Thursday, April 26, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: Where are Today's Mentors?

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
John Quincy Adams (American 6th US President (1825-29), eldest son of John Adams, 2nd US president. 1767-1848)

BoSacks Speaks Out: Where are Today's Mentors?
By BoSacks
Publishing Executive Magazine sid=48494&var=story

In these pages I have pontificated many times about the positive nature and direction of our industry, about the belief that we are headed to a new golden age of publishing, and that new technologies should be considered the friend of information distributors. But there is one aspect in this new world environment that has me worried and concerned. It is the area of mentorship where, it seems to me, we have fallen behind and by that loss as an industry we have been greatly diminished.

What has happened? When and where did we loose the skill set and the will to teach the younglings? Have we so trimmed our business models and our work force that there is just no time to teach and mentor? Have we lost sight of the power of the properly groomed apprentice? Is there just not enough time now with the diminished workforces to add the burden of schooling for the future?

I do not know how to quantify the value of a properly mentored apprentice except through my own experience. But I know that as I passed up the corporate ladder, each of my teachers built upon the foundation of the other guild members that went before them. And I can tell you this, having been a mentor myself, there is a tremendous joy in the successful transfer of knowledge and power.

I have had the great pleasure to be mentored by supervisors, many of whom were great leaders in an era that fostered and promoted genuine leadership. Today I am paying homage to the process and naming names of those friends and giants.

For me, Vito Coliprico, (NY Times Magazine Group), Lowell Logan (McCall's Publishing) and Irving Herschbein (Conde Nast) were giants in their day and took the time to reach out to a young and inquisitive subordinate. The results of their tutorship is the man who stands before you. I have attempted to return the favor to them and the industry by using the technology of the day to mentor others, through my e-newsletter, and my column in this magazine.

Without mentorship we are collectively less than we might have been. It is the aggregate of this loss that will be felt and perhaps is being felt now. Who are the leaders of your corporation? Who are the genuine leaders of this industry? I don't mean who is your immediate supervisor or who is the CEO - those are just job titles. I am asking, where is the leadership? A generation ago if you asked anyone in publishing who the leaders were, the names I mentioned above would be high on the list. Who is on the real leadership list now?

We have many problems ahead of us as an industry. We will need good leaders to provide direction. If you think about it, we are trying to prepare publishing personnel for jobs that don't yet exist. These publishing students will be using technologies and concepts that haven't yet been invented, and they will be trying to find the solutions to problems we don't even know are problems yet. What we can do is take the time to teach our subordinates to think and reason. We can teach them to take reasonable risks. We can teach them to be leaders.

Here is an idea taken and amended from my mentor Vito Colaprico. Each and every one of you should start a "publishing school" in your company. It doesn't matter how big or small your company is. It could meet once a week or once a month. Here is how it works.

All magazines have the basic components of editing, production, ad selling, ad management, circulation and distribution. In most corporations there are walls around those functions. I say it is time to breakdown those walls. Have the apprentices teach their disciplines to the apprentices of the other departments. What happens is, in order to teach you must learn your own skill set first. In order to teach, you must learn to stand up in front of a group and be articulate. The learning of your own field and the capacity to teach it is the start of leadership skills.

The byproduct of this process is the cross-pollination of skill sets. Various departments will have comprehension of exactly what the guys in the other departments in fact do for a living. This will promote a greater team spirit throughout the company and facilitate unimagined efficiencies, and perhaps even camaraderie. And among those students will be the leadership of tomorrow that we so desperately need today.

Gestalt: The Empire Strikes Back

"To lead the people, walk behind them."
Lao Tzu (Chinese taoist Philosopher, founder of Taoism, wrote "Tao Te Ching" (also "The Book of the Way"). 600 BC-531 BC)

Gestalt: The Empire Strikes Back
by Christopher M. Schroeder fuseaction=Articles.san&s=57904&Nid=29784&p=204 904

I just finished John Man's sweeping biography of Genghis Khan and, though I'm usually proud of my historical literacy, I found myself stunned at the impact he had on the world. I had always dismissed him as a brutal conqueror who raped and pillaged his way across the steppes, with little lasting legacy - a view that could not have been more wrong.

He and the Mongols were extremely sophisticated attackers who, time and again, faced large and dismissive empires that took their own size and place in the world for granted. Genghis Khan's determined and brutal light cavalry possessed speed and innovation unmatched by kingdom after kingdom.

My own dismissiveness reminded me of the worlds we inhabit in media today. Traditional media companies, along with former upstarts in new technology, have now largely become what they once railed against. All share a common foundation: They are, with rare exceptions, defenders.

Oh, they may tip their hats to the innovation of the Golden Hordes surrounding them, cut deals with them, even try to replicate upstart technologies in their own kingdoms. In this day and age, juggernauts don't dismiss the upstarts. First and foremost, their stances lie in defense.

This development might appear inevitable; at some point, those who succeed must rally and defend their success. But what never ceases to stun me is that when the Empires finally realize it's time to go on the attack, the first place they aim at is their customers.

The music industry is a great case in point.

Bob Lefsetz, who has one of the most insightful blogs on the music industry, recently said it best: "I really thought the [major labels] were going to survive.

They've fumbled the future again and again. They sued their customers, they put FBI warnings on their products - what are they, a branch of the GOVERNMENT?"

A colleague from the software industry recently reminded me that an industry can't adopt a fundamentally hostile attitude toward its customers and still survive. He recollected that his industry spent the '80s experimenting with all sorts of DRM that bordered on just crazy. Anyone remember the Lotus "dongle," a piece of hardware you had to plug into your computer to make the software work? Eventually, the industry learned that annoying customers wasn't a sustainable business model.

More importantly, the software industry not only stopped attacking customers, but created products and services so cheap and customer-friendly that the entire marketplace grew exponentially.

The music industry has made some headway of late. Consider, kids who might copy CDs and give them to their friends have little problem paying $2 to $3 per ringtone. And with video games, where an average PlayStation game may contain a dozen or more songs, part of the $60 kids pay goes right to the labels.

Music subscriptions, of course, are the ultimate pro- consumer model. "Imagine a world where 300 to 500 million consumers have a mobile gizmo like an iPod on high-speed wireless networks and pay $10 a month for all they can listen to," my friend in the software industry says. "That's a $3 billion to $5 billion per month industry right there - all recurring revenue.

Compare these dollars to the current size of the music industry; it doesn't take a Ph.D. to do the math.

Defending your castle is a natural thing, but the best defense can be a great offense. And the best offense doesn't consist of attacking your consumers, but of devising innovative ways of meeting consumers' needs.

Christopher M. Schroeder is CEO of The HealthCentral Network ( a leading collection of online health and community web properties. He formerly ran washingtonpost.newsweek interactive, and is a regular contributor to Media Magazine and Mediapost.


"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
Sun Tzu

Meredith Profits Surge 15%
by Erik Sass
PRINT IS PAYING OFF FOR Meredith Corp. fuseaction=Articles.san&s=59353&Nid=29784&p=204 904

The Meredith Corp.'s earnings per share rose 15% in the first quarter of 2007, compared to the same period last year. In particular, publishing operating profit rose about 5% to $64 million. The jump in earnings came on top of a 4% increase in total revenue, to about $410 million. This included a 7% rise in publishing ad revenues.

Stephen M. Lacy, Meredith's president and CEO, credits the quarter's highlights as the "very strong advertising performance of our Publishing Group properties and the outstanding growth in online revenues across the company."

While other print media are seeing print revenues collapse--especially newspapers--Meredith's core print properties are turning in strong performances. Better Homes and Gardens enjoyed a 6.3% jump in ad pages in the first three months of 2007 compared to last year, topping 400 total, and Family Circle continued its stellar progress with 30.3% increase-- topping 362 in the first quarter, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Overall, ad pages at Meredith's women's service titles grew 11% in the quarter, compared to 5% for its category competitors.

Meredith's online properties are also booming, with Web ad revenue up 50% from first-quarter 2006.

Unique views and page views grew more than 10% each, and the company reports substantial increases in the number of online subscription orders received. Meredith recently launched a broadband TV network,, with over 20 channels of Meredith video content, covering an array of home, design, and lifestyle issues.

The company has also rolled out a number of custom- marketing operations over the last year, including two new acquisitions announced January 10: The first company, Genex, is an interactive-marketing firm that "specializes in online customer-relationship marketing" for clients including Honda, Toyota and Citigroup. The second, New Media Strategies, specializes in interactive, viral and word-of-mouth marketing for clients like Coca-Cola, AT&T, Ford and Sony.

Meredith already has a substantial integrated- marketing operation in place, in part because of its acquisition of interactive-marketing firm O'Grady Meyers in April 2006. It also produced a bimonthly custom magazine, Figure, for Charming Shoppes, the owner of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherine's retail stores

Conde Nast's expensive gamble Portfolio pits Old Media against Web models

Conde Nast's expensive gamble Portfolio pits Old Media against Web models
By STEVEN ZEITCHIK categoryid=1009&cs=1

Nearly a year ago, at a lunch symposium at the Four Seasons restaurant in midtown Manhattan, Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman asked Google exec Eric Schmidt how search and personalization could change the publishing business.

"A lot of magazines are having revenue problems as the model shifts," Schmidt replied. But the ability to offer targeted personal ads "is an opportunity for them."

Portfolio isn't trying anything as radical as ads tailored to individuals -- at least not yet. In fact, the monthly's model is decidedly Old Media, and quintessentially Conde Nast: Announce a magazine with fanfare, spend months rounding up ad buyers, lock down commitments for high-priced packages, then build circulation with a solid roster of top writers and glossy photos. (The mag will then take a hiatus until September, gathering feedback from the first issue and skipping the traditionally weaker summer season.)

Publisher David Carey says the mag's proposition makes sense: The business category has a huge potential audience but a dearth of readable magazines.

"We found that the vast majority of people who read business magazines feel like they're reading homework," he says. "We want to bring classic Conde Nast values -- in-depth reporting and amazing photography and illustration -- to this category."

The ad coin is necessary if a publication like Portfolio, which debuted earlier this month, hopes to subsidize the generous salaries and freelance fees for which Conde Nast is known.

Luring writers like Tom Wolfe, who authored an article about hedge funds for the inaugural issue, won't come cheaply, and the magazine will have to pull in plenty of ad revenue to turn a profit.
Carey says the mag already has 53 advertisers, more than half of which have advertised in one title or fewer in the Conde Nast empire.

But the suggestion of a more progressive model for magazines -- at a lunch for the very magazine that is embracing a more traditional conception of the business -- raises a pointed question: Can the conventional model for print titles still work when so many ad dollars and eyeballs are flowing to the Web?

These are uncertain times for the New York publishing world. Unlike nearly any other time in media history, it's not just a group of print publications that's in question, it's the idea of print itself that seems so shaky.

Magazines with weekly lead times are struggling to keep up with the pressures of daily print publications as well as the Web, not to mention grappling with the fundamental question of whether they should reinvent themselves as breaking news outlets.

It's a question that magazines like Entertainment Weekly, which has built up relatively little brand equity as a breaking-news site, and even general-interest publications such as Newsweek and Time, have encountered and responded to in diverse ways.

The newsweeklies have shifted personnel and resources to breaking news, video and other Web- friendly innovations, even as the magazines themselves are pulled in analytical or service-oriented directions.

Even those in the more lucrative business-publishing realm have struggled. Portfolio competitors like Fortune and BusinesWeek have lost between 14% and 18% of their ad pages over the last four years.

And monthly magazines that don't have a policy or intellectual bent are practically an endangered species, as Premiere learned recently when it shuttered after years of fading relevance to the entertainment community.

There are still print titles successfully employing the old model. Often, though, they are titles with specialized interests (like foodie monthly Saveur), a previously untapped audience (witness the growth of the lifestyle and decorating mags at Time Inc.) or a relentless cost-consciousness (the celebrity titles of Bauer Publishing).

And there are a number of print enterprises, particularly in the newspaper space, that have found the right harmony between print and Web. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times, for instance, both manage to secure a large number of visitors and growing ad dollars online without eroding their print readership.

But even they sometimes do it with duct tape and glue -- by trafficking on an age-old brand or by using a well-paid print reporting staff to double dip with relatively inexpensive blogs.

Sometimes they're even forced to resort to cutting corners -- literally, with both papers now reducing trim size to save on costs.

"Everyone pays lip service to the Internet," says longtime magazine consultant Martin Walker. "But not everyone is facing the same problems. The basic rule is that the more general-interest your publication is, the more competition you're going to face."

Walker notes that titles like Saveur have made strides because they're able to offer specific services to a defined audience. Newsweeklies and newspapers haven't been as lucky.

One media expert compared the current situation to the way cable nets without a theme or a niche have struggled to find a sufficiently dedicated audience to keep the business flourishing.

Portfolio will prove a telling test case. If Conde Nast can make it work, creating both a journalistically and financially solid enterprise, then there may be life in traditional media yet. Sure, it could take an elaborate sales team (about 20 dedicated Portfolio reps and the efforts of the larger corporate sales team) and valentines in the press (no less an outlet than the American Journalism Review recently offered that Portfolio was "exhaustively reported, literary and slick," before a single page has been published).

But combine the right talent (Blaise Zerega, Matt Cooper, Kurt Eichenwald, to name three) with enough buzz, and you cannot only sell a magazine based on an established brand, you can create a new brand out of whole cloth.

"Magazines have been challenged," Carey says. "But during a period of great change, the classic behavior is a flight to quality, for readers and advertisers."

The inverse, however, is less appealing -- and, to some experts, a very real possibility.

It goes basically like this: After a buzz-laden launch, the magazine goes the way of Talk, the original Radar and scores of other similar and different titles with the right pedigree that failed to locate a profitable business model. Newsstand sales decrease, the rate base becomes harder to guarantee and eventually advertisers slink away.

And unlike Talk or any of its high-profile forebears, the stakes are higher in the case of a Conde Nast magazine. After all, if the company with glamour, editorial chops and profit and savvy ad reps can't pursue an effective print strategy, who can?

Read the full article at:

Print Media Should Emulate Google

Print Media Should Emulate Google
By David Evans spaper-form-factor-oped- cx_de_0424newspaper.html

The stories about the troubles in the newspaper industry and the search for solutions keep on coming.

The Tribune Company has joined the ranks of other newspapers in whacking employees at the Chicago Tribune and LA Times to save costs. Meanwhile, The Inquirer in Philadelphia is cleverly raising revenue by selling sponsorships for columns--the new PhillyInc column will carry the Citizens Bank logo. Both should conjure visions of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke.

Newspapers have attracted readers because they have content people value and respect. Less staff means fewer fresh stories and ad-sponsored columns diminishes the credibility that has been the industry's calling card since the first newspapers hit the streets in the U.S. in 1690.

Not surprisingly, angry investors are circling the wagons. On Wednesday, the Ochs/Sulzberger families are defending their stewardship of The New York Times at the annual shareholder meeting.

So, what's the solution? It's the form factor, stupid.

The newspaper business has a simple model: charge advertisers for getting access to readers whom you attract with relevant content and cheap prices. That's been a great model for a few centuries now, and it is far from dying. No reason to depart from it--and, in fact, that's precisely the model Google is using to sweep a path of destruction through every advertising-supported media business there is (more on this momentarily). It's the physical method that newspapers use to do this--what business types call the "form factor"--that's the problem, the Achilles Heel of the industry's current business model. Printing content and displaying ads on paper is going to go the way of the vinyl record and perhaps even the CD.

Here's why. Traditional media sell advertisers a pig in a poke. Advertisers don't know whether a reader actually looks at their ad much less buys anything as a result. And they can't really target their ads beyond picking a type of newspaper and section to focus on in the hopes of reaching a particular demographic group.

Google and its ilk only charge advertisers when a viewer clicks on the very page containing their ad and perhaps, in the future, only when the viewer actually buys something. Plus, they can use all that information collected from past searches and other information they've gleaned about viewers to target ads with an increasing degree of accuracy. The technology is a different as a Schwinn one-speed bike is from a Porsche 911 turbo.

So, if anyone is going to save the newspaper industry, it isn't any of the moguls who think they can breathe life into a dying technology. It is more likely to be someone like Steve Jobs who can devise a really appealing way to make newspapers available digitally.

Sony, Microsoft and others have tried to come up with digital readers but so far most people aren't that excited. But suppose someone invented a digital newspaper, connected wirelessly to the Internet, that people actually enjoyed reading over coffee in the morning or taking along their morning train ride. Then newspapers could insert advertisements that people could click on, or advertisements that were tailored to knowledge about the person reading the ad. They would be playing on a more level playing field with Google and similar firms.

Unfortunately, this is a tall order, and the newspaper industry may not have time to wait. In the interim the online world is sucking so much advertising from the newspaper industry that it may be going into a protracted death spiral. As advertisers desert, newspapers cut content and raise prices to readers, as the New York Post did this week when it doubled its newsstand price to 50 cents. All this could lead to fewer readers and to even fewer advertisers. This will only be compounded as advertising and content also shifts to mobile phones--screens that almost everyone now carries every minute of the day.

Make no mistake: The only way to stop the slide of the newspaper industry into oblivion is to replace the traditional paper "form factor" with a technology that can compete with pay-per-click, per-per-action and contextual advertising. Anything less will only accelerate the industry's decline.

David S. Evans, visiting professor, University College in London, is founder of Market Platform Dynamics and co-author with Richard Schmalensee, Dean of the MIT Sloan School, of Catalyst Code: The Strategies Behind the World's Most Dynamic Companies, to be published by Harvard Business School Press next month.


By KEITH J. KELLY ouch_out_of_it_business_keith_j__kelly.htm

IN Touch's gamble to jettison celebrities for its cover story and go with real-life news tied to last week's Virginia Tech massacre turned out to be a newsstand bust. "It was one of our lowest issues of the year," conceded In Touch Editor-in-Chief Richard Spencer.

The issue hit newsstands last Wednesday in New York and Thursday or Friday for the rest of the country.

The estimates available after the weekend, projected the magazine to have single-copy sales in the low 900,000 range, compared with an average week when the magazine sells about 1.2 million newsstand copies.

Some rivals think the final tally will come in below 900,000, making it the lowest-selling issue in two years.

"I still think it was worth doing," said Spencer. "We tried something different." Still, he says he probably would not stray so far afield in the future.

For the People magazine franchise, which has a tradition of covering real-life events, the Virginia Tech shooting issue didn't move the newsstand needle much either.

"It was an average seller," said one source with knowledge of the numbers. In the first half last year, People was selling over 1.5 million copies on newsstands.

One rival said Virginia Tech was on the "low-average" range for them, while coverage of the slaying at the Amish school house last year was on the high- average side - so In Touch may have drained off some potential readers.

The biggest winner of the week was OK! with its exclusive photos of Larry Birkhead and Dannielynn, the daughter he had with Anna Nicole Smith.

Publisher Tom Morrisey said it was the magazine's highest-selling issue ever, aside from its 25-cent promotional issues.

Sales in the 600,000 level were nearly double year- ago sales of 334,506 a week.

Meanwhile, sources say that rumblings of an Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt bust-up did well for Life & Style and Star - even if the stories were nothing beyond speculation.

Life & Style cranked out its top-selling issue of the year, selling nearly 900,000 - a whopping 200,000 more than its year-ago average.
Star was selling close to 800,000. Though that's only up modestly from its year-ago average of 752,000, it's on the rebound from late last year when it had trouble passing the 550,000 mark.

Meanwhile, Us Weekly ran with a cover of Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton calling it quits and it was mildly disappointing, selling somewhere near 900,000. A year ago, Us Weekly was selling around 1 million copies a week.

New price

Hubert Boehle, CEO of Bauer Publications, will push the envelope again this week when In Touch and Life & Style, which had been selling at $1.99 - cornering the low- priced end of the market - will test a new cover price of $2.19 on about half the issues, according to newsstand sources.

A company spokeswoman would not confirm the test.

Tout Swede

An item in Page Six yesterday about Icelandic billionaire Jon Asgeir Johannesson purchasing a $10 million Gramercy Park condo has stirred up more than just the real estate world.

It also heightened rumors that Johannesson would soon be eyeing the New York market for the introduction of yet another free daily paper to compete with Metro New York and the Tribune-owned amNew York.

His company, Baugur Group, has a controlling stake in Dagsbrun, which has formed 365 Media and last week launched Boston Now, a new free weekly. The 365 Media CEO is Russell Pergament, who earlier launched and then sold amNew York to Tribune.

The company has said it wants to roll out free dailies in 10 U.S. cities in the next three years. But with Johannesson setting up home here, the speculation is that New York could be his next launch market in the near future.


Jann Wenner has renewed the contract for Us Weekly Publisher Vicky Rose, but sources say Wenner has taken a big bite out of her compensation package by lowering the commission payments.

"I am here, I am committed and I have renewed my contract," confirmed Rose, but she would not divulge details.

One internal rumbling said the new payments will be about 20 percent lower than a year ago as Wenner slashes compensation for many of his longtime sales executives.

Rose started as publisher in September 2000. At the time, it was still questionable whether the magazine would succeed.

Since then, the magazine has turned into a trend- setting weekly that last year sold 1,931 ad pages, up 7 percent from a year earlier, according to Media Industry Newsletter. It's also been on the Ad Age A-List four years in a row.

That's why tightening the screws now is so baffling.

Rose wouldn't comment but did offer, "The magazine is at a mature place now. I think his commitment to the magazine is strong and my commitment is strong."

Another rumor making the rounds is that Wenner might be getting ready to sell Us Weekly and that's why he is trying to get rid of some high-priced executives while also securing others with long term contracts.

Among those who have left are longtime general manager Kent Brownridge, who departed a year ago. Janice Min, the editor of Us Weekly magazine, still doesn't have a new contract, even though her current one expires at the end of June.

A Wenner Media spokesman insisted that "Us Weekly is not for sale."

Meanwhile, Wenner, after a long search has landed a new art director for Rolling Stone.

Joe Hutchinson, one of the more critically acclaimed art directors in the newspaper world, is finally jumping ship from the Los Angeles Times.

He had been with John Carroll at the Baltimore Sun and stayed with him when he jumped to the Times.

Hutchinson stayed on under Dean Baquet, who quit last year after he clashed with the owners at Chicago- based Tribune, who were pushing for additional newsroom cuts.

The company has agreed to be bought by Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell, and that, plus a new editor at the L.A. Times, was enough to convince Hutchinson to hit the road.

Wenner had earlier been rebuffed in his efforts to sign Hutchinson, but apparently talks never completely broke off. Early this week he signed what is said to be a nice mid- six-figure deal.

However, it remains to be seen how much leeway Wenner will give to the new art director and how soon before the owner starts driving him crazy.

Magazine Series Raises Ethical Questions

Memo Pad: Blurring The Lines?

Magazines and other traditional media have leapt upon Web video, in part to maximize advertising opportunities. But Marie Claire's new podcast series, "The Masthead With Marie Claire," has raised questions about whether ethical guidelines separating advertising and editorial apply in the digital realm. The video podcasts, which are produced in collaboration with and boast impressive production values and "Devil Wears Prada"-esque flourish, are sponsored by Unilever with occasional chipping in by Diesel as "patron."

Nearly every one of the eight segments so far has prominently featured Unilever beauty products in scenes with the magazine's editors, and the most recent one included footage of the Diesel New York show, with Marie Claire fashion director Tracy Taylor explaining in the podcast, "What I love about Diesel . . . Occasionally, the placement of Unilever products seems to have required some effort on the magazine's part - a junior fashion editor on location at the United Nations for a shoot extols Degree deodorant (a Unilever product) to avoid staining a garment, and style director Cleo Glyde holds up two Sunsilk products (once again, Unilever) to illustrate a point about the varying beauty choices of French and American women. Beauty director Didi Gluck, who has since left the magazine, holds forth on a Dove self- tanner, and even editor in chief Joanna Coles does her part in episode one with a Dove skin product (both, of course, Unilever). But much of the product- praising duties seem to have fallen upon deputy beauty director Genevieve Monsma, who calls one Dove product "one of my favorites," and claims to have it in every sink in her apartment. Later that episode, she adds, "We're actually not going to cover hair in this story, but I saw these great products that came in from Suave [from Unilever] that I thought we could chat about a little bit."

The American Society of Magazine Editors, whose board monitors adherence to its guidelines for editorial integrity, has a set of "Best Practices for Digital Media," which board member and Slate editor in chief Jacob Weisberg said soon will be revised to reflect technological change. "The principle is exactly the same . . . . Readers and users have to know what is advertising and what is editorial on the Web, as in print," he said. The ASME board has not reviewed the Marie Claire podcasts in particular, but Weisberg said: "It's got to be separate. [Advertising] can't include the editors and shouldn't be produced by the editors."

A spokeswoman for Marie Claire said, "'The Masthead With Marie Claire' is a podcast that is designed as a television show produced for the Web. From reality shows such as 'The Apprentice' to scripted shows like 'The Office,' brand integration is the norm. ASME guidelines do not extend to podcasts and Webisodes."

But Marlene Kahan, executive director of ASME, contended "the general codes do apply" to digital productions by members. "All online pages should clearly distinguish between editorial and advertising or sponsored content," the ASME guidelines read. "A magazine's name or logo should not be used in a way that suggests editorial endorsement of an advertiser. The site's sponsorship policies should be clearly noted, either in text accompanying the article or on a disclosure page, to clarify that the sponsor had no input regarding the content."

In episode seven, Monsma describes a Dove beauty junket in the Dominican Republic (two product launches, one "particularly novel," another "really great"). She later says, "We can't try absolutely everything that comes in, but [we try] the products that are notable for one reason or another." Glyde replies, "By the time a product ends up in the magazine, you can be pretty sure that the girls have had a little bit of fun with it." Or at least their publisher has. - Irin Carmon

Karma Chameleons

Karma Chameleons
By William Powers
National Journal Group Inc.

As I write this column, two magazines, Newsweek and Time, sit at my elbow. Each is the current issue, dated April 23. Each devotes its cover and many inside pages to a story that, as it went to press, was seemingly the only thing that mattered in America, the fall of Don Imus. Each intelligently pores over that story, discovering Several Larger Truths about our culture.

And each feels pointless, expired, like an ancient scroll found in a cave. Try transporting yourself back to the time of Imus. Hard, isn't it? It was just five or six days ago, but it might as well be five months.

This Newsweek issue was hitting the stands the morning that the Blacksburg massacre happened. If you went to the magazine's Web site that day, you would have seen the Imus cover reduced to a postage stamp in an upper corner of the main page. That same day on The Huffington Post, Nora Ephron mocked the idea that anyone could still have anything to say about Imus (a clever frame for what she was doing in the piece: saying a few things about Imus). Nothing stinks like old news.

There is a tremendous poignancy to the news business right now. And I'm not talking about the trade's worries about money and declining audience, which are real if a bit overblown. I'm talking about the media's earnest, ongoing effort to get all of us to care simultaneously about the same thing -- these blockbuster stories that come and go so quickly, their fleetingness undermining their claim to have been blockbusters in the first place.

Don't get me wrong. We really do care about these stories for a few days, sometimes a week. Then one morning you wake up to find that the most urgent topic on the planet (or at least in this intensely self- absorbed corner of it), the five-alarm narrative that everyone from Bush to Obama to Rosie was weighing in on, has vanished from the collective consciousness. Did it really happen?

In the '90s, they called them "feeding frenzies," a phrase that cast journalists as predatory instigators, ruthless sharks. But real sharks are free agents in a way that journalists are not. To rack up clicks, sell issues, pull good ratings, newspeople have to please their client, which is the audience. Perhaps a better metaphor is an ant colony: The public is the great throbbing queen who gives the worker ants of the media their marching orders, and they bring back what she requires.

So why do we require these stories? On the most basic level, because they shock and/or titillate us. In a deeper way, they give us a sense of mass connection that is missing from our fragmented culture. Consumers spend more and more of their media time in demographic ghettos defined by ideology, sensibility, and other sources of tribal identity. Like movies and professional sports, the mega-story, whose content can range from Abu Ghraib to Anna Nicole, is social glue. This is what remains of togetherness.

It's an intense experience, but like most kinds of intensity, short-lived. The shelf life of most such stories mirrors the way we now consume news -- the nervous grazing, the flitting among headlines, links, YouTube quickies.

The other reason that they end so abruptly is that our engagement with them is often synthetic to begin with. Three weeks ago, Don Imus didn't figure at all in most people's lives. According to Newsweek, his radio show had 2.25 million-plus "unique" weekly listeners, which is less than the population of Minneapolis-St. Paul. He mattered more than that, briefly, because his transgression tapped into a few larger issues that society happened to be working on. The story itself is just an instrument, a disposable tool. Use it quickly and move on.

The exception to this rule is the rare story that is so large on its own terms, it obliterates all other story lines -- 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina being the most prominent recent examples. Maybe the Virginia Tech massacre, an authentic national horror, is one of those stories. Or maybe, even as you read this, the next big thing has already come along.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mags March Calmly Into Face of Chaos

Mags March Calmly Into Face of Chaos
Execs Spend on Research, Creatives and Advertising to Prove Power of Print By Nat Ives article_id=116231

Magazines have absorbed innumerable depressing forecasts since the internet arrived -- most recently last month, when "Bob Garfield's Chaos Scenario 2.0" in Advertising Age envisioned a "post-apocalyptic media world" in which "Canadian trees are left standing and broadcast towers aren't."

Most publishers say they aren't done logging -- and to make sure that it stays that way, they are increasingly funding new research, seeking supporters outside their ranks, raiding agencies for creatives to offer their advertisers and even -- who would have thought? -- running print ad campaigns to make their case.

"We'd have to be 'Tommy' without the pinball machine to not realize that we're dealing with one of the most mercurial and transitional phases in the history of media," said Richard Beckman, president of the Conde Nast Media Group. "There's no question that over the years, the poor consumer has become bombarded with commercial messages. And the consumer reacted to this whole era of saturation. Whether that meant the 60 million of them who signed up for the Do Not Call List in the first year or whether it's the enormous TiVo penetration or whether it's living in a gated community, there's no question that the consumer is resisting."

Long live the niche
That said, Mr. Beckman went on, broad-reach magazines are indeed facing challenges as other media options proliferate. "Niche magazines that pursue their niches with uncompromising excellence," he said, "are here to stay."

Now, let's get some things straight here. Mr. Beckman is a sales executive at Condé Nast Publications, a niche publishing company. So of course he's going to be optimistic about his company's future despite ominous signs around the industry. What signs? Well, the last 18 months have seen axes fall on magazines both niche and broad, including Life, Child, Premiere, Elle Girl, FHM, Shop Etc., Teen People, Cargo, Official PlayStation Magazine, Weekend, Celebrity Living, Shape en Espanol and Shock. Newsstand sales also spent much of the last decade in decline, only recently pulling up -- to flat. Ad-page sales, when you look across the industry, are idling near zero growth. And magazines as diverse as Star, Time, Woman's Day, TV Guide, BusinessWeek, Reader's Digest and Playboy have all cut their guaranteed circulation in the past couple years.

But the media buyers and consultants who help direct billions in ad spending agree that magazines -- okay, some magazines -- truly aren't going away. "Magazines in the United States are a declining category overall," said Rishad Tobaccowala, president of The Denuo Group, a firm founded to track and exploit media trends. Falling fastest: business-to- business books, overly narrow niche plays and the generalists. Mr. Tobaccowala said Condé Nast does well not because of niches, but because it counter- programs the internet with lavish visuals, rich tactile experiences, longer articles and layouts that don't work well on the web.

Mag ads more tolerated
Research also keeps suggesting that readers enjoy magazine advertising in a way that, say, TV viewers don't. Maybe that's because it's easier to flip past an ad than skip over a commercial. In any case, fashionistas will never reject a September issue of Harper's Bazaar because it's too fat with ads.

"Will there be a weeding out?" said George Janson, managing partner and director-print at Mediaedge:cia, which represents clients including Federated Department Stores. "Without a doubt. Is that a terrible thing? Absolutely not. It will make everyone work harder and smarter to grab the consumer's attention. Strong magazine brands will prosper just like they do in other product categories."

All the chaos, innovation and shutdowns are actually distracting us from what matters, according to Andrew Swinand, president and chief client officer at Starcom USA. "We're so focused on distribution, distribution, distribution," he said. "The core if you look at the consumer is: Will consumers still read, watch, listen? This whole argument about magazines -- whether they go away, will it be on 30-stock paper or 32-stock paper -- is an irrelevant discussion. To say it's not mass, it's niche, that's the wrong discussion. People will read whether they're reading on a piece of paper or a portable liquid screen that's yet to be invented. And I don't think it matters to publishers."

Yard sale at Time
Employees at Time Inc. might find that long view cold comfort. Time Inc., the country's largest magazine publisher, has spent the last 15 months eliminating hundreds of jobs, selling 19 magazines, closing two others and, most recently, exploring "alternatives" for some Australian titles -- basically so the company can spend more on digital publishing without sapping its annual results.

The company just calls that managing change, insisting it will always buy ink by the barrel even if the fastest growth is online. "The tactile quality of a magazine, the 'for me' time that magazines represent, the ability to take it wherever you want, the ability to not have a screen blinking at you, I don't think that's easily substituted," said John Squires, the senior exec VP at Time Inc.

"Magazines that I think talk about lifestyle subjects with great photography and great service will always have a great role in the consumers' media habits," said Michael Clinton, Hearst Magazines' exec VP, CMO and publishing director. "We'll also certainly build that out to digital platforms, but what we find is that magazines have edited authority and they stimulate consumers to go and do something else.

"Bob Garfield's grandchildren will be reading magazines," he said.

Magazines Sticking to Paper

"Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry, all things easy. He that rises late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night, while laziness travels so slowly that poverty soon overtakes him."
Benjamin Franklin (American Statesman, Scientist, Philosopher, Printer, Writer and Inventor. 1706-1790)

Magazines Sticking to Paper
By Phil Rosenthal 0704210016apr23,1,5241653.column? ctrack=1&cset=true

NEW YORK -- Looking out the window at the scab of Ground Zero from the new offices of Fast Company magazine, which two weeks ago moved into the reconstructed 7 World Trade Center building, recently installed Editor Robert Safian reflected on the state of business magazines.

Some have written obituaries for the genre, expecting the pressure of competing for readers increasingly conditioned to expect and rely upon near-instant information and insight to crush the weeklies, biweeklies and monthlies into dust, not diamonds.

"I never believed that," said Safian, a transfer from Time Inc.'s Fortune now eight weeks into his new job, with one issue of Fast Company under his belt. "I just think business is too important a part of our culture, and too many people spend too much of their life obsessed with it. ... It's about finding the right way to present it."

Still, the circulation for major business magazines has been slipping of late, and Publishers Information Bureau reports ad pages in the first quarter of 2007 are down 13 percent at Fortune, 9 percent at Forbes and 3 percent at BusinessWeek.

Safian's monthly, under Chicago-based owner Joe Mansueto, is in the process of resurrecting itself, having soared and crashed under previous proprietors.

S.I. Newhouse's new business monthly, Conde Nast Portfolio, a glam, glossy and hefty tome literally in the mold of Conde Nast's Vanity Fair, is set to make its national debut Tuesday, after hitting newsstands in New York this week.

"We both have owners who are willing to invest heavily through choppy waters," Safian said, who said Morningstar founder Mansueto "sees the potential and promise in the print medium and believes that paper has advantages if you use it the right way, if you put the right things on it. That was refreshing to hear, certainly coming from Time Inc."

Digital is the buzzword of all media these days, and the measure of how forward thinking one's company is, is measured by the extent to which it embraces the Internet and other new technologies, often at the expense of the traditional product.

But the sizable investments of smart, shrewd folks such as Mansueto and Newhouse suggest that print is not entirely passe. They're not ignoring the Internet.

Harold Boling on Thursday was named head of Mansueto Digital, charged with growing digital platforms such as And Newhouse's Conde Nast is launching in conjunction with the magazine. But these efforts are aimed at complementing the print presence.

"There is a visceral feel and visual experience of working with paper that is different in quality than reading online ... the lushness and enveloping feeling you get when you read a magazine," Safian said. "They're coming to [a magazine] for a break from the tumult of the daily information for some perspective."

Joanne Lipman, Portfolio's editor, had a similar take in a phone interview last week.

"You have your Web site and your CNBC or whatever keeps you up to date for the moment, and then the magazine is a completely different experience," she said. "It's that tactile experience of paging through something and enjoying it and wanting to become engaged in it.

"A lot of the print publications, including daily newspapers, are racing to keep up with the Web. So what's missing from that equation becomes the in- depth story that can put things in context, that can set an agenda, and that can tell the story in a really compelling way, with the great photography and the great design. ... Also, [Portfolio] is a monthly. It's not something that you have to consume instantly."

Heck, you couldn't if you tried.

Where Fast Company is punchy and, well, fast at 120 pages in its May issue, Portfolio's May debut runs 332 pages.

Among Portfolio's chief attractions, along with an impressive 185 pages of ads, as much a monument to capitalism as the magazine's content, is a 7,500- word essay on hedge funds that goes 366 words, a little less than half the length of this column, before the phrase "hedge fund" first appears.

Some things are meant to be savored. The trick is to not wind up under a pile on the nightstand or buried at the bottom of a briefcase in the meantime. One suspects targeted readers are more likely to be on the go from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. than the old 9-to-5. Their time is at a premium.

"We have to make it fun for you," Safian said. "A lot of the established business magazines are work. They're boring. ... They're about how you can make as much money as you possibly can this quarter, whether you're a company or an investor."

They target "the reader as a shareholder, or you the reader as an employee," said Lipman, who came to Portfolio after developing the Wall Street Journal's weekend edition.

"Business pervades every aspect of society and of our life, and we wanted to connect the dots [of] the impact that business has on the broader culture," Lipman said.

Fast Company also wants to think of itself as "trying to create an environment that makes it easier for you to be inspired by the things that you're seeing, so you can think differently about yourself and your business and your career," Safian said.

"We all say, 'Let's think out of the box,' but even those people who think they're thinking outside of the box aren't usually doing it," he said. "It's very hard to be creative and to be up, and there are a lot of challenges in business."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: on MPA , Time Inc, Hearst, PIB and More

BoSacks Speaks Out:
For any of those who might be interested, I had a letter to the editor posted on the op-ed pages of Saturday's New York Times. The subject was "Gonzales v. Gonzales" (editorial, April 20) Here is the link: 1/opinion/l21gonzales.html? _r=1&oref=slogin

"The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge." Elbert Hubbard
(American editor, publisher and writer, 1856-1915)

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: on MPA , Time Inc, Hearst, PIB and More

RE: Study Reveals TV Pharma Ads Are Not As Effective As Print
The occasional positive analyses we see regarding the effectiveness of print advertising remind me of the story of the men who are locked in a dark room with an elephant. Each one analyzes the piece immediately in front of him. Individually they conclude the tail is a rope, the trunk is a fire hose, the leg is a tree trunk, etc.. But no one recognizes the elephant in the room.

We get the same effect in these studies. Someone discovers that people remember print ads. Who'da thunk it? Someone else realizes that half the reason people buy magazines is because they like the ads. Imagine our surprise! Maybe one of these days some research group will turn on the lights, and advertisers and agencies and media buyers will recognize the elephant in the room: Print works.
(Submitted by a Printer and lifelong pal of BoSacks)

RE: Black to Basics at Hearst Magazines
I'm sure they like the money from the deal, but does this make the most sense for long-range strategy? If things are moving to the web, why would you take what you had been developed on the web and shift it to television? That's training your audience to go elsewhere. I could easily be wrong, but I suspect publishers need to really look at long-term viability and let that strategy dictate tactics and business deals.
(Submitted by a writer)

Re: Trades Mags Event Revenues Surpass Print Mr. Sacks, Counterpoint . . . . What this article fails to point out is that most b2b publishers still derive 85% to 95% of their revenue from the print products as compared to digital initiatives. The other point to be made is that for every dollar lost on the print site to digital products equates to only about 20 cents in recouped revenue. I would also point out that the growth in event and conferences can be as much attributed to the print products and understanding and serving the needs of your audience rather than just the emergence of digital.

Of course digital revenue is the fasting growing category.When you start from nothing, that would be the obvious trend even if you only make limited strides. I'm not a dinosaur and like other b2b publishers we are spending a huge disproportionate amount of time on emedia as we should be. The article and Gordon's comments, if they were reported in the context he stated, tend to skew the reality of the situation as it exists today. Print IS NOT what I would call a minority of revenue generated by b2b print centric media companies! I would strongly urge b2b publishers to remain focused on their core business, create and nurture communities and most importantly understand and serve the needs of the reader in conjunction with seizing the new digital opportunities.
(Submitted by a Senior Vice President of Manufacturing & Circulation)

In Response to . . .
As a relative newcomer to publishing, I'm absorbing the culture, like a visitor to a new country. And with that innocent perspective I'm amazed at the suicidal tendencies of most industry pundits. Perhaps they've never experienced competition or adversity in any form. The drumbeat of fatalism is everywhere. Why even write about it? It's too awful . . . just kill yourself now. Really . . . or stop writing like this. Please, one or the other.

Is it possible that the blogosphere is a step in the evolution of the internet and doesn't actually represent the end of civilization? Just as Fox News didn't, not for lack of effort, end all critical thinking in America? Imagine the immediate post Gutenberg world . . . a Kinko's next to every Starbuck's, printing words just like they were printing . . . the Bible. . or the Koran. What gives them the right?

But in time, the values of the society will float to the top, for good and bad. A society that values truth and fairness will ultimately support professional journalism as the best source of trustworthy information. A society that craves only entertainment will be happy with just about anything that keeps its attention. Of the lessons Americans have been forced to swallow since 9-11, one is that the rest of humanity really isn't just like them. Ignorance and Absolutism are even more prevalent elsewhere. And to know with absolute certainty is to abandon thinking for believing and thereby step back in evolutionary time.. a trip many of us are not willing to take.

So, technology allows us to be ourselves, just more expediently. It plays no role in personal development or the accretion of wisdom. In things that matter, we are not changed at all.
(Submitted by a BoSacks Subscriber with an unknown Job Title)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
for all we know, the person who wrote it up every month quit or got another job and they handed it off to someone who didn't have the time needed to compile it every 30 days.

in a lot of ways it's an underutilized data series. there's a lot of neat things that could be done with it that seem to escape them
(Submitted by an Industry Analyst and Pundit)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Bob, bad news is better if you only hear it 4 times a year instead of 12.
(Submitted by a Senior Paper Buyer)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Bo, This is a non-event. For those who want the data monthly in the PIB community it will still be available. Looking at quarterly rather than monthly makes more sense for a trend analysis for two simple reasons, 1) it aligns with how other media report advertising and 2) it allows to better average variances such as months in on one year with five issue dates versus following year that might have four. What exactly is the argument for monthly anyway? Who is making what kind of decision or creating an informed opinion about the robustness of a market like publishing advertising from PIB reports that can't do that four times a year rather than 12?
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manfacturing and Distribution)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Oh, boy. Here we go again. The MPA is supposed to HELP the magazine publishing industry, but it hasn't been working out that way lately. Just about the time the MPA's ill fated "magazines in the future" print campaign fades into memory like a bad dream, here comes another nightmare - thinking that no news to the advertising community will be perceived as "at least it's not bad news, again". Amazing.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing and Distribution)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
Bob: When you're losing the game, and can't compete, change the rules to your favor. A long standing political adage.
(Submitted by a senior ad sales rep)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
I do not understand this. For years there has been talk of "Immediacy", getting the newsstand copies, especially monthly titles, on sale more quickly. That seems to have stalled.

There was a revolution toward digital ads in order to get away from the 7 to 10 week ad closing cycle, and this seems to have been successful, though there are not many published ad closing schedules of 3 weeks that I know of.

So on the one hand you have this drive for speed, and now you have this data coming out every 3 months versus every month.

TV ratings come out "overnight". How do mags compete with that?

The mag business needs new measurements that show how fast magazine ads cume in the marketplace, and how consumers are acting on those ads they see every day in their magazines. A measurement to see how the ads are working.

Having less timely reporting does not seem the route to take in a 24/7/365 world.
(Submitted by a Former Production Titan)

Re: Mag Lag: PIB Scraps Monthly Reporting
This should be unimportant to the advertisers, because they should be finding ways of measuring the effectiveness of their own campaigns and media choices. To use that basis for making advertising decisions would be like choosing a mechanic based on which one charged the most per repair, assuming that meant you'd get the best job done. But anyone who has had a car repaired knows how insane that is. What you really want to know is whether the result per dollar spent is favorable. If so, then who cares how much the various publishers made per page?

Are the publishers trying to obfuscate things? Oh, probably, but they also have a good point about how businesspeople are so quick to grasp at monthly trends and bounce around in reaction. W. Edwards Deming, the seminal figure in statistical quality control, had an experiment. He'd give someone a target on the floor, a handful of ball bearings, and have them try hitting the target. When the person dropping the bearings stayed in one place, then the bearings fell in a definite pattern, meaning that you could look at fixing the process of how that subject was doing the dropping. However, when the person was told to adjust to try hitting the target after each drop, the result was bearings scattered all over the place. By trying to fix the aim at every moment, the result was an unstable system that could never be improved. That, I think, is how many marketers make their decisions.

(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: Pew Survey Finds Most Knowledgeable Americans
The results are not surprising in the least. If you are interested in national and world events, watching PBS News Hour from 7-8PM, with a chaser of of Daily Show (OK, it was really LAST night's show, but it's still only 21 hours old) followed by pure cynicism on the Colbert Report is a good as it gets. Is American Idol's top rating, and Jeopardy's longevity, related to the fact that so many Americans are oblivious to important world events? The dumbing down of America has been going on for years. The only question is whether it is beyond the point of no return. Thirty three poor souls are murdered in Virginia by a madman, and the entire country watches nothing else for days, but 160 Iraqi's get blown up, and it's not even on the radar of most Americans. We have become the most isolated country of the world, sadly.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing and Distribution)

RE: right on target.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my email. I have come to rely on your insights into the industry and I find your outbursts to be very refreshing and for the most part . . . right on target. There is something that you do that other editors should focus in upon. Where everyone else is drilling down to the core of various subjects and interests, you on the other hand successfully cover a large industry with a very broad pallet. And yet you clearly keep everyone's interest.

At the end of the day I think it is the clear and unmistakable VOICE of your product that makes it a must read. When you came to our office and consulted with our company you emphasized that as a primary goal for our titles. Now I finally see that not only were you right, but you practice what you preach. (Submitted by a Senior Circulator)

Mag Bag: After Cutting Junk Circ, Discover Flourishes

Mag Bag: After Cutting Junk Circ, Discover Flourishes
by Erik Sass fuseaction=Articles.san&s=59022&Nid=29598&p=204 904

Inflated circulation figures are a perennial and growing complaint of consumer magazine media buyers. But over the last year, some pubs have begun moving decisively to trim "junk" circulation, thus presenting a more convincing picture of ad reach. The strategy is paying off for Discover magazine, whose new management took an axe to junk circ after buying the title from Disney in fall 2005. In the first quarter of 2007, its ad pages jumped 26.8% and rate card revenue rose 14.6%, according to the latest figures from the Publisher's Information Bureau.

In a symbolic measure of the turnaround, its June issue will have more ad pages than any issue since December 2004 -- a year before management attacked junk circ -I ncluding four new advertisers: Shell, Olympus Camera, POM and Celestron Telescopes.

According to Henry Donahue, Discover Media's CFO, "Part of the investment thesis was that the rate base was inflated," to the tune of "100,000-150,000 copies delivered to doctors' waiting rooms each month." When added to paid subscription and newsstand sales, it totaled about 850,000, which helped Disney keep the magazine's total circulation around a million. Significantly, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations' report from June 2005, newsstand sales and subs were both declining in that period, and Disney "was doing heavy, heavy discounting against the rate base," Donahue said. There were few display advertisers, as direct response ads proliferated.

"By cutting out the junk circ entirely," Donahue said, the magazine's new owner, Bob Guccione, Jr., "calculated we would be able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on production and distribution, with no appreciable loss on the advertising side." With a reduced rate base of 700,000, mostly subscribers paying up to $25 a year, the magazine can go to advertisers with solid claims of an engaged readership.

Apparently, three makes a trend. Time and TV Guide both slashed their rate bases in 2006 in hopes of producing a more plausible and transparent ad sales pitch. Time reduced its rate base from 4 million to 3.25 million, as it also began offering media execs the option of buying a total audience basis derived from MediaMark Resarch's new "issue specific" magazine measure. TV Guide's cut was far more dramatic, from 9 million to 3.2 million, and was accompanied by a move to regular magazine format.

Kena Launches for Hispanic Women

A new lifestyle magazine called Kena is set to launch on April 23, targeting Hispanic women in the U.S. with bimonthly distribution, via the eight largest Hispanic newspapers: La Opinion in Los Angeles, El Diario La Prensa in New York, La Raza in Chicago, El Nuevo Herald in Miami, Al Dia in Dallas, La Voz in Houston, Fronteras in the San Francisco Bay Area, and La Voz in Phoenix. With content including beauty, fashion, cooking, money, décor, family and parenting, the magazine will debut with a circulation of 600,000 per issue.

Kelly Appointed Editor Of U.S. News & World Report

Brian Kelly was promoted from executive editor to editor of U.S. News &World Report this week, according to the magazine's management. In his previous role, Kelly supervised the magazine's Web site, and now joins a growing group of editors ascending from Web roles to overall magazine management. Before joining U.S. News in 1998, Kelly was an editor and reporter for The Washington Post, where he helped establish the newspaper's Internet presence.

Playboy Hires Hagopian For Digital

Playboy Enterprises, Inc., announced it has hired Tom Hagopian as a division executive vice-president and general manager for digital media. In this role, Hagopian will lead the development and management of the company's online and mobile businesses, both in the U.S. and abroad. Based in New York, he will report to executive vice-president and president of media, Bob Meyers.

Time and Hearst focus on new media, not new titles

Time and Hearst focus on new media, not new titles
By Joshua Chaffin in New York
Financial Times

In the history of US magazine launches, the high point may have been August 1999, when Tina Brown's Talk magazine debuted.

Jointly owned by Miramax and Hearst Communications, Talk came into the world with an extravagant party in which Hollywood celebrities and former presidents took over the Statue of Liberty.

In spite of a publicity blitz and controversy over some of its celebrity profiles and interviews, the magazine was never a commercial success. It closed in 2001.

These days, new magazine launches - let alone big- budget events - are few and far between.

Ann Moore, chief executive of Time Inc. and known as "the launch queen", is instead focused on the internet as she tries to generate growth.

Time Inc., the world's largest magazine publisher, recently pruned 18 titles from its portfolio so that it could focus more resources on its web strategy.

At Hearst, the focus these days is also on new media rather than new titles.

The company recently signed a deal with Fox Television to create video content based on Hearst brands such as CosmoGIRL! and Popular Mechanics.

The idea is to create short "webisodes" to reach readers and advertisers online.

While Portfolio represents a rare print launch, Condé Nast is also eager to emphasise its internet attributes.

The company hired Chris Jones, the former head of programming at Yahoo Finance, to oversee its website, and also brought on board its own crew of bloggers.
"The website is huge. It's key to the enterprise," said Joanne Lipman, Portfolio's editor-in-chief.

© The Financial Times Ltd 2007.


Meredith forms new company with Learfield
Magazine publisher Meredith Corp. is reaching out to "ruralpolitans," a growing group of city folk who have found their place on rural acreages.

The Des Moines-based company said Thursday it had formed a new company called Living the Country Life LLC with Learfield Communications Inc., a Missouri- based broadcast company that produces news, farm and sports programming.

The new company will provide ruralpolitans with information on buying and maintaining rural acreages.

Living the Country Life is Meredith's five-year-old magazine aimed at rural residents who work in the city. The company created a television program from that magazine about two years ago that airs in half- hour segments on RFD-TV.

Under the joint partnership, Living the Country Life will be expanded to include radio programming, an improved Web site and at least two more editions yearly of the magazine.

"All of this gives us an opportunity to expand this brand," said Art Slusark, Meredith spokesman.

The deal gives Learfield a financial stake in the Living the Country Life brand, but Meredith will maintain controlling interest in the new company, said Tom Davis said, publisher of Meredith's Successful Farming magazine, which created the Living the Country Life brand.

"The rural lifestyle market is gaining momentum in the marketplace," said Davis. It's an affluent group of people who want a rural lifestyle not necessarily connected to farming. Topics the magazine and television show cover include building fences, landscaping, maintaining a pond, planting a garden, baling hay, buying a tractor, outdoor grilling, bird- watching and controlling weeds.

"We see this as a growing segment for our business," said Stan Koenigsfeld, president Learfield News. Learfield had the expertise in multi-media marketing, particularly in collegiate sports, while Meredith had expertise in publishing and agriculture, he said.

The joint venture officially begins July 1, Davis said. The Living the Country Life radio spots - each 2 and a half minutes long to run four times daily - will begin airing by the end of summer, Davis predicted.
An enhanced Web site will be relaunched sooner and will include more information and be more user friendly, Davis said.

The new company will employ about 10 people, Slusark said. Three Meredith employees, including Julie Schwalbe, who will serve as General Manager, and Living the Country Life editor Betsy Freese, will work for the new entity and seven other will be hired as writers, sales people, production workers and Web masters, he said.

Learfield operates Radio Iowa and the Hawkeye Sports and Cyclone Sports networks. It also operates Brownfield Agriculture News.

Publishers Still Supporting High Circ Levels

Publishers Still Supporting High Circ Levels
By Baird Davis prmMID=3023

The consumer magazine industry's high wire fascination with the precarious task of supporting lofty circulation levels continued in the second half of 2006. The industry's aggregate paid and verified circulation fell a minuscule .4 percent, from 283 to 282 million. Without TV Guide's 4 million circ decline, consumer magazine circulation would have risen one percent.

In the face of stiff Internet competition and an apparent decline in magazine readership, it seems irrational that publishers would persist in supporting lofty circ levels. A look at the influence of current market trends helps illuminate some of the reasons for this behavior.

The circulation of consumer magazines has been continually growing since old Ben Franklin first published the Saturday Evening Post. Until the mid 1980's, the industry's millenniums old circulation growth remained proportional with the rising number of readers-a nicely balanced media equation.

So what's behind the hyper growth of recent years? Like most abnormal market behavior, its origins can be traced to the pursuit of the all mighty dollar. Our review has revealed that there are six distinct market trends that have contributed to the industry's excessive circulation growth.

1. Rising Advertising Revenue Opportunities- Starting in the late 80's, and accelerating in the 90's, the race for the advertising pot of gold became more intense as the pool of available magazine advertising dollars grew. Publishing management focused on that pursuit. Advertising became cool and circulation was boring.

2. Advertising's Profit Contribution Increased- Rising advertising revenue changed the advertising/circulation profit contribution ratio. Several decades ago advertising and circulation contributed equally (50/50) to a publishing company's profit. Today the profit contribution ratio at most publishing companies is tipped heavily in favor of advertising. This change has altered the standards for determining circulation levels and helped modify circulation practices.

3. Changing Definition of Circulation Level Standards-Back in ancient times (the '80's) many publishers were guided in setting circ levels by the concept of managing to a "natural circulation" level. But since advertising revenue began its ascent, this quaint concept has become antiquated. However, I think it's still useful to be reminded of the inherent value of the "natural circulation" level ideal. It's broadly defined by the following parameters: properly balanced subscription-to-newsstand circ ratios (comparable to the leading publications in the category); subscription source mix that is heavily weighted (more than 75 percent) in favor of direct sold subscriptions; small circ representation (less than 5 percent) from agents whose orders are not direct sold; and subscription pricing for direct sold orders that is comparable, or greater than, the leading competitors in the category. Today, unfortunately, "natural circulation" principles are largely being ignored by publishers.

4. The Proliferation of Consumer Magazines- In the last two decades the rising number of new consumer magazines has greatly amplified niche/category competition. The increased category competition has exacerbated the difficulty of containing circ levels because advertisers still often view circulation growth as a sign of vitality and, conversely, stalled circ levels are seen as a sign of weakness.

5. The Rising Equity Value of Magazine Properties- Since the mid '80's consumer magazines have increasingly been viewed in the equity market as being valuable properties. This has led to more publicly held and /or leveraged ownership of magazine businesses. This, in turn, has contributed to management practices that are directed more toward short term objectives and less on the long range implications of circulation and circ level practices. The result is many of these short-sighted decisions have reduced circulation quality standards and helped support abnormally high circ levels.

6. "Legitimizing" New Sources of Circulation- In an attempt to sustain high circ levels, especially after the sudden demise of the stamp-sheet agent source in the mid '90's, publishers were forced to vigorously search for alternative sources of "paid" circulation. This precipitated the development, and expansion, of verified, paid sponsored, loyalty, combination and partnership circ. And it's contributed to selling subscriptions at vastly reduced prices. These "alternative" sources have helped publishers sustain high circ levels, but at the cost of reducing circulation profitability and compromising reader quality.
Final Thoughts

There are good reasons to explain publisher's fascination with high circ levels. But they don't justify the industry's bad behavior. Higher circ levels have partially compromised one of the most vital aspects of trust between publishers and advertisers-the quality of the reader. Publishers should recognize for their own good, and the well being of the industry, that they must start exercising greater circ level discipline. Let's hope they'll begin soon.

Buyers: Conde Nast's Portfolio nails it

Buyers: Conde Nast's Portfolio nails it
New upscale magazine is smartly positioned to compete
By Diego Vasquez cle_11515.asp

This may be the worst time ever to launch a magazine, and it may be true, as many believe, that Conde Nast Portfolio will turn out to be the last big launch. It's certainly no sure bet the new business publication will succeed, even with Conde Nast's great muscle behind it.

But if Portfolio does tank, it will not be for lack of commitment. While a lot of media buyers and planners have yet to see the premiere issue, which came out on Monday, those who have credit the publishing company with managing one of the smartest launches in memory.

They believe Portfolio is well-positioned to compete among the existing pure business titles but still stand apart as a unique hybrid, focused on the nexus where business, lifestyle and luxury meet up, as a Vanity Fair of sorts for the business reader.

And they credit Conde Nast for the way its sales staff sold Portfolio into media departments, patiently responding to criticism and doubts over an idea that seemed risky to so many, at a time when mainstream business titles have been struggling against the flight of readers and advertisers to the internet.

"I think it's been one of the most well-launched magazines as far as how they engaged the ad community," Heather Kruse, group media director at Fallon in Minneapolis, tells Media Life.

"A year and a half ago everybody's red flags went up, but they brought us along in their process," she says. "At each step they took feedback, so you've got to believe they incorporated that to make tweaks." The effect was to corral media buyers behind the publication. Kruse says she's placed a client in the second issue, due out in September. "It fills a niche."

"It was a very meticulous launch," says Alan Jurmain, group media director at Avrett Free Ginsberg in New York, with top talent in editor Joanne Lipman and David Carey, its publisher. "The web site is pretty impressive. They were aggressive with advertisers, wanting multiple-page commitments for the premiere issue."

"I think it's going to be successful. I think a publication like this has a definitive place in the list of considerations of business," says Steve Greenberger, executive vice president and media director at SLG Advertising in Greenwich, Conn.

"Portfolio has taken on an angle that talks about how to succeed in business and has done it in such a way that will work very well within the Conde Nast roster of magazines," he says.

"All the stars are in the right position. As they say on the agency side, it's up to them to screw it up."

Says Martin Walker of Walker Communications, the magazine consultant: "It's an impressive-looking launch with lots of advertising. They were able to capitalize on fashion connections they have with GQ and other magazines to bring a lot of those advertisers. But they also seem to have a significant amount of financial advertising, which is not traditional in the Conde Nast books."

Walker is particularly impressed by the balance between the print Portfolio and the companion web site, with the site offering business news and the magazine featuring articles of such length that they all but demand to be read on the printed page.

The effect, he says, is to protect the magazine from the ravages of the internet. Says Walker: "Most Conde Nast magazines are like that, except in most cases it's fashion or beauty, where you need the printed page to show the product."

A big issue facing Portfolio is just how competitive it will be against the traditional pure-business titles when it comes to ad pages, and whether it will hurt or help the business category.

Bob Safian, editor of Fast Company, thinks it will help. He dismisses the idea that the category is as troubled as the declining ad page numbers might suggest.

"It's a choice demo that people want to reach," says Safian. "The challenge is making the magazines fun and exciting. The more competition there is, the fresher the magazines, and that helps the category."

Virginia Tech tragedy: Internet keywords boosted online visits

Virginia Tech tragedy: Internet keywords boosted online visits
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS hkeywords19.html

If you Googled "Virginia Tech shooting" or "Virginia shooting" this week, the Internet search engine served up dozens of links to news about the university massacre. Yet some media outlets weren't taking the chance of missing readers' attention by being bumped down the list.

The New York Times and The Washington Post, for example, bought keyword ads that put their coverage into the prominent "sponsored links" atop the Google results page. So did The First Post, a British online news magazine. The Times, CNN and Fox News got similar links up on Yahoo; Fox News also mined MSN.

Buying keyword ads to run alongside search engine results is a well-established practice. All kinds of companies, in and out of the media, do it when sporting events or TV shows turn something into a hot topic.

But for top-tier news organizations to advertise their Virginia Tech coverage this way illuminates the massive power the Web now wields in the traditional media. No longer can The Times or The Post assume that readers would naturally come to them, even when a huge event breaks.

"An increasing number of users go directly to a search engine when news breaks rather than going to a news site," said Peter Hershberg, managing partner of Reprise Media, a search marketing company.

As a result, news organizations need an analogue to last century's newsboys who barked out "Extra! Extra!" on urban street corners.

"Shooting at Virginia Tech," the underlined link for The Times read. "The New York Times has the latest news and updates."

"Special Report on Va Tech Shootings," CNN's link proclaimed. "Timeline of the tragedy and reports from VA Tech students."

"America mourns college gun rampage massacre. News, analysis, pics here," said The First Post's come-on.

Representatives for The Times and The Post both said their organizations regularly buy keyword ads in hopes of grabbing readers who might not otherwise check out the newspapers' Web sites. They declined to share how much they spend on such campaigns.

The costs can vary wildly: Generally, search ads are automatically generated at any given moment based on how many nickels or dimes a sponsor is willing to pay the Internet companies every time someone checks out the link.

Google and Yahoo, the top two search engines, also factor in how frequently the ads actually get clicked. The goal is to increase the odds that the sponsored links will be relevant to what the Web surfer was exploring.

It's not foolproof, of course: In addition to the news ads on Yahoo on Wednesday, "Virginia shooting" at times returned a link sponsored by the FFF Hunting Preserve, touting its "9 station range Shooting course in Virginia."

Pew Survey Finds Most Knowledgeable Americans Watch 'Daily Show'

BoSacks Speaks Out: I just had to send this out to you. The fact that I watch The Daily Show almost every night, has nothing to do with it.

"We have it. The smoking gun. The evidence. The potential weapon of mass destruction we have been looking for as our pretext of invading Iraq. There's just one problem - it's in North Korea."
Jon Stewart

Pew Survey Finds Most Knowledgeable Americans Watch 'Daily Show' and 'Colbert'-- and Visit Newspaper Sites
By E&P Staff s/newsroom/article_display.jsp? vnu_content_id=1003571876&imw=Y

NEW YORK A new survey of 1,502 adults released Sunday by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that despite the mass appeal of the Internet and cable news since a previous poll in 1989, Americans' knowledge of national affairs has slipped a little. For example, only 69% know that Dick Cheney is vice president, while 74% could identify Dan Quayle in that post in 1989.

Other details are equally eye-opening. Pew judged the levels of knowledgeability (correct answers) among those surveyed and found that those who scored the highest were regular watchers of Comedy Central's The Daily Show and Colbert Report. They tied with regular readers of major newspapers in the top spot -- with 54% of them getting 2 out of 3 questions correct. Watchers of the Lehrer News Hour on PBS followed just behind.

Virtually bringing up the rear were regular watchers of Fox News. Only 1 in 3 could answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly. Fox topped only network morning show viewers.

Told that Shia was one group of Muslims struggling in Iraq, only 32% of the total sample could name "Sunni" as the other key group.

The percentage of those who knew their state's governor dropped to 2 in 3. Almost half know that Rep. Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House and 2 in 3 know that Condi Rice is secretary of state. But just 29% can identify Scooter Libby, 21% know Robert Gates and 15% can name Sen. Harry Reid.

But nearly 9 in 10 knew about President Bush's troop escalation in Iraq.

Men scored higher than women, and older Americans did better than younger, on average. Democrats and Republicans were about equally represented in the most knowledgeable group but there were more Democrats in the least aware group.

ANALYSIS Web 2.0 broadens its appeal

ANALYSIS Web 2.0 broadens its appeal
Dan Fost, Chronicle Staff Writer file=/c/a/2007/04/19/BUGU9PB4S91.DTL

Web 2.0 is ready for the masses.

Although the term itself is too geeky to strike a chord with average Internet cruisers, the key concepts of Web 2.0 -- blogs, wikis, collaboration, the ability to reach niche markets and for average citizens to connect with many other people -- are starting to take hold.

The Web 2.0 Expo at San Francisco's Moscone Center this week, which wrapped up Wednesday, provided the strongest evidence yet that the movement is ready to leap from the cloistered world of nerds to corporate America and across a general Internet population.

The Expo drew 11,000 people, many from far-flung corners of the globe, looking to learn how to reinvigorate their business online. Unlike past Web 2.0 conferences, which were pricey invitation-only confabs, this one was open to anyone who wanted to pony up $1,495, and included a trade show floor full of booths touting the latest technology. It even featured an "unconference" that didn't cost a dime, in which participants decided the agenda on the fly.

"This is not the summit, with the top 1,000 people getting together for cocktails and strategy," said Chris Tolles, 39, vice president of marketing for Topix, a Palo Alto company that provides local news online. "This is the non-Web 2.0 states coming in and saying, 'You have something to teach us. What is it?' "

The answer, according to Tolles, is "a new way of doing business, and it's more efficient. You can put your customer right in touch with the key people at your company, not with the marketing department."

It's allowing people at all levels of a company to write blogs, as a way of getting the word out about what companies are doing. It's using wiki sites -- which allow people to collaborate and edit each other's work online, in the spirit of the user-written online encyclopedia Wikipedia -- to encourage teamwork in the corporate world.

One entrepreneur who declined to be identified for fear of seeming to disparage the horde of attendees said, "A lot of them are aspirational. They come from Topeka asking basic questions, like, 'How do I sell my company to Yahoo?' and 'Why is it that venture capitalists only fund people that they know?' "

Well, the VCs aren't hard to find, this entrepreneur said, noting many have blogs telling exactly how they like to be pitched. "The hurdles are there for a reason," he said.

"They think they can go to a session and come out and create the next Digg," he added, referring to a San Francisco news aggregator popular with the geek crowd for the way it lets the audience vote on which stories should get the most prominent placement.

The admission of such newbies to the hall feels like the end of an era to some.

"Going down on the Expo floor, it's amazing to see how many companies there are now," said Scott Beale, the proprietor of Laughing Squid, a San Francisco Web hosting company. "It's hard to imagine that they're all real companies."

Beale has been on the scene for more than a decade, and is the unofficial court photographer of the Web 2.0 scene. "Being involved, it used to be that we knew all the companies," he said.

Web 2.0 was in part a backlash to the posers and the big money that characterized the dot-com scene of the late 1990s. The people who promoted the ideas of community and the wisdom of crowds were not necessarily looking to cash out, but felt they could use technology to make the world a better place, or at least to empower individuals.

But as their ideas have taken hold, some of the same frothiness that characterized the dot-com bubble is percolating to the top of the Internet zeitgeist again.

Companies exhibiting at the Expo "are acting in the old way of having a lot of swag and an elaborate booth," Beale said. "We're going to start to see companies from outside our community, doing their own thing, and they may not play by the unspoken guidelines of the community."

In the Web 2.0 community, Beale said, competitors show each other their products, and often wind up collaborating. They take money from angel investors, rather than venture capitalists, whom they see as willing to sell them out at the first opportunity.

"People are going in with a monetary focus from the start," he said. "These guys are looking to exploit some part of it."

Beale said he doesn't learn about technology from a trade show booth, instead relying on friends in the industry. It's the viral method that helps technologies like Twitter, a micro-blogging text message service from San Francisco's Obvious Corp., take hold among the Web 2.0 in-crowd.

But at the Expo, companies are throwing big parties and setting up splashy booths. NetVibes, a French company that lets people set up Web pages that can pull feeds from a variety of different photo, video and blogging sites, threw a party Monday night at the 111 Minna art gallery that had a line around the block before it began.

Cambrian House, a Canadian company that is creating a place for people to do business online, or even sell their business, set up a booth with a Polynesian theme, complete with a grass hut. CEO Michael Sikorsky, 34, who is moving the company to Mountain View, said he has invoked ire from some of the early Web 2.0 idealists for his almost crassly capitalistic approach.

"They hated our hype engine," he said. He uses any gimmicks at his disposal. When he created the company, he hired temp workers to deliver 1,000 pizzas to Google. His latest scheme is to give a share of stock in the company to anyone who signs up for his service. He plans to ultimately sell the company or have a public stock offering, rather than follow many others who say they want to become big on their own.

"We really are built to flip," he said. "I'm the only guy who says that out loud. I don't know why everyone lies."

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