Friday, May 11, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: GM Wants More Newspaper Advertorials

BoSacks Speaks Out: GM Wants More Newspaper Advertorials
I need a show of hands here. Does anyone know of a dumber company than GM? Geez, What the heck is going on? They go from the largest car maker in the world, to the worst and the dumbest, in a single generation. Has that been done before?

They are getting their clocks cleaned because they can't, no hold the presses there, . . . make that, won't make fuel efficient cars. That refusal has put them and the US auto work force in dire straits. So now they are looking for advertorials. Yes, like that will make a big difference.

Hey, GM ya wanna sell cars and get all the free editorial space you can handle in every paper in America?
Here is the secret you haven't been able to figure out in twenty years. . . Make better more fuel efficient cars then the others guys.

"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking."
Henry Ford

GM Wants More Newspaper Advertorials CEO Rick Wagoner Also Eyes U.S. Papers for Foreign Promotional Deals
By Hoag Levins article_id=116590

NEW YORK ( -- Although it has significantly reduced the amount of advertising space it buys in U.S. newspapers, General Motors Corp. is still interested in discussing advertorial and out-of- country promotional opportunities with publishers, its chief told the Newspaper Association of America conference here.

'Deal of the month' Speaking at the annual four-day event, held in Manhattan's Marriott Marquis, GM Chairman-CEO Rick Wagoner told the audience of print media executives that because GM vehicles are "no longer on sale all the time," the company did not need to constantly buy newspaper ads announcing "the deal of the month."

Mr. Wagoner, who has headed GM since 2002 and overseen massive cuts in the company's workforce and U.S. manufacturing facilities, went on to say that "one area where we're beginning to do more, and will want to work with newspapers to explore new options in, is advertorials."
Foreign promotional deals
He said GM was also interested in working with U.S. newspaper publishers in ways that crossed national borders. "Some of you own foreign-language newspapers that may have links to papers in other countries," he told attendees. "Hispanic papers with links to South American or the Caribbean, for example. Others, I'm sure, have business or editorial connections with foreign newspapers that we at GM probably have no idea about."

As a second advertising imperative, Mr. Wagoner said the automaker was searching for new creative ideas. "We're working hard with our agencies on this assignment, of course, but I want to note that we're open to new thinking from everyone in this area," including newspapers.

If They Write It, Will They Come?

Sometimes you're the window; Sometimes you're the bug."
Mark Knopfler

If They Write It, Will They Come?
BY Louis Hau pers-readers-content-lead-manage- cx_lh_0507newspapers.html

As a former features editor at the Boston Globe, Lincoln Millstein has a good sense of what's required to generate engaging lifestyle feature stories at a daily newspaper.

So you might be surprised to hear what Millstein suggested Monday to attendees at the Newspaper Association of America's annual convention in New York: turn over all lifestyle and service-oriented features stories to readers and have them write the stories.

That someone would even dare suggest such a thing is a sign of the dire straits that the newspaper industry finds itself in as it struggles to hold on to readers and advertisers who continue to migrate to the Internet. Figures released last week by the Audit Bureau of Circulations highlighted these woes, showing a 2.1% decline in average daily circulation for 745 newspapers that provided data for a six-month period that ended in March.

To make themselves more appealing to Web-savvy readers, many newspapers are incorporating user- generated content into their Web sites. But Millstein, who is now senior vice president of digital media for Hearst, doesn't believe the industry has gone nearly far enough.

During an NAA panel discussion focused on the use of so-called "citizen journalism" and online resources, Millstein noted that he signed up for an AOL account back in December 1992.

"It's been 15 years folks,'' he said. "What's astounding to me is that daily newspapers today in most metro markets today are still pretty similar to what [they were] in 1992."

As newspapers struggle with dwindling circulation and shrinking newsrooms, "whatever you have left is a pot of gold," he said, referring to their remaining staff reporters.

"We need to dole out that gold with great discrimination and not waste it and push our journalists to do highly differentiated journalism," he said, citing as praiseworthy examples the Globe's coverage of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Washington Post's coverage of deficient health-care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Millstein said there was no point in providing readers with wire copy and other stories they can get through leading Internet portal sites, noting that the portals "have a larger audience than all of us collectively, they can move more copy than all of us collectively and they have a bigger audience than all of us collectively."

So what should newspapers do? Hand over their features sections to readers, Millstein said.

"You don't need professional journalists to put out a travel section,'' he said. "You don't need professional journalists to put out a food section, in my opinion. I had a hundred journalists reporting to me. I don't believe that model works, I don't believe it needs to work. I believe the user is actually better served by having user-generated, high-quality content in all those 'back of the book' sections."

But all of this is easier said than done. Millstein acknowledged that Gannett has done more than any other newspaper company to incorporate user- generated content in its Web sites.

When asked how Hearst newspapers have reacted to his proposal, Millstein conceded that "they haven't heard that from me yet.''

Editor re-instated after dispute with PC World

BoSacks Speaks Out: Quickie quiz!
How many times can you remember when an editor has won in a case of integrity Vs ad sales?

"I cannot find language of sufficient energy to convey my sense of the sacredness of private integrity"
Ralph Waldo Emerson (American Poet, Lecturer and Essayist, 1803-1882)

McCracken Back at PC World

Editor re-instated after dispute with PC World CEO, who returns to previous position.
By Matt Kinsman prmMID=7712

Harry McCracken, the PC World editor who resigned last week over an editorial dispute with new PC World CEO Colin Crawford, is returning to his position as editor-in-chief. Meanwhile, Crawford, who had been named CEO of PC World and Mac Publishing in March, will return to his previous position as senior vice president of online.

IDG president Bob Carrigan yesterday sent a memo to PC World staffers saying, "[CEO] Colin Crawford will be rejoining the IDG management team as executive vice president, online. In this role, he will be responsible for driving IDG's online strategy and initiatives in support of our Web-centric business focus. We will conduct a search for a new CEO to lead PC World and Macworld."

A post on PC quotes McCracken as saying, "I'm thrilled to be back with the PC World team. IDG is a company I've loved working for over the past 16 years, and one with a remarkable history of enabling editors to serve our customers-the millions of people who depend on our content online and in print."

Crawford offers an equally political quote on the site, saying, "It's excellent news that Harry has decided to stay on at PC World as the editorial leader. I am excited to move back to a corporate role at IDG as EVP Online, where I can focus on various online opportunities for IDG, both in the U.S. and on a global basis."

McCracken had resigned after Crawford reportedly nixed an opinion piece called "Ten Things We Hate About Apple," over concerns about Apple advertising. The move prompted an angry reader response on the PC World forum. The article that kicked off the controversy is now live at (packaged next to a companion piece called "10 Things We Love About Apple").

Question of Control
The PC World episode revolved around a story intended for and it was initiated by a lack of understanding of editorial authority on the part of an online-centric executive.

It's a situation that is in danger of becoming common. Unlike print, where content is physically managed by the editorial team, online just about everyone has access to content and a perspective-inappropriate or not-of what to do with it. Last fall, blogger Paul Conley took Mediaweek to task for placing hypertext ad links into the body of news stories on its Web sites. Mediaweek quickly removed the links, which insiders say had been put up by the marketing department without edit's knowledge. More recently, Conley focused on Ziff Davis and CMP using Intellitext in a similar manner.

Publishers are quick to acknowledge the need to distinguish original editorial from sponsored content, but also say that the Internet is evolving so fast that the line between edit and marketing message is more blurred than in print. "Publishers and clients are more accepting of the gray area-it's a brave new world," Priscott Shibles, vice president of online development for Penton Media (then Prism Business Media) told Folio: last fall. "I think readers are accepting of it if they know what they're getting. If you start seeing some sites put out a lot of advertorial Webinars or advertorial e-blasts you're going to see fatigue of your lists and a decrease in performance. That's why we're so focused on defining standards internally."

BoSacks Speaks Out: Paid Circ Is What Matters says Ad Chief to Publishers

BoSacks Speaks Out: Paid Circ Is What Matters

Well, here you have it. Right out of the very mouths that feeds us. Please read this article and think about our pursuit of metric changes. And while you're mulling it over . . . I have these two statements for you from the article below:

" . . . our business decisions, like yours, are driven by facts and results,"

Publishers of newspapers and magazines have tried to shift advertisers' focus to overall audience from the established metric, paying subscribers and newsstand buyers.

Get that? . . . The advertisers want facts and results . . They want paying buyers and paid subscribers . . . not fluff, not subterfuge, and surely not smoke and mirrors.

So it seems that we need to look deeply within ourselves and our current business models to deliver what is increasingly becoming the demand and mantra of advertisers and media buyers: Accountability

"Bush, Congress, the mayor - each of them are symptoms of a bigger problem, that we don't have accountability for disasters or challenges of this scale. That's all the public wants in trying times - accountability."
Michael Chertoff

Macy's Ad Chief to Newspapers: Paid Circ Is What Matters
At NAA: Readership May Be Up, but Macy's Wants to Target
NEW YORK ( -- When the latest round of newspaper circulation reports again revealed that paid circulation was continuing to fall, industry advocates pointed out that newspaper readership -- including websites and pass-along copies -- is growing. But Macy's ad chief told newspaper executives today that paid circulation still matters more.

Winning ad dollars, says Macy's Anne MacDonald, requires one thing above all: 'You need to be winning in the marketplace.'

That's because the brand wants to reach its target customer repeatedly and through a platform that matters to her, said Anne MacDonald, president-CMO, Macy's corporate marketing, during a talk at the annual Newspaper Association of America conference. "What we try and do is make sure that we talk to her on a continuous basis," she said.

Not swayed by emotion
Earlier Ms. MacDonald told the crowd she is an "absolute newspaper junkie" and wants to see the business regain its footing. "But our business decisions, like yours, are driven by facts and results," she said. "And they can't be driven by emotion or personal predilection."

Winning ad dollars, she said, requires one thing above all: "You need to be winning in the marketplace."

Publishers of newspapers and magazines have tried to shift advertisers' focus to overall audience from the established metric, paying subscribers and newsstand buyers. Part of the drive reflects growing research suggesting that eyeballs are eyeballs -- as they are in other media -- regardless if anyone paid 50 cents, a dollar or $5 for a publication. But it also dovetails with the reality that free readership, particularly online, is the one circulation measure showing growth.

The perspective from Macy's is particularly important because its parent, Federated Department Stores, buys more than $1 billion in measured media each year, including around $830 million worth of newspaper space. But Federated and Macy's are increasingly looking at national TV and magazines over its stores' traditional homes such as spot TV and newspapers.

Leveraging content online
Ms. MacDonald agreed that newspapers' online plays are important, to the point that publishers' frantic recent efforts aren't close to sufficient. "You need to be much, much more aggressive in leveraging your content online," she said.

But turning around paid circulation declines will require an advertiser's approach, Ms. MacDonald said. "Newspaper will need to think more like brands and more like marketers," she said. "Show the consumer the value in your reports and your columnists."


Macy's to Newspapers: Engage Audiences

By Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer
Macy's Chief Marketing Officer Delivers Tough Love Speech to Newspapers

NEW YORK (AP) -- The chief marketing officer of Macy's department stores delivered tough talk to the newspaper industry Tuesday, telling a publishing conference why her company is moving ad dollars to other media such as TV, magazines and the Internet. Anne MacDonald, a self-proclaimed newspaper "junkie" who keeps stacks of them around her home and reads several each day, told publishers they need to do more to win back business from Macy's, which is part of Federated Department Stores Inc.

With Macy's now a national brand following Federated's acquisition of May Department Stores, the chain is turning increasingly to media with a national reach such as fashion magazines, television and Web sites, she said.

Newspapers are still effective at delivering local messages, she said, but need to do more to engage Macy's shoppers -- primarily women aged 18- 54.

"In order for your newspapers to be winning our advertising dollars, you need to be winning in the marketplace, and that's not currently the case," MacDonald said in a keynote talk at the conference held by the Newspaper Association of America.

Analysts and investors have long been concerned about the decline in ad spending by department stores, and in particular Macy's, as they become national brands and less likely to use local media such as newspapers. Also, newspapers have been struggling with declining circulation and ad dollars as more people get their news online.

Among MacDonald's several suggestions for change was for newspapers to collaborate more effectively across regions and with each other in selling advertising, which would allow national companies such as Macy's to reach a broader audience.

As it is, individual ad buyers for Macy's stores deal with individual newspapers on advertising plans. "That's not productive for either of us," MacDonald said.

She pointed to her own industry, department stores, which had to undergo significant changes over the past several years to adapt to competition from online stores, television shopping channels, big box retailers and discounting clubs.

Macy's, she said, is seeking to establish itself as a more upscale, fashionable brand and drive foot traffic even when there aren't promotions, and is still trying to understand how customers are changing the ways they shop. "Like us, you must change the way you think," she said.

MacDonald pointed to the example of her two favorite sections of her hometown newspaper, The New York Times. Every week she pulls out the science and dining sections and reads them first.

If the Times were to somehow deliver those sections to her wrapped on the outside, she would be impressed that the publisher had learned something about her reading habits, she said.

She also issued a plea to publishers to collaborate with advertisers on research to better understand the rapidly evolving habits of their customers. The idea was immediately embraced by Jack Sweeney, publisher of the Houston Chronicle, who asked MacDonald how to find out what questions they needed answered.

Mark Contreras, senior vice president for newspapers at E.W. Scripps Co., called MacDonald's remarks a "very thoughtful call to action for newspapers to pay very close attention to. .. . We have the wherewithal to meet many of their needs."

Media to move to Web, Gates says

"Be an, surf the internet, visit customers, enjoy arts, watch children anything to prevent yourself from becoming a prisoner of your knowledge, experience, and current view of the world."

Charles Thompson

Media to move to Web, Gates says

By Benjamin J. Romano
Seattle Times technology reporter

Microsoft thinks the advertising business model for traditional media - venues where advertisers still channel most of their spending - will fall apart faster in the coming five years.

Meanwhile, it's positioning itself as a prime location for the kind of interactive, targeted advertising that is defining the Web and other digital media.

Chairman Bill Gates spelled out his vision of the future of media Tuesday, in front of about 1,000 advertising professionals in Seattle for Microsoft's Strategic Account Summit of its top advertising customers.

"We're saying newspapers will go online, and there will be massive innovation that comes out of that," Gates said. "We're saying that TV, the biggest ad market in the world, will completely go online and have the kind of targeting interaction that you only get out on the Web today.

"As dramatic as things happening on the Web are, that's actually what all advertising ... will be in the future."

Gates painted a grim picture of the transition for traditional media.

"I have a lot of friends in the newspaper industry and, of course, this is a tough, wrenching change for them, because the number of people who actually buy, subscribe to the newspaper and read it has started an inexorable decline," he said.

With that decline, Gates said, advertisers are shifting their budgets to new areas.

They will spend about $445.5 billion globally in 2007, according to ZenithOptimedia's most recent quarterly forecast. Of that, online is expected to get 7 percent of the pie compared with newspapers' 28.3 percent.

By 2009, online is forecast to grow to 8.7 percent, while newspapers dip to 27 percent.

Not everyone agrees on the pace of the transition to digital media and the demise of traditional forms.

"The timeline between now and when that happens I think is questionable," said David Cohen, executive vice president at Universal McCann. His agency is an arm of the McCann Worldwide ad agency, which counts Microsoft among its blue-chip clients.

"I know that the newspaper industry is definitely going through an evolution, but ... there's still a tremendous amount of circulation in some of these markets," Cohen said.

Microsoft is developing an array of advertising inventory and media content to connect advertisers with consumers and claim more of the growing online ad market.

The company is also producing the tools and platforms - such as MSN, the Xbox game console, mobile devices and its new online video technology, Silverlight - to create and distribute the ads themselves.

"There are very few companies that have such a wide range of digital assets that you can run messaging across all those platforms," said Cohen, who works with clients including Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Bacardi and the U.S. Army.

He said Microsoft's challenge is to link all of those platforms to give advertisers a comprehensive profile of a consumer - her preferences, what ads she viewed in the last month and which ones she acted on.

"That's the code that they're trying to crack, and if they do, they'll be unmatched," Cohen said.

It makes Microsoft's rivalry with Google for online advertising more interesting, he said.

Google dominates the search-advertising industry by drawing so many more people to its search engine.

"Google is obviously a great, fierce competitor," Cohen said. "They're doing lots of stuff right, but I think you can argue that they don't have nearly the range of assets that a Microsoft brings to the party."

Gates gave other specific examples of old media facing withering competition from new technologies.

He said IPTV, the underlying technology for TV over the Internet, makes traditional broadcasting obsolete, supplanting the model in which one show goes to many viewers who may or may not be interested.

The IPTV model presents opportunities for advertisers to tailor messages to viewers.

"In this environment, the ads will be targeted, not just targeted to the neighborhood level ... but we'll actually know who the viewers of that show are," Gates said.

In a nod to how key the advertising effort is to Microsoft, Gates plans to focus on online services, search and advertising for the remainder of his 15 months working full time at the company. He plans to transition to full-time work at his philanthropy in summer 2008.

In another nod, the company gave each of the summit's attendees a Zune digital music player and a copy of Office 2007.

Bill Gates: Reading to go 'completely online'
Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog
Bill Gates offered his take on the future of media and advertising during his address this morning at Microsoft's Strategic Account Summit online advertising conference in Seattle. It's not a new subject for the Microsoft chairman, but he went into a considerable amount of detail, more than I can remember him saying on the topic in the past. Some of his comments:

Bill Gates speaks in Seattle Tuesday morning. (ANDY ROGERS / SEATTLE P-I)On the printed page vs. the screen: "Reading is going to go completely online. We believe that as we get the smaller form factor, the screen has gotten good enough. Why is reading online better? It's up to date, you can navigate, you can follow links. The ads in the online reading are completely targeted as opposed to just being run-of-print, where many of the readers will find them completely irrelevant. The ads can be in new and richer formats. In fact the only drawbacks of the digital form are the things associated with the device: how big is it, heavy is it, how many hours of power does it have, how much do I have to spend to buy it? But those are things that once you achieve that threshold, in terms of the convenience and the cost, then you see a dramatic change in behavior. Today, for people who read newspapers and magazines, even the most avid PC user probably still does quite a bit of reading on print. As the device moves down in size and simplicity, that will change, and so somewhere in the next five-year period we'll hit that transition point, and things will be even more dramatic than they are today."

On television: "This is a subject I think about a lot, because it was actually about a little over 10 years ago that Microsoft first got involved in this idea of changing TV from being a simply broadcast medium to being a targeted medium (through its IPTV initiative). ... In order to have this be targeted, you cannot send it over the airwaves. There's just not enough capacity to broadcast thousands and thousands of different video feeds. And that's where the Internet comes in. The Internet is now cheap enough that the idea of having every household in America watching a different video feed has become practical. There's some infrastructure improvement that that implies. Actually, that's very much under way. ... It's a dramatic change in TV. ... Broadcast infrastructure over these next five years will not be viewed as competitive. The end-user experience and the creativity, the new content that will emerge using the capabilities of this environment will be so much dramatically better that broadcast TV will not be competitive. And in this environment, the ads will be targeted, not just targeted to the neighborhood level, but targeted to the viewer. ... We'll actually not just know the household that that viewing is taking place in, we'll actually know who the viewers of that show are, and so it's a very rich environment."

On printed newspapers: "The media itself will be quite, quite different. Who can create this media, who can distribute it? How do you find what you're interested in? I have a lot of friends in the newspaper industry, and of course, this is a tough, wrenching change for them, because the number of people who actually buy, subscribe to the newspaper and read it has started an inexorable decline. In fact, when we look at it by age group, it's quite dramatic how different that is. People have found some combination of TV and the Internet as the way that they can get their news, even the local news that historically was only available in that print form."

On print newspaper advertising: "For many years, even as readership started to go down, the value of print advertising maintained itself, because the dollars per user sort of offset these subscription declines. Now it's getting to the point where people are shifting budgets into the new areas. That's a very tough challenge. It means they need to take a lot of their skills, a lot of their expertise and move it into that Internet world. But it's a very different world, it's not a world where you have a single person who can deliver things like the classified ads. You have many people competing. So it's fascinating to look at job markets within a city, or the nationwide job markets and look to the degree it's new people who have done that well or it's traditional media people who have come in. One thing we can say for sure: It's a far richer experience for the person who wants to list and find that job and far more competitive in terms of the rate of innovation that those things are going to take place. The Internet is like a lot of things -- the only sure winner, with the breakthroughs, are the consumers themselves."

On printed Yellow Pages listings: "The Yellow Pages are going to be used less and less. When you go to this service that's going to take our technology and Tellme technology that we acquired, when you say something like "plumber," the presentation you get will be far better than something you get in the Yellow Pages. After all, we know your location, and so we can cluster around that. We can take the information and show you the names, and you can expand the information easily. These things always take time, but Yellow Page usage among people, say, below 50, will drop to zero -- near zero -- over the next five years."

Posted by Todd Bishop at May 8, 2007 10:20 a.m.

Old media turns combative against new media

"There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry."
George Armstrong Custer

Old media turns combative against new media
By Kenneth Li 7652320070508?pageNumber=3

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Leading media executives took a combative tone against Internet companies on Tuesday, suggesting that Big Media increasingly considers new content distributors like Google Inc. to be more foe than friend.

At a panel discussion on the second day of the 56th annual National Cable & Telecommunications Association conference, top executives said talk of the demise of traditional media in the digital age was overblown.

While new distribution technologies like the Internet and mobile phones are siphoning television audiences, media companies argued that the Web also brings new revenue streams.

But the discussion quickly moved to criticism of the perception that traditional media businesses are dead, and to the rampant copyright offenses enabled by new digital technologies.

"The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation," Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Richard Parsons said, referring to the Civil War American general George Custer who was defeated by Native Americans in a battle dubbed "Custer's Last Stand".

"They will lose this war if they go to war," Parsons added, "The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion."

Time Warner defended its discussions on copyright protection with Internet search leader Google Inc., which another panel member, Viacom Inc., has sued.

Viacom, owner of the MTV and Comedy Central networks, is seeking more than $1 billion from Google and its online video site YouTube, accusing them in a lawsuit of "massive intentional copyright infringement."

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said on the panel his company had discussed working with Google and YouTube earlier than other major media companies, by virtue of the popularity of its programs on the Web and their resonance with young viewers.

Dauman said Viacom had little choice after failing to reach an agreement, as video clips of its shows were uploaded by YouTube users without its permission.

"So, it was only reluctantly after trying for a long period of time, to reach a deal that we found that we could not tolerate having our content taken, when we've got Brian and Dick and others compensating us for it," Dauman said, referring to Comcast Corp. Chief Executive Brian Roberts and Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons.

"We were forced into it," he added.

Google, whose advances in applying its Internet paid search technology to the television industry, radio and print has spooked traditional media companies, owns a 5 percent stake in Time Warner's AOL Internet unit.

"We're in a world where we're a partner with everybody and we're fighting everybody," News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin said on the panel.

Despite the attention from Wall Street, the media industry and the press, executives said the percentage of overall sales contributed by digital businesses remained small and they should be mindful of destroying existing lucrative businesses.

"The amount of money we get from those (Internet companies) are a fraction of those we get from the cable industry," Chernin said. "We have to be careful not to disaggregate."

News Corp. is likely in a position to know how enemies today could turn into friends tomorrow.

A source familiar with the matter said News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media, which oversees its popular Internet social network MySpace, had reached a preliminary deal to buy photo sharing site Photobucket for an estimated $250 million.

MySpace last month blocked traffic coming from Photobucket after the photo service began running ads on photos displayed on MySpace sites. MySpace said it had violated its service terms.

"You'll see more acquisitions," Chernin said. "This is a world where the big get bigger. You'll see increased consolidation."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New Magazines: The numbers for the first trimester

"What we become depends on what we read after all the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is the collection of books."

Thomas Carlyle quotes (Scottish Historian and Essayist, leading figure in the Victorian era. 1795-1881)

New Magazines: The numbers for the first trimester
Samir Husni (Blog)

Flower is but one of 202 magazines that were born in the first trimester of 2007. Two trends appear to go hand in hand for the first four months of 2007 when it comes to new magazine launches: the first is the drop in the number of special issues and one time publications (almost 33% drop from last year); and the second is the drop of the number of magazines with a frequency of four times or higher (almost 20% drop from last year). As I mentioned earlier on this blog, this is NOT an unnatural occurrence in the field of magazine publishing. Every few years we see a market correction and the numbers drop. It is not new. This market correction has happened every few years, both before and after the birth of the internet. However, the silver lining in all of this is that the number of magazines with four times frequency or more is closing the gap with the numbers of the specials and one-time titles. So, here goes the numbers (at least for now as we keep on updating the numbers as we receive titles we've missed) for this year compared to the numbers of last year. In the first trimester (Jan. through April 2007) at least 202 new magazines were launched with the following frequencies: Four times or more, 79 titles (100 in 2006), Specials, 104 titles (155 in 2006), Annuals, 12 titles (25 in 2006) and the remaining seven titles were published either two or three times a year. For a complete list of all the titles of the first trimester click here.


The VIP Factor in MagazinesMay 4th, 2007

For years I have been telling my students and my clients that the Visual Impact in Print (the VIP factor) depends on marrying the photography with the typography to create a visual impact that will stop you and make you pick up the magazine. Well, today while scanning the newsstands I found a great example of how not to achieve that impact. In fact it was just the opposite. The cover of the new special from Cook's Illustraded magazine on Summer Grilling & Entertaining stopped me in my tracks for the complete wrong reason. Summer grilling screams the name and berry pie screams the picture . . .My brain kept showing me images of a grill and barbecue and my eyes kept showing me a delicious cold pie ready to eat . . . confused by the mixed messages I started to walk away, but then I remembered it is a first issue that I need to add to my collection plus, I thought, it will make a great blog on what NOT to do with your magazine cover. Well check the cover for yourself. It is grilling below this blog . . .

How to Sink a Newspaper

"Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego"

Jack London quotes (American short-story Writer and Novelist whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. One of the most extensively translated of American authors. 1876-1916)

How to Sink a Newspaper
May 7, 2007; Page A15

One has to wonder how many of the newspaper industry's current problems are self-inflicted. Take free news. News has become ubiquitous, free, and as a result, a commodity. Anytime you are trying to sell something that becomes a commodity, you have lost much of the value in providing that product or service.

Not many years ago if someone wanted to find out what was in the newspaper they had to buy one. But not anymore. Now you can just go to the newspaper's Web site and get that same information for free.

The newspaper industry wonders why it is losing young readers. Those readers might be young, but many of them are smart, not to mention computer-savvy. Why would they buy a newspaper when they can get the same information online for free?

Newspapers initially created their Web sites with the best of intentions. After all, newspapers are in the information business. And rather than fight the new medium, the Internet, why not embrace it? Wanting to be the leading information providers and thereby have the most popular Web site in the community, they posted all of their news online for free.

Exacerbating the problem with free news was the decision by the newspaper industry, which owns the Associated Press, to sell AP copy to news aggregators like Yahoo, Google and MSN. These aggregators created lucrative news portals where the world could get much of the news that was in newspapers. So readers could now get free news not only on newspaper Web sites, but also from portals and aggregators that had a chance to monetize the content, most of which was created and financed by the newspaper industry.

With local radio and television stations also creating Web sites and posting their news for free, newspapers soon realized that much of the news on the broadcast Web sites had been created by the local newspaper. So, whereas before the newspapers were selling print ads while radio and TV were selling air time, now they were all selling the same medium: their Web sites. Since newspapers share their content with the Associated Press so other members can use it, radio and TV members are using much of that content to compete against the newspapers that created it.

Newspapers have for years been frustrated by radio stations which merely read the stories which are printed in that morning's edition. TV stations often get much of their news from the newspapers, too. But reading it on the air is clearly different from posting it online, placing them in direct competition with newspapers' Web sites.

All of this would be fine if newspapers generated lots of additional revenues from offering free news. But the fact is newspapers generate most of their online revenues from classified advertising, not from news. Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, estimated that newspaper Web sites generated 78% of their revenues from classifieds in 2006.

It turns out that a Web site is a very different medium from a newspaper. While consumers often find pop-up ads a distraction and banner ads as more clutter, readers often seek out the advertising in newspapers.

The Inland Cost and Revenue Study shows that newspapers will generate between $500 and $900 in revenue per subscriber per year. But a newspaper's Web site typically generates $5 to $10 per unique visitor per year. It may be that newspaper Web sites as an advertising medium, and free news, just can't generate the revenue to sustain a valued news operation.

In fact, online revenues for the publicly traded newspaper companies in 2005 varied from 1.7% at Journal Register Co. to 5.7% at Belo Corp. The only company higher was the Washington Post Co. at 8.4%. Yet newspapers typically spend 12% or more of their revenues on their news and editorial operations.

The Wall Street Journal Online now has 931,000 paying subscribers, more than the paying subscribers to all but three U.S. newspapers: USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Our newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, does not offer our news for free on the Web site. We offer free headlines. On a few selected stories, we offer a few free paragraphs, designed to get people to read our paper. We also offer free classifieds.

Recently I had the opportunity to compare our Web site policy with the free news policies of other papers. For the six months ending March 31, 2007, the newspaper industry's circulation was down 2.1% daily and 3.1% Sunday. By contrast, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's circulation was up 1.24% daily and up less than 1% Sunday.

I was able to make another interesting comparison, too, with the Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch. Columbus and Little Rock are both state capitals. Columbus is a larger market, and the Columbus Dispatch's circulation of 217,291 compares with 176,172 for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Up until Jan. 1, 2006, both our paper and the Columbus Dispatch offered news content only by subscription. We even charged the same price, $4.95, for an online monthly subscription, and both of us offered the same style electronic editions.

But Columbus dropped its subscription model on Jan. 1, 2006, and began offering most of its news for free. Its Web traffic and revenues certainly increased. But what happened to its paid circulation?

The six months ending Sept. 30, 2006 was a good comparison, since it compared six months in 2006 when the Columbus Dispatch had free news on its Web site compared with six months in 2005 when it did not offer free news. The Columbus Dispatch's daily circulation was down 5.8% while Sunday was down 1.1% for the six-month period. This compared with our loss of less than 0.4% daily and 1% Sunday.

When I looked at this comparison with Columbus, as well as the newspaper industry's larger losses, it didn't encourage me to change our Web policy to free news.

So what are we doing with our Web site? We have hired a videographer to complement our text coverage in the newspaper. We have added photo galleries to increase the number of photographs beyond what we can publish. We offer an electronic edition where you can search the entire edition by keywords, something you can't do in the print edition. And we offer breaking news email alerts, something else you can't do in print. In other words, we are offering value on our Web site that complements, rather than cannibalizes, our print edition.

Collectively, the American newspaper industry spends $7 billion on news and editorial operations. This includes everything from copy editor salaries to sports travel expenses. In addition, the Associated Press spent about $600 million world-wide in editing and creating news. By offering this news for free, and selling it to aggregators like Google, Yahoo and MSN for a small fraction of what it costs to create it, newspaper readership and circulation have declined.

These declines are accelerating. In 2004 and prior years, industry circulation declines were usually less than 1%. Since March 2005, these declines have been 2%-3% per year. With declining readership comes declining ad revenues, which are followed by layoffs.

The newsroom layoffs are most troubling, as less news with less quality, context and details results in more declines in readership and later, declines in advertising. If the $7 billion spent covering news becomes $6 billion, and later $5 billion, it is not just the newspaper industry that gets hurt. Journalism will be diminished in America with less investigative and enterprise reporting; indeed, less reporting of state houses, city halls, school boards, business and sports. Clearly a lot is at stake.

It is time for newspapers to reconsider the ultimate costs and consequences of free news.

Craigslist founder questions print future

"The printed page conveys information and commitment, and requires active involvement. Television conveys emotion and experience, and it's very limited in what it can do logically. It's an existential experience-there and then gone."
Bill Moyers

Craigslist founder questions print future 07_date.htm

NEW YORK - Craigslist founder Craig Newmark said newspapers' hallmark should be in investigative journalism, even as he predicted a dismal future for ink-on-paper distribution.

"People who run printing presses are screwed," Newmark said at the opening of the Newspaper Association of America annual meeting.

Citing "talk of newspapers' 10 to 20 percent profit margins," Newmark suggested the industry remains vital, although he said he believes that newsprint is a luxury. A newspaper can be received online and printed out if desired, he said.

As for Craigslist itself, Newmark said he has no plans to change the site's successful model.

"We do one thing really well and we figure we should stick with that. It's easy enough (to expand)," he said. "We have a set of templates and when we have the time and desire we move into another city."

Meantime, the NAA released data that showed the audience for newspaper Web sites is growing at nearly twice the rate of the overall online audience.

Nielsen//NetRatings NetView custom analysis reported that an average of more than 59 million people visited newspaper Web sites each month during the first quarter - a record number that represents a 5.3 percent jump from 2006 stats, NAA said.

"Newspaper publishers have aggressively transformed their business models, continually providing ground-breaking content to consumers with their expanding digital portfolios," said NAA President and Chief Executive Officer John F. Sturm.

Other findings include:

· A little more than 88 percent of newspaper Web site visitors made a purchase online in the last six months, compared with 78.9 percent of the overall Internet audience.

· Forty-one percent of newspaper Web site visitors are employed in professional or managerial occupations, compared with 32.7 percent of the overall Internet population.

Monday, May 07, 2007

BoSacks Speaks Out: Marketers to Mags: Give Guarantees or We'll Walk

BoSacks Speaks Out: Marketers to Mags: Give Guarantees or We'll Walk

Some of the concepts delivered herein are filled with BS, hot air, fluff, smoke and mirrors. Large publishers just don't get it. There are two things that a magazine must have to survive and prosper. A passionate and devoted readership, sometimes known as great content, and really honest and accurate accountability. That is it!

As I read this article I see all this old style posturing by the publishers on record in this article. DUH!

You are truly finished if you keep that up. Who are you kidding? Or are you just waiting for retirement and intend on ducking out the back door? This is now somehow like global warming, or a gazillion dollar deficit . . . fix it now, don't leave it to your grandchildren.

It is time to stand up and deliver. Deliver the facts, not the bull. Have confidence in your titles and let the accountability drift to real levels, in real time, in a real world. Truth is I don't think you really have a choice. There is way too much competition in the advertising world today, and you will either join the solution revolution or be nothing more than a footnote of a past and forgotten problem..

"If you don't want to work you have to work to earn enough money so that you won't have to work"
Ogden Nash (American Writer of humorous poetry who won a large following for his audacious verse. 1902-1971)

Marketers to Mags: Give Guarantees or We'll Walk Exclusive: MediaVest Wields $900 Million to Land
Issue-By-Issue Circ Promises
By Nat Ives article_id=116544

NEW YORK ( -- Kraft, Wal-Mart and Coca- Cola are among the marketers that are prepared to stop spending in magazines if they don't get issue-by- issue circulation guarantees.

Media buyers long have been frustrated with many magazines' insistence on guaranteeing only average paid circulation -- instead of guaranteeing the paid circulation of specific issues in which ads actually appear. But now MediaVest USA has gathered support from heavyweight clients to make issue- specific guarantees a reality.

"Let me be clear that I am a print champion," said Robin Steinberg, senior VP-director of print investment and activation at MediaVest. "However, we believe that all publishers should make this guarantee, and we will walk away from business for those who don't." MediaVest spent about $900 million in consumer magazines on behalf of its clients last year.

New leverage
The new power play reflects the growing demand for precision metrics in the media business, a drive fueled by an internet model that seems to promise instant accountability. It is also, though, part of a broader regime change in the industry, one that has delivered dominance to advertisers from media owners. Marketers now have too many options and have found too many ways to sell themselves, beyond traditional advertising, for publishers or broadcasters to keep setting the agenda. There's a reason commercial ratings on TV have arrived at last: Advertisers seem to finally have enough leverage to force the issue.

"As somebody who's ultimately paying the bills, what I'm looking for is accountability and transparency," said Donna Campanella, executive director for global media at Avon, a MediaVest client. "We want to make sure that the impressions we were hoping to get for a particular issue have been delivered. Because what we advertise is coordinated with what's in our brochures, timeliness is important."

"In this age when there are so many choices out there, particularly in the digital arena, traditional media needs to step up and really prove their value, good or bad," Ms. Campanella added.

But change still doesn't come easily or instantly. Time Inc., the country's biggest magazine publisher, guarantees most advertisers an average paid circulation across the issues in which they buy space; if you buy into five issues, the company promises those five issues will achieve a certain average paid circulation.

Anything else would only hike costs for everyone, said John Squires, senior exec VP at Time Inc., because publishers would pump up print runs to make sure not one issue falls even a percentage point shy of its rate base. "They want all guarantees and all protections at all times," he said of marketers and media buyers. "That just kind of forces a completely unrealistic expectation on our business. We do have to concentrate on some efficiencies."

Publishers don't get any reward when magazines sell more copies than guaranteed, Mr. Squires noted. And swings of 50,000 copies in newsstand sales at magazines that consistently sell millions can't be the top challenge in marketing right now. "In these times, in this world, with the kind of competitive pressure that there is on publishers already and the intense pressure on rates, is this really a big issue?" he asked.

Ms. Steinberg said advertisers need protection against tactics publishers can use to meet average guarantees. A few titles have made up for shortfalls early in the standard six-month reporting periods by drastically increasing their use of copies -- called "verified" by auditors -- that are distributed in hair salons, doctors' offices and so on. "Verified circulation was put forth with the notion that publishers would use and place these copies strategically and with transparency," she said. "However, we believe the proper use is not taking place, and the current use is to make up for rate base underdelivery from newsstand decline."

A challenge from Hachette
Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., publisher of magazines such as Elle and Car and Driver, already has started selling its men's enthusiast titles against issue-specific guarantees and is considering doing the same across its portfolio next year. But if Jack Kliger, president-CEO, is going to meet the buyers' challenge, he has one of his own for them.

"Issue-specific circulation-based pricing, to me, is an interim step to issue-specific audience-circulation guarantees," he said. That is to say, once the industry can better measure how many people see an issue, whether they borrow it from a friend or read a public- place copy, media buyers should drop this obsession with refining paid-circulation metrics. "It's like trying to make the kerosene lamp produce more light because that's what we're familiar with," Mr. Kliger said, "and don't trust this newfangled electricity thing."

Circulation figures don't tell whole story

"Luck is not chance - It's Toil - Fortune's expensive smile Is earned" Emily Dickinson (American Poet who has been called the New England mystic, 1830-1886)

Circulation figures don't tell whole story
by Earl Maucker
http://www.sun- emcol06may06,0,1139889,print.column

Back in the 1960s when I was a paperboy for the Alton Telegraph, I used to groan each time I received a new subscription order. One more paper to deliver, I thought, more weight in the bag, more time on the route -- less time for play.

Ah, for the good old days of circulation growth.

Fast forward to 2007 and once again we're reminded in stories this week that circulation of newspapers across the U.S. is in decline.

Pretty dismal stuff, it would seem.

But wait. Let's take a deeper look at the facts before we start writing off the future of newspapers.

Yes, circulation figures are dropping in most regions of the United States. That's hardly surprising in today's environment, with so much media fragmentation, so many ways to get news and information.

In reality, some of the circulation declines are deliberate, as publishers seek value from papers they do distribute.

More and more newspaper companies are limiting or eliminating entirely the newspapers they give away for free or at a major discount because, generally, those newspapers are not well read.

But beyond the number of newspapers in the market, experts and analysts in the business say newspaper advertisers care more about readership, which measures whether people are actually reading the paper instead of tossing it into the recycle bin without so much as a glance.

Our focus here at the Sun-Sentinel has been on home delivery or single copy sales, areas where we believe there is substantial value.

The agency that monitors circulation of newspapers is the Audit Bureau of Circulation, which, in my opinion, is still back in the 1960s in the way they count and report numbers.

Sure, they break it down even to the zip code level. They calculate circulation in the primary region and secondary regions of the newspaper's market, individually paid subscriptions, bulk sales, third-party sales and a host of other metrics including total readers of the daily newspaper.

But what they don't report is the total audience a media company like the Sun-Sentinel reaches through its various publications and electronic channels.

Even with fewer copies on the street, our readership is up from what it was two years ago.

The published audits do not take into account the impact of the Internet or subsidiary publications.

We, like most major newspaper companies, are major players in this relatively new, still-evolving medium.

For us, it's

Which, by the way, has grown in audience traffic every year it's been in operation.

"We're seeing good audience growth online. So far this year, our page views -- one way we measure our audience -- are up more than 12 percent over the same time in 2006," said Kathy Skipper, vice president & general manager for Sun- Sentinel Interactive. "We believe several things are contributing to this growth -- regular news updates, more video and more databases that are focused on helping consumers.

Combined with millions of page views per month on our Internet site and the distribution of our main newspaper, plus niche products like the Jewish Journal, City & Shore magazine, City Link, Teen Link and other products, our total audience reach has grown tremendously over the past few years.

"We recognize that in order to reach our audience effectively we must serve our customers on multiple platforms," said our General Manager Howard Greenberg. "Through Forum Publishing we have the largest family of weekly community publications in South Florida as well as the largest Spanish language audience in the Broward-Palm Beach market through el Sentinel, our Spanish language weekly."

No one is denying that newspapers are dealing with enormous challenges in today's world of fragmented media and the influence of the Internet.

But newspapers and the journalists that work on them have a healthy future ahead, as we transform our business to the new world of multiple media.

The good news is that the appetite for news has never been more robust.

We intend to serve our customers the way they like it.

A Beloved Mag's Painful Lessons

"We want only loyal workers who are grateful from the bottom of their hearts for the bread which we let them earn"
Gustav Krupp

A Beloved Mag's Painful Lessons
What media companies can learn from the rise and fall of the much-beloved teen mag Sassy 0/b4034031.htm

Not every magazine that rarely made a buck and died young gets a wet kiss of a book written about it, so tip your hat to Sassy (1988-96), the teen title whose story is recounted and memorialized in Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer's new How Sassy Changed My Life.

During Sassy's brief, underfunded existence, it shot to a circulation of 800,000 pretty quickly, but didn't score ads as easily (and went through three owners). Sassy came and went while a subset of young America remade media via indie music labels and photocopied 'zines. Despite its glossy-mag garb, Sassy resonated with this culture, which gave the mag a similar secret-handshake signifier of status among its acolytes.

There is something heartbreakingly familiar, something very "After School Special," in Sassy's saga. Smart young outsiders start something, do a bang-up job-and remain marginalized by the mainstream. Sassy taught a difficult lesson that remains valid: What's culturally significant can be lousy business, and often requires a pivot from a property's founding vision to be successful. For those who bonded most intensely with Sassy, this lesson was all the more painful because that bond was so deeply felt.

PLAINLY GEARED TO OUTSIDER TEENS, Sassy was born in a pre-Web world, when there were no fancy interactive ways to find like-minded souls, back when such teens needed a campfire like Sassy's to encircle. These teens found each other with a giddy relief, and also shared a grievance against those not in their club. Both qualities were never far from Sassy's surface. These traits, and being simpatico with the indie movement, endeared it to twenty- and thirtysomething white urban hipsters, too. This ensured geek-chic status, but even some Sassy-ites wondered how hipster cred helped a magazine intended for a mass-market audience of teen girls. "I don't think it's the only factor, but one could argue that Sassy cooled itself to death," says Kim France, a former staff writer who now edits shopping magazine Lucky.

There are media properties that mark cultural moments and ones that go on to become good businesses, but one cold reality about mass media is that what draws purists and early adopters is often not what equals boffo box office. Histories of other zeitgeisty magazines confirm this. Wired, which I admire, is today far removed from the utopianism and outré layouts of its early issues. Now, much of it is about business and tech toys. Today's Rolling Stone is light-years away from its overtly underground beginnings. (Its debut issue was packaged with a roach clip.) Sassy's turn toward more mainstream mores was clumsy and late, courtesy of an owner that in essence (foolishly) fired all veteran staffers. Sassy's founding editor, Jane Pratt, who now hosts a talk show on Sirius (SIRI ) Satellite Radio, tweaked her formula when she started young-women's title Jane. "I made a conscious decision to do a different kind of magazine-one that was an alternative to what was out there, but in such a way to be appealing to advertisers," she says today. A rare recent teen-mag hit, CosmoGirl!, hit it big by wrapping Sassy's geek- friendly vibe in a more mainstream sheen.

Today, an autumnal chill has descended on teen magazines as readers flock to the Web. Two of Sassy's three main rivals, Teen and YM, are gone, as are Teen People and Elle Girl, two titles that followed Sassy. But nothing, then or since, looked or sounded like Sassy. (Perhaps they learned from Sassy's failure to expand a tightly proscribed niche.) Pratt recalls conversations with Sassy-ites in which everyone agreed it's better to be a fondly remembered, defunct magazine than "an O.K. magazine that sticks around for a long time." In the end, Sassy was a band, not a brand. A moment, not a media business. And what cultural moment is more keenly remembered than one that's irretrievably lost-one you can pine for forever, like a lovesick teen alone in the night?

For Jon Fine's blog on media and advertising, go to

Publishers Hear Digital Fingerprinting Pitch

Publishers Hear Digital Fingerprinting Pitch
by Karlene Lukovitz fuseaction=Articles.san&s=59820&Nid=30069&p=204 904

WATCHING GOOGLE AND VIACOM DUKE it out in court is interesting, but in the real world, publishers and other site owners are more interested in finding a practical way to monitor who's using their content and either get some reimbursement or get it off the Web.

As the business world read about Google/YouTube filing for a dismissal of Viacom's $1 billion copyright infringement suit earlier this week, a group of publishing executives gathered at a Magazine Publishers of America "Meet the Innovators" session to hear a pitch for one potential answer.

Attributor Corp., a privately held Redwood City, CA company started by Silicon Valley executives, is testing technology that scans and captures digital "fingerprints"--or identifying characteristics--of text, images and audiovisual content and then continuously scans its index of the Web to pick up matches.

The company claims that the system can spot content reuse within just about any Web area/format, including RSS feeds, self-published sites, social networks, advertising networks, search engines and aggregators, based on a few text sentences, bits of an image, or seconds of an audio/video clip.

Attributor doesn't claim to know exactly what is and is not "fair use" under the evolving legal precedents surrounding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; rather, the system employs a site owner's own specified criteria to generate automatic responses to identified instances of reuse, explained CEO Jim Brock, a former Yahoo copyright counsel who co- founded Attributor in 2005 with Silicon Valley entrepreneur Jim Pitkow.

Depending on the scenario (the percentage of content used, whether it's being used for commercial purposes, etc.), a content reuser might, for instance, receive a request to remove content, or a proposal to allow continuing reuse of the content in return for giving the originator a portion of advertising revenue or licensing fees. A single console provides the site owner with ongoing monitoring of each issue's status until there is some kind of resolution.

Site owners can also employ a searchable public registry that allows anyone wishing to republish content to identify the owner and seek a licensing agreement.

In short, Attributor may present a more streamlined and wide-ranging solution than existing content monitoring systems like Indigo Stream Technologies' Copyscape, which relies on Google's search engine to seek out unauthorized uses.

Attributor is now in beta with several "large, international publishers," and is taking requests to generate free trial reports for interested publishers while the development phase continues, Brock said. Between 40 and 45 million Web pages per day are being added to the system through RSS feeds and periodic content scanning/conversions, he added.

In December, the company announced that it had received $10 million in funding to date from investors including Sigma Partners, Draper Richards LP, First Round Capital, Amicus and Selby Venture Partners.

Where does Brock think digital fair use definitions are headed? "At this point, nobody can say that a certain percentage of an article equates or does not equate to fair use," he says. "It's still subjective under the law. But once we have the systems in place for transparency, we believe those standards will evolve."

Meanwhile, he says, "if from a business standpoint, it's not fair use by your standards, you can address that, negotiate, respond as you see fit." For example, if no attribution is provided, a significant portion of a given piece of content is being used, and it's being used for commercial purposes, "then you've got three indicators that might set off a 'ding, ding, ding,'" Brock notes.