
By Jason Szep 0519889820070405

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) - "Electronic paper" has long been hyped as the future of newspapers and books, but products like e-books have been slow to take off. That may soon change, say executives involved in the pioneering technology.

While Internet companies are scanning libraries of books and making them available online, E Ink Corp., which emerged out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a decade ago, is seeing a surge in orders for its portable, foldable displays that mimic conventional paper to carry such books.

"Nine different companies launched products last year based on the technology," said Russell Wilcox, E Ink president. "In the last nine months we've gone from manufacturing tens of thousands of parts to millions of parts."

Among those products are Sony's Reader tablet, whose black-and-white displays can be read in bright sunlight or a dimly lit room from almost any angle -- just like paper -- without traditional back-lit screens that chew up power.

While the displays are becoming more flexible and conserve power, they face other limitations such as working only in monochrome and failing to display video -- areas critical to attracting advertisers and consumers to the technology.

Wilcox said E Ink, whose revenues have grown at a rate of 200 to 300 percent annually in the last three years, is testing a color prototype that could be launched next year, potentially opening the technology to e-magazines and e-newspapers.

Underscoring its aspirations to mainstream media, the company's chairman is Kenneth Bronfin, president of the interactive media division of Hearst Corp., which publishes 12 daily newspapers and 19 magazines including Cosmopolitan.

E Ink holds more than 100 patents on its "electrophoretic" ink technology in which electric charges are sent along a grid embedded in the paper that cause tiny black and white particles to move up and down, creating text and images.


Motofone, Motorola Corp.'s low-cost mobile phone for the developing world, uses the technology because of its ability to conserve power, along with Seiko Epson Corp.'s wristwatch, a flash-memory stick and several other devices.

James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, said E Ink needs the technological leap into color and ability to show video before it can reach the masses.

If it can achieve that, McQuivey said, E Ink could threaten to displace the cheap and ubiquitous liquid- crystal displays (LCDs), while revolutionizing how we think about reading.

Electronic billboards, for example, would no longer need to be bulky or costly to erect. They could be hung from just about any wall or folded into the back of a car for easy transport.

"It's so clearly apparent when you use the technology that it could revolutionize so many screens in our lives and it could put screens on things that don't have them but could or should," said McQuivey.

Another challenge for products like e-books is that the number of books available to download in the United States and Europe remains relatively small.

But Sony reckons that will change as consumers discover the ease of using one device that stores hundreds of titles, and as the Internet makes downloading easy.

"More and more things are going online from Amazon and others," said David Seperson, a product manager of Sony's Reader. "We're seeing real growth in digital text."

"Also there is a potential shift in what people would consider reading. It used to be mainly books. Now there are blogs. And there's all kinds of Internet things which will work well because you can take that stuff off the computer screen, and take it with you to the beach and start reading."

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved.

Original Source Link

Responses to all Articles and Bo-Rants are greatly encouraged and may be included in " BoSacks Readers Speak Out"

"Heard on the Web" Media Intelligence: Courtesy of The Precision Media Group.
Print, Publishing and Media Consultants Contact - Robert M. Sacks 518-329-7994 PO Box 53, Copake NY 12516

European Publishers see Net as an Opportunity

European Publishers see Net as an Opportunity
By MATT MOORE /3933726-ap.htmlBERLIN

(AP) - Are newspapers set to become yesterday's news? Don't count on it, say editors at some of Europe's iconic publications. The pressures on the industry - in Europe as in the United States - are prodigious: tumbling circulation and ad revenue, competition from the Internet, the proliferation of free papers. Rapidly changing technology and consumer trends have made adaptation especially difficult. But European editors appear strikingly optimistic about the future.

They see the online media explosion more as an opportunity than as a threat and express confidence they can provide the content readers need - whether it's on newsprint, a computer screen, a smart phone, or a futuristic electronic scroll. Some European editors predict the media revolution underway may even allow them to return to the deeper, more sophisticated journalism on which they took pride in decades past - yet in some cases felt they had to dilute under the pressure of the 24-hour news cycle.

There was disagreement, however, on how that new emphasis on quality will play out - whether it will ultimately find its greatest impact online or in print. Bruno Patino, director of online and digital projects at France's Le Monde, spoke of an "inevitable fragmentation" between print and online editions in which the newspaper would go "back to basics, even more elitist" - focusing on in-depth investigations. The website, then, would aim at more hurried audiences, he said. For Marco Pratellesi, online editor of Italy's leading Corriere della Sera, it was exactly the opposite: the Internet, he said, is the medium that opens up opportunities for a return to what he called long-form traditional reporting. "In a way, we are returning to journalism of 20 years ago, offering more investigative pieces," Pratellesi said, noting it costs next to nothing to post a 10,000- word story online, compared with clearing space on the printed page and selling advertising to pay for it.

Where the two viewpoints converged was that traditional newspapers will live or die based on the quality of their content - an authoritative perspective free papers cannot provide. "Our strategy is quality, to select the themes that interest our readers," Pratellesi said. "Free newspapers, for example, are just quick reads, not newspapers that readers actually seek out." There is no denying, however, that newspaper circulation is tumbling across Europe. The most recent figures available from the World Associated of Newspapers showed daily paid newspapers in the European Union saw a 0.61-per-cent drop in circulation in 2005 and a 5.26-per-cent fall over the five years through 2005. Le Monde has taken a particularly steep hit, declining from 416,000 to 355,000 in 2002-2007 for a fall of nearly 15 per cent. Most newspapers in Britain - which has an impressive array of national dailies - have seen steady declines, as well.

Many European newspapers are investing heavily in online editions in hopes of growth. Berlin-based Axel Springer, Europe's biggest newspaper and magazine publisher, is set to spend the equivalent of about C$3 billion to expand its digital offerings both in Germany and elsewhere. In Sweden, Raoul Gruenthal, managing editor of Stockholm-based Svenska Dagbladet, said the daily has started a financial news site,, in addition to its regular news site, "We are seizing the opportunity to use the position we have to grow in areas where we previously didn't have a strong position," he said. Going online also helps newspapers reach a global audience, a factor that is particularly important for British papers that can count on a massive worldwide English-speaking readership. Industry-wide in Europe - as elsewhere - it's not yet clear whether Internet growth will be able to soon offset declining print revenues. But there are positive signs: Le Monde's Patino said after recent loss-making years, the paper is expected to break even or make a profit this year entirely thanks to online services making up for print losses. Peter Wuertenberger, managing director for Axel Springer's Welt/Berliner Morgenpost newspaper publishing group, said Internet revenues are growing by 20 to 50 per cent year-on-year, depending on the website. Meanwhile, Wuertenberger said Germany's older population is helping keep newspapers going. "Two-thirds of the population have not been part of the young Internet generation," he said. "Those people are still used to, and dependent on, paper as one of their information supply chains.

So we don't see newspapers fading away so quickly." Svenska Dagbladet's Gruenthal also said it is too soon to write off print editions. "I'm optimistic when it comes to print," said Gruenthal. "Right now, there is no hardware that can compete with print...I don't think print will die quickly but of course it will be a stagnating market compared to the Internet, which is growing explosively." A key variable is the speed with which technology for making electronic content as portable as papers might evolve. French business daily Les Echos this month plans to launch a "digital paper" version available on specially dedicated PDA-type "readers." The next step would be an "e-paper" - a flexible sheet using electronic ink that could be constantly updated wirelessly.

Philippe Jannet, director of Les Echos' digital projects, said his paper is trying to boost income by expanding the number of platforms but narrowing their targets. All of this has brought about profound overhauls in newsrooms. Zach Leonard, the digital media publisher for the Times of London, said pressures of the online world are forcing old journalists to learn new tricks and turning black-and-white newspapers into multimedia portals. Search engines' tendency to reduce stories to their first 200 characters mean writers need to think up ever snappier headlines, Leonard said. "We're writing very pithy first paragraphs and making the headlines as packed as we can," he said. "It's important in a newspaper but it's even more important for a search engine, where the content is organized vertically."

The Times is also encouraging its journalists to fill out their articles with video and audio content and teaching them how to conduct podcasts and upload video from mobile phones. In the YouTube age, the quality of material is secondary to the need to put it online in the first place, Leonard said. "The Web is very forgiving as far as high-end audio and video goes." Still, broadcast quality video is becoming an increasingly important part of how the Times makes ends meet. The paper is being turned - in part, at least - into a small television studio, fielding pitches from production companies and organizing advertising deals. Leonard didn't discuss specific figures but said the sponsorship for the Times' online video content - such the TimesOnline TV series, "Cool in Your Code" - are among the top five per cent of the paper's revenue- producing deals. That is a model he said the Times applies to all its online features. "We don't do anything on the site unless it makes money," Leonard said.

As in the United States, European media companies have been seeking way to harness more websites to drive advertising revenue and eyeballs to news- oriented sites. Many publishers are charging for access to websites, much as they would for subscriptions to their newspapers or magazines. France's Hachette, part of Lagardere, sells online subscriptions to 200 of its magazines, a process it started in August 2006, for about $15 a month, which gives readers complete digital copies of a magazine, including audio and video. Advertising online is a strong lure for newspapers, too, as more and more advertisers embark to the Internet to pitch their products, ranging from upscale Mercedes-Benz sedans to new video games.

In Britain, for example, online advertising rose by 41 per cent in 2006, giving it an 11.4-per-cent share of the market, just higher than that of the newspapers. That compared to 7.8 per cent in 2005, said the Internet Advertising Bureau report which was compiled by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the World Advertising Research Center. "With almost all expenditure on traditional media in decline, the upward momentum of the Internet reflects a new era," the report said.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: Is the Internet Facing Gridlock?

BoSacks Speaks Out: Is the Internet Facing Gridlock?This is a very interesting article but I hold some serious reservations on the full concept. Even still it is a very worthwhile read.

Here is what I know on the subject or at least, here is what I think I know. The amount of new technical information is doubling on the planet every 2 years. Third generation fiber optics has recently been separately tested by NEC and Alcatel, and it is reported to push 10 trillion bits per second down one single strand of fiber. That is equal to 1,900 CDs or 150 million simultaneous phone calls every second per strand. They say that this technology is currently tripling about every 6 months and is expected to do so for at least the next 20 years. Lastly it is important to note that the fiber is already there in the ground in most metropolitan centers, they’re just improving the switches on the ends. Which means the marginal cost of these improvements is minimal.

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”
Bill Gates (American Entrepreneur and Founder of Microsoft Co., b.1955)

Is the internet facing gridlock? By Iain S Bruce, Technology Editor s/display.var.1250955.0.is_the_internet_facing_gridloc k.php

Life without the internet is now unthinkable, but with services over-stretched, users may have to dig deep if they want to keep surfing

IT STUTTERED, then it stopped. Around the world screens were plunged into darkness, wiping hundreds of millions of pounds from the global economy as communications slowed to a crawl. The routes upon which millions of people depended to interact with their employers, governments, suppliers and friends suddenly slammed shut. Welcome to the great panic of 2007: the year the web fell over.

This doomsday scenario is uncomfortably close to becoming true. We may have become accustomed to thinking of the internet as an infinite resource, but according to the latest predictions from Deloitte there is a high risk that the vast volumes of digital information bouncing around the planet could exceed the web's available capacity before the year is out.

Pointing to the huge growth in net use over the past year, analysts fear that the unrelenting growth in traffic expected this year may overwhelm the internet's backbone - the fibre-optic cables that connect continents.

advertisement"Two key trends underpin the threat to the internet's capacity. First of these is that the total population of users breached the one billion mark last year and is expected to continue growing at a remarkable rate. The second, most important factor is the rise of video," said David Townsley, one of the authors of the Deloitte report.

"Over a third of all web traffic in 2007 is expected to be peer-to-peer video, with the number of download offerings, IPTV companies and chat services expected to continue spiralling upwards.

"Given that some service providers are already seeing video exceed the amount of voice traffic on their systems and the fact that this places much higher demand on available bandwidth, the threat to speed and quality of service is very clear."

Last August, the video-sharing site YouTube was pumping out 100,000 streams to avid users; by September it was serving a staggering 1.2 million. We love the web and with every passing day demand more from it, resulting in predictions that by 2012, the electronic traffic generated by just 20 Scottish homes will equal the volume of data that flowed through the entire internet in 1996. That is great news for dotcommers and digital entrepreneurs, but it has awoken genuine concern among many in the industry. Experts fear that before long, demand for such services could well exceed what the internet's physical infrastructure is capable of delivering.

"We are already in a situation where the pipes are close to being full up," said Antoine Guy, European head of web traffic specialist Allot Communications. "The growth of video has brought the problem sharply into focus and it is highly probable that this will result in a slow-down across many service providers in 2007. At the current rate, we will have exhausted the internet's global capacity within two years."

Whether you use the web for work or pleasure, this will not make pleasant reading. It might seem inconceivable that a medium so integral to our commercial and personal lives could hit the buffers, but throughout the telecommunications industry there is growing acceptance that the issue must be confronted now if we are to avoid disaster.

At Level 3, the company that provides the internet backbone for all the major service providers throughout Europe and North America, executives plough $500 million (£255.5m) worth of capital investment a year into expanding the global network's capacity and resilience.

As you would expect from an outfit charged with providing the bandwidth for companies such as BT, Yahoo, AT&T and MySpace, Level 3 professes to be confident of its ability to keep pace with rising demand, but this is a position tinged with caution.

"There has been a huge change in the way we use the internet. At first we simply accessed it to find information in what was essentially a one-way process, but now we make content ourselves, and the 16 to 24-year-olds spend 50% of their time online viewing material that has been created and shared by themselves or their friends," said Brady Rafuse, Level 3's European president.

"There has been a huge spike in demand, and sooner rather than later the industry will have to come to terms with the investment and workload that will be required to cope with it."

You would not expect Rafuse to suggest that the backbone his company maintains is in immediate danger of being overwhelmed, but the facts speak for themselves. At the Amsterdam Internet Exchange - which handles 20% of Europe's web traffic - the information flow grows at a rate of 7.4% a month and shows no sign of slowing down. Traffic is doubling year-on-year and in 2007 the total amount of data it will handle is expected to be 500 times greater than that stored in all of the libraries in the US.

While the backbone providers keep a wary eye on the galloping proliferation of internet use, at a national level Britain's biggest provider echoes the need to keep tabs on this explosive growth. Even as the plaudits for making the UK one of the world's most broadband-connected countries continue to ring around it, BT is keen to kick-start a debate on the need for an even faster, newer and bigger digital infrastructure.

"The growth of services such as peer-to-peer video sharing has been staggering, increasing at a rate no- one could have predicted," said Angus Flett, director of product management at BT Wholesale. "At present we have sufficient capacity, but this is a big issue that will only get more serious as time goes by. It's not simply a question of building bigger pipes, we have to prioritise needs and come up with a strategy that strikes the right balance between investment and service."

That investment is already under way. BT has begun a £1 billion 21st-century networks programme in Scotland which will bring access to wholesale broadband services with speeds of up to 24Mb/s to 50% of the UK and around 570,000 Scots from the beginning of 2008.

The strategy -which includes all 1070 exchanges in Scotland - will cover rural areas as well as towns and cities. It is scheduled to be completed by 2011 and is the first in the world to attempt to bring next generation network services to everyone, regardless of where they live.

All of which is great, but raises the question of how we will survive in the meantime. It is very unlikely that people will be prepared to wait another four years to sample the full potential delights of the internet age. Despite acknowledging the demands this will place on an already creaking internet, however, many in the industry say that advancing technology will enable the global network to continue at full operational speed.

"There is absolutely no way that the web will fall over. Companies like ours have spent too much money on it to allow that to happen," said Gordon Thomson, Cisco's Scottish director. "I have total confidence in technology's ability to keep improving the efficiency with which information is channelled through the internet. Some ISPs might experience a slow-down as the volume of subscribers overwhelms them, but overall experience shows that the industry will constantly come up with better ways of handling and improving the traffic flow."

Thomson backs up this view with examples such as Cisco's own CRSI system, which after being introduced in 2004 enabled the company's engineers to increase the data volume existing lines were capable of handling by over 700%.

With the company already working on improvements and its many competitors similarly focused on the problem of throughput, he maintains that while the issue of proliferating internet use provides a major challenge, it is certainly not insurmountable.

It seems that while the internet might not fall over completely, it is certainly in grave risk of slowing down. YouTube alone accounts for vast amounts of bandwidth use as thousands of Britons access amusing videos from across the Atlantic. With an increasing welter of business activity jostling for position across the same sub-sea cables, many commentators believe that before very long, anybody who wants to maintain today's high broadband speeds will have to pay extra to do so.

"The internet is the same as the highway system. There is a limit to how much traffic you can channel down the M25 before it grinds to a halt, and sooner or later you will have to direct some of it onto the minor country roads," said Guy. "This process will be replicated on the web. Before long service providers will have to examine the activity on their networks and decide how to prioritise it. Perhaps they will see business information as most important or maybe it will be video. Either way, within two years I believe that in order to guarantee first-class levels of service, customers will have to pay more."

This is a controversial view that strikes at the very heart of the democratic ideal of the web, a medium to which most people believe you should have equal access irrespective of your ability to pay. Unfortunately however, it is an argument that many believe has already been rendered moot. Whether you are a corporation with a vast fixed line or a home user on a cable modem, the speed and limitations of your internet connection depend entirely on the level of service you pay your ISP for, and this is highly unlikely to change any time soon.

"The internet isn't free and never has been. Service providers must be able to see the economic case for investing in extra capacity and in the end, subscribers will have to pay for that," said Rafuse.

"Although technology has made great leaps at backbone level, in order to cope with increasing demand there will have to be a great deal spent on the network that connects people's homes to their local exchange. Some of these cables are over 30 years old, and there needs to be a debate involving companies, governments and users if the UK is to come up with an effective replacement strategy."

Although the networking plans BT has in place for Scotland mean that the country is relatively well advanced in global terms, the link between these high- tech exchanges and users at home will still be running across ageing copper-wires designed only for voice calls. A recent Executive study into the broadband issue awoke criticism when it concluded that investing in replacing these is at present unnecessary.

Doubtless that issue will rumble on for years to come, but in the meantime many commentators believe that even if the web does not collapse this year, that does not excuse anybody of the need to urgently examine the burgeoning bandwidth problem.

Richard Hall, CTO at technology consultancy Avanade, said: "The web has not technically kept pace with its importance to users. Initially seen as information-only portals, people now turn to the web en masse and swamp systems. Banks, retailers, telcos and government departments must lead the way in these matters, because it is simply not excusable to fail.

"I am optimistic that technology can keep pace with demand for the web and spread the load, but if the web was to break, it would be with a whimper not a bang, as video feeds stutter and richer users, companies and countries switch to members only' networks and leave everyone else behind."

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