Thursday, July 19, 2007

Brandtique: In Touch, 'Hell's Kitchen'

Brandtique: In Touch, 'Hell's Kitchen'
by David Goetzl

ON A RECENT EPISODE OF the Fox reality-competition series "Hell's Kitchen," the host Gordon Ramsay tells a winning trio their prize is "extraordinary." It's a photo shoot and exclusive interview with In Touch magazine, the weekly celebrity fish bowl/guilty pleasure. Two of the women jump around excitedly as if they've won the lottery in what has become standard in reality TV when a contestant is told he or she has won something that's often extraordinarily ordinary.
The blog TV Blend essentially told the women to chill: "the way they react, you would think ... that In Touch is Vanity Fair or something. Seriously, ladies, you're going to be in an issue that's discussing Nicole Richie's pregnancy in-depth."

The blogger, of course, has a point that intersects somewhere with the merits of highbrow foreign policy exposes versus photos and scoops from celebrity stakeouts.

Regardless, for the In Touch marketing side, the integration in "Hell's Kitchen" (one of the top product placements of the week, according to measurement firm iTVX) is the equivalent of a juicy scoop by their reporting colleagues: It provides enviable exposure for the brand in a propitious environment.

No doubt the principal audience for the series, where the British Ramsay puts the contestants through a "hellishly intense culinary boot camp," is in line with the young-female-skewing audience that devours In Touch news about Rachael Ray's marriage (maybe on the rocks, maybe not, according to the latest issue) and Kevin Federline's eagerness for his own reality show (this hasn't happened already?).

It's tough stuff for some to resist, and Ramsay could have offered up even more praise--as he's loath to do for would-be chefs on his show--for the magazine's business acumen. Only five years old, its circulation has soared and its publisher touts it as "the fastest-growing magazine on newsstands today." In less than a year after launch, its rate base doubled. And it's helped take the boom in celebrity magazines ushered in by Us Weekly to another level.

The title's integration on the July 9 "Hell's Kitchen" episode not only includes Ramsay's applause, but a mock cover with Ramsay and the three contestants. There's also footage from the photo shoot where one contestant says, "The best part ... is feeling like a rock star."

That extended scene is high-energy, and attempts to present a glamorous aura. And that's at the core of the In Touch brand, even if its coverage gets down and dirty.

Magazine's shelf life has no boundaries

Magazine's shelf life has no boundaries
Every month, about 5 million National Geographics are printed. And many people seem to hoard them. For years, for decades. Why?
By Carlos Alcalá - Bee Staff Writer

After reading in The Bee that a GI in Afghanistan wanted National Geographic magazines for Afghan kids, Susan Maxwell Skinner called to volunteer to donate hers.

Skinner, a Carmichael photographer, had a few dozen, but other callers -- and there were many -- had up to 50 years' worth of the yellow, perfect-bound magazines.

People seem to hoard National Geographic, and there are a lot of magazine issues out there.

Every month, about 5 million National Geographics are printed. That works out to more than 2,000 tons and around 4,000 cubic yards of magazines.

Every month.

Some of them wind up in the dump, but many more accumulate on shelves in dens. Or in boxes in the garage. Or piles in the attic.

In many cases, the collectors don't read them, but they keep them. For years, for decades.


"It's heartbreaking to throw them away," said Skinner. "They're too nice."

The pictures are by some of the world's best photographers and the printing is top-notch.

Skinner's accumulation dates to the 1980s, but her parents in New Zealand have a collection dating back to the 1950s, she said.

"What we're going to do with them when my parents pop their clogs, I don't know," she said.

People may save them because "their issues are almost like books," said Lars Perner, a consumer psychologist.

Kit Yarrow, another consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, agrees with that assessment, but thinks there's more.

"It's special," she said. "Readers feel an intimacy with this magazine. It's emotional."

For many owners, even recycling seems too cruel a fate, so they hold onto magazines, waiting to put them to use.

Capt. Michael Harrison's effort was a rare opportunity and readers responded, though some backed off when they found it would cost them $8 to send a box of 30 or so issues. Most opted to keep their magazines stockpiled.

As a result of this phenomenon, the National Geographic Society's Web site has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section with this query:

"Q. I have a collection of old National Geographic magazines that I would like to donate to charity. Where should I donate them?

"A. You are not the first to ask us for advice about giving away old National Geographic magazines. It seems no one likes to throw them out, and we are gratified that this is so. But eventually people do run out of room."

Joe Demarco, who also has an accumulation, tried to give them to library sales. "Nobody wanted them," he said. "I don't think any used bookstores sell them."

There is a little hope.

"We'll take 'em," said Scott Williams, who coordinates used book and magazine sales for Sacramento's Central Library. And, he says, they sell pretty well.

National Geographic is "timely, yet timeless," said magazine expert Samir Husni, trying to explain the hoarding. An issue from two decades ago -- or longer -- can be as fascinating as last month's.

The attachment to the yellow magazine is so cultish, said Husni, that when an issue was published with a gold cover, it generated complaints.

"Where is my yellow spine?" was the beef from subscribers accustomed to displaying shelves of unbroken yellow, Husni said.

There's only one other magazine that has created a similar bond, said Yarrow.

Playboy. People -- mostly men, we suspect -- hoard those issues, too.

Playboy and National Geographic have something in common: photos of bare-breasted women.

In National Geographic, it was generally women in countries where such undress is the norm. The photos are from an anthropological, albeit Eurocentric, perspective.

Even so, said Husni, "for a lot of people, it (National Geographic) was the first time they saw a picture of a naked woman."

Aside from such photos, however, the two magazines have little in common, and there's a big difference that consumer psychologist Yarrow discovered when she looked them up on eBay.

Old Playboys were selling for much higher prices.

National Geographic was mostly listed at a buck or two per issue, and with few bids. Recently, you could find an August 1968 issue listed for a penny. No bids.

We love it, but won't buy it. Not on eBay, anyway.

Given that there were once 10 million or more National Geographics going out each month, it's probable that a lot of storage is taken up by beautiful, glossy pages.

Which suggests another possible consequence of the baby boomer bulge. When all the boomers grow old and give up their houses for retirement places -- or when they "pop their clogs" -- what will the heirs do with all those yellow magazines?

Husni had one answer: "Time for a garage sale."

Good luck with that.

Automatic Renewal Not Automatic for Circulators

Automatic Renewal Not Automatic for Circulators

Why do we buy gym memberships, movie subscriptions and even Web site subs on auto renewal, but not magazines?

By Barbara Love

Last year's settlement between Time Inc. and 23 state attorneys general had a chilling effect on circulators testing or committed to auto-renewals. The settlement language addressed what attorneys general called "deceptive practices" and sought "clear and conspicuous disclosure."

One year later, CM finds auto-renewal is being used more mindfully-not only because of legal red flags, but because there are new questions about its effectiveness.

In more than a decade of testing automatic renewal (also called continuous service), circulators have learned more about how and if they can benefit from this relatively-new tool.

Automatic renewal is not an automatic option for circulators.

What's the Incentive?

If the price of a subscription is high and the renewal rate is high using traditional renewal methods, circulators say there's no incentive in trying to automatically renew consumers. And if you want to promote multiple-term subscriptions, automatic renewal is not for you.

Dan Capell's CircTrack shows that in 2006, 50 percent of circulators were using auto-renewals, and those renewals represented about 20 percent of the file-the same percentages as in the 2005 report.

The whole point of auto-renewal is to boost overall renewal percentage over time. The big question is, how well is that working? Various sources tell CM that the norm in the industry is a 10 to 20 percent lift over traditional renewal methods.

But is this anecdotal information reliable? In the 2006 survey, Capell asked circulators for the first time what lift they were getting from auto-renewals. The results show a very different reality. 90 percent of the users got no lift from auto-renewal and of the 10 percent that did report a lift, that lift was 8 percent on average.

Producing a Lift in Renewals?

Capell wonders why people are using auto-renewal if it is not producing a lift in renewals. Is it worth the hassle to save on renewal notices? he asks. Could it be, as one circulator says, that most circulators reported no lift because they are too busy to do the analysis and just don't know?

Automatic renewal is established at some companies, but not high up on circulators' list of priorities. It is much more common on Web sites, where subscribers seek out information, and where the lengthy and cumbersome contract information can be handled more easily.

The Time Inc. settlement prompted a great deal of tweaking of auto-renewal promotions, link letters and renewal notices to address the attorneys general concerns.

At the same time, circulators are still trying to figure out how to best market auto-renewals-for example credit card vs. bill me, and promoting automatic renewal at time of acquisition vs. at renewal.

Consultant Bill Baird reports that three years ago publishers were approaching him and saying, "Show us how to do auto-renewals." Those requests have stopped and some of the original entrants into the offer are now asking, "Should we be continuing to use auto- renewals?"

"The Time Inc. settlement colored the industry's perception of auto-renewals," Baird adds. "The terms of the settlement were perceived as fuzzy, which has created fear, uncertainty and doubt.

"But I think the broader implications are the dangers we all face of crossing the line in our promotions. That's why sweepstakes begat automatic renewals begat vouchers," says Baird.

"Publishers just can't push boundaries the way they once did. The industry should be going back to review their own practices vs. those recommended by the Magazine Publishers Association back when the offers were receiving a lot of attention," he says.

CM did a little homework and here's what we found:

Impact of the Settlement

Ellen Dealy
VP-General Manager, Time Consumer Marketing Inc.

We've been using automatic renewal for so long that we don't have a point of comparison with traditional methods any longer. We really only have automatic renewal in our credit card offers at this point, and the ones we do with retailers are the best examples of these programs.

Best Buy, etc. offer the consumer a subscription to several magazines, the consumer receives some free trial issues, and the charge, after the free trial issues, goes on the consumer's credit card. The program with retailers is only for first time subscribers. Auto-renewal using credit cards is now a significant portion of our subscriber file.

The irony of the settlement with the attorneys general is that we had made most of the changes requested before the AG agreement was finalized. So there were not many changes as a result.

Automatic Renewal Wording

We began using the words 'automatic renewal' instead of 'continuous service' in promotion on the order form. Continuous service means your service is not interrupted. The AGs wanted more attention paid to the renewal.

We had been using a lot of benefit language in the continuous service promotion and we had to take some of that language out. We happen to think there is a benefit. The subscriber doesn't have to bother with renewal notices.

At the time of the settlement, we had a limited amount of bill-me automatic renewal, a one-notice combination of renewal and bill with an opportunity to pay by check. Time magazine had that program.

Bill-Me Offer Complicated

But when it was determined how much language would have to be put on the order card to make that happen, it was decided to drop the bill-me auto-renewal on that magazine. It wasn't worth it, partly because the renewal rates and pay up rates are so high on Time magazine anyway.

The impact of all the changes we made related to the settlement has been negligible, partially because most of them were made several years before the agreement.

While there are no laws specifically on magazine automatic renewal, the industry should look at the MPA guidelines and what Time Inc. does, because the AGs required it. Whatever you do, it needs to be clear to the consumer what they are getting in to.

Right now, automatic renewal is an integrated part of the way we do business. It's not going away. And we at Time Inc. do believe there is a response lift with credit card automatic renewal vs. traditional renewals. There is also a clear cost savings and, we believe, a consumer benefit.

A Lot of Subjectivity Involved

Alec Casey
Group Director, Consumer Marketing, Hearst Magazines

Hearst has approached automatic renewal in a step-by-step way and has now rolled it out on most of its titles. The original premise was to make the renewal process easier for consumers. We have always heard complaints from consumers that we need to streamline our renewal process.

We largely just use bill me later on auto-renewals. That works well for us. Credit card auto-renewals were tested in some places, but we have decided to go a little slower on credit card use because of all the attorneys general scrutiny.

Hearst did make changes after the Time Inc. settlement. We certainly have taken into consideration what was in that settlement. The attorneys general concerns were on nitty gritty stuff across a bunch of areas.

Spirit and Letter of Law

I don't think there is anyone today who can tell you exactly what to do to stay in compliance. There is a lot of subjectivity involved. We work closely with our attorneys, who review each and every promotion. We try to be in compliance, but one state attorney general may not agree with another, so we try to live up to the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

We've had auto-renewal in place for three or four years and back tested to see how it's doing. We are using it on a variety of new business sources. We tell the subscriber up front they will go into the auto-renewal stream.

We get higher renewal rates with automatic renewal and we're able to move people through the system smoothly. Our lifts are comparable to what you hear in the industry: about 10 to 20 percent.

Testing Period is Prohibitive

David Rosen
President, Rock Hill Direct

I've found that there's always been more 'interest' and buzz about auto-renewal than actual testing. The reasons aren't difficult to determine. First, it involves an extremely long testing cycle-foreshadowing, first auto-renewal, second auto-renewal.

You really need three years to get a grip on what's going on. A long testing time can mean that a test-blowing error can be really devastating-in extreme contrast to a single new business promotion, for example.

There's much less interest in automatic renewal today. For some publishers it may not be incrementally worth the trouble. Publishers have so many bigger issues. They are focusing more on the Internet, where promotion is constantly mutating and changing. There are plenty of auto-renewal offers on Web sites.

Incorporating Auto-Renewal Language

Regarding tactics, publishers get the best response when they incorporate auto-renewal language in the order form with no other option. The benefits need to be presented in a very low-key manner.

To stay safe and clear of the attorneys general you really need to do a lot of disclosure. Over the years we've finally developed the language. After considerable experience-and success-with continuous service, Reader's Digest has developed formats and approaches worth noting.

It used to be that when we sent out a link letter we really didn't want people to cancel, so we didn't include a reply envelope and we didn't ask for money. Now some publishers have found that it makes more sense to encourage cancellation in the link letter instead of going through the entire billing series for people who do not intend to renew. After the link letter, to be squeaky clean, you don't want to send the invoice until the new term starts.

Adds to Lifetime Value

Kimberly Draves
Sr. Consumer Marketing Manager, Rodale Inc.

We have found that we have been able to sell AR customers other things by including an invoice on the bottom of the AR invoice. For example, a coupon to receive a 21 day preview copy of a book. We find AR customers are quality customers with much higher lifetime value. They are multiple buyers in cross-promotions and they are gift-givers.

We use continuous service exclusively in our renewal business. As subscribers move through the renewal series, we attempt to enroll them in automatic renewal, but customers are not required to use automatic renewal.

A Bill-Me Only Option

For Rodale, automatic renewal has been successful. Of course our goal was to improve the retention rate, but we have also received positive feedback from our customers on the program. Our program is a bill-me only.

Customers who enroll in automatic renewal tend to be better gift-givers, and we have also sold them other products (magazines and books) using coupons at the bottom of the invoices, increasing lifetime value.

Customers are given an 800 number to call with any questions about the program or to cancel. This number is now shown on our enrollment materials, and is also shown on our link letter and our invoices. If customers want to cancel their subscriptions, or cancel out of the auto-renew program, we want to honor their request quickly.

A Positive Customer Relationship

We've learned through testing that customers who want to cancel do so anyway. They just cancel earlier when given a clear option (which means we send fewer bills). We also want to keep a positive relationship with customers. We'll likely be promoting them as an expire through direct mail or email and may be able to convert them to an active customer once again.

We make sure our marketing materials are not misleading customers in any way. For example, we do not use "invoice-like" terms such as "due date" on renewal promotions, and instead use "reply by."

I compare renewal notices to invoices by putting them on my bulletin board. If we feel customers would be confused, we change the creative.


· Do discuss the impact of auto-renewals on cash flow with management and accounting first. Automatic renewals will affect cash flow.

· Be up front and tell the subscriber how the auto-renewal will be done to avoid surprises.

· Talk to your lawyers about strategies.

· If auto-renewal is the only option in your promotion, provide an 800 number for opt outs.

· IPresent the benefits of auto-renewal in a very low-key manner. The consumer responds better.

· Assure the customer that he or she doesn't have to pay for any issue they don't want and can cancel at any time.

· When handling price changes, be careful of your wording in the link letter. You may want to say "savings off the newsstand price (in percentage or dollars)."

· Promoting cancellations sounds outrageous, but it may make sense in the auto-renewal link letter.

· Don't ask for payment on your link letter.

Disney tries to save the CD

Disney tries to save the CD

The once mighty compact disc is slowly but surely on its way toward joining the cassette, 8-track and vinyl LP on top of the music format scrap heap. But Walt Disney (DIS) introduced a new version of the CD in New York Wednesday that it hopes will convince more fans to keep buying multitrack discs (what we used to call "albums") instead of just downloading singles from the Internet.

Disney's Hollywood Records label unveiled what it is calling CDVU+, pronounced CD view plus, at the Samsung Experience store at New York's Time Warner Center, which just so happens to be where Time Warner's (TWX) offices are located. Disney said that its pop-punk trio, the Jonas Brothers, will be the first act to release an album in this format. The self-titled CD will be released on August 7.

So what makes the CDVU+ special? The CD will launch a digital magazine that features loads of exclusive content. Disney worked with Zinio, a company that helps magazine and book publishers deliver content online, to launch this service. The CDVU+ will also allow Jonas Brothers fans to check out videos and photos, get song lyrics and create posters.

It's an intriguing concept since it's obvious that consumers need added incentive to actually schlep to a store to buy a CD or order it online from a place like (AMZN) and then wait for it to be mailed to them. In this day and age, more and more music fans are accustomed to instantly getting music by downloading it, whether illegally for free from music sharing sites or from legal online music stores.

"While the CD is still the primary means by which people consume music, it is also true that music fans are increasingly turning to the Internet to connect, research and consume music," said Hollywood Records general manager Abbey Konowitch in a statement. "To address the changing consumer expectations, we've created a recognizable physical product that also serves as a key to unlock content that is exclusive, interactive, tailored to the band's fans, and updatable."

But it's debatable if the CDVU+ will really help stem the decline in physical music sales that is plaguing the music industry. According to Nielsen SoundScan, total album sales plunged 15 percent in the first half of 2007, led by a 19 percent decline in CD sales.

For one, many musicians and labels already offer access to online content and other extras through existing CDs. What's more, people who buy albums from places like Apple's (AAPL) iTunes often wind up receiving downloads of digital booklets with their albums as well as added content such as exclusive non-album tracks and music videos.

And at Fortune magazine's iMeme technology conference last week in San Francisco, a panel of digital music experts, including the keyboardist of the Talking Heads, the CEO of RealNetworks (RNWK) and an executive from major label EMI Group (EMIPY) all agreed that the digital music trend is not going away. Music companies have to adapt to the digital world and trying to keep the CD afloat may not cut it.

Still, it's a novel attempt by Disney. And if any record label can successfully benefit from enhanced CDs, Disney might be the best-positioned to do so since much of the acts on the Hollywood Records label are geared to younger, incredibly passionate audiences who can't seem to get enough information about their favorite musicians, be that Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus - aka Hannah Montana - and Jesse McCartney.

There was a fairly large crowd of mostly young girls waiting for the Jonas Brothers to arrive at the Time Warner Center Wednesday. And these fans braved a pretty intense thunderstorm earlier in the day. So something tells me that this demographic may be more than willing to keep buying CDs if the discs promise all the extra bells and whistles they can't get from a digital download.

But don't expect CDVU+ to have a major impact on the rest of the struggling industry.

Can Fans Save Business 2.0?

Can Fans Save Business 2.0?
Facebook Group Aims to Protect Time Inc. Title From Scrapheap
By Nat Ives

NEW YORK ( -- Can Business 2.0 become the "Jericho" of magazine publishing? "Jericho," of course, is the once-canceled CBS show that was revived after fans deluged the network with pleas to continue it. Now a self-described avid reader of Time Inc.'s Business 2.0 has started a Facebook group called "I read Business 2.0 -- and I want to keep reading!"

The Facebook group to save Business 2.0 includes Craig Newmark of Craigslist; Ned Desmond, president of Time Inc. Interactive; Om Malik, creator of GigaOm; James Ledbetter, formerly of The Industry Standard; and, unsurprisingly, Business 2.0 Editor Josh Quittner.

Since its establishment yesterday morning, the group has attracted more than 160 members, many of them prominent in new media, technology and business. They include Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Matt Cohler, VP-strategy at Facebook itself; Ned Desmond, president of Time Inc. Interactive; Michael Arrington, editor of TechCrunch; Philip Kaplan, founder and chairman of AdBrite online ad agency; Om Malik, creator of tech blog GigaOm; Blaise Zerega, managing editor of and former managing editor of Wired; James Ledbetter, former European editor of The Industry Standard; Sree Sreenivasan of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; and Jimmy Guterman, editor of O'Reilly Media's Release 2.0 and former editor in chief of Forrester, Gaming Industry News and CD Review.

Will it be enough?
How big it grows -- and whether fan fervor is enough to save a magazine with sinking ad pages -- remains to be seen. Among a bunch of challenged business books, Business 2.0 has caught some worried eyes with its 34.1% decline in ad pages over the first half of the year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. And Time Inc. has been unwilling to guarantee Business 2.0 will continue publishing. "It is true that we are taking a look at the title, but no decision has been reached at this point," a spokeswoman said.

Colin Carmichael, the reader who started the group, said he had been invited to lots of "save this, save that" groups on Facebook and wondered how Business 2.0 readers might respond to similar call. "I don't know if Time Inc. might be swayed," he said. "It's merely a P&L question for them. What might be more interesting is if current or potential advertisers take notice of the audience."

'It choked me up'
Editor in Chief Josh Quittner, who, The New York Times reports, has been looking for private-equity investors to save the magazine, said he signed up for the group as a purely reflexive emotional gesture. "It choked me up -- an old cynic like me," he said.

But he isn't convinced the group will help. "I know the internet has saved some TV shows," Mr. Quittner said. "I've never heard of it saving a magazine."

Old Media More Trusted Than New When It Comes To Politics

Old Media More Trusted Than New When It Comes To Politics

About three-quarters of people surveyed last month said they look to mainstream media, rather than the Internet, for political information.

By Thomas Claburn

The mainstream media is still more trusted than social networking sites, video sites, and blogs for political news, according to research released Monday.

Some 72% of 383 people surveyed last month said they looked primarily to the mainstream media for political information, according to research released Monday by market research firms Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm. More than 56% of survey respondents cited newspapers and magazines as the sources that they trust the most when seeking political information.

"People didn't trust what they found on the Internet," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research for Nucleus Research.

For all the publicity lavished on MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, Wettemann said that people trust the mainstream media more than five times as much as other online information sources.

"The Internet has changed traditional media by providing more rapid access to information -- but, at the same time, has reduced the editing and vetting process still followed by more traditional news sources," the survey says. "While many candidates have rushed to establish their Web presence, and traditional media outlets have tried to close the gap with their own Internet sites, when it comes to believability traditional sources still hold the most weight."

According to the survey, fewer than 5% of respondents look to YouTube for political information, only 19% make use of candidate Web sites, and only 14% make uses of political parties' Web sites. The survey also found that some 18% of respondents get their information from alternative sources like The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

The message for political candidates, said Wettemann, is not to ignore traditional media.

Cheryl Gutowski, analyst at Nucleus Research, put it this way: "The bottom-line question is: Are Barack Obama's 97,954 Facebook 'friends' going to help him secure the swing vote and defeat Hillary Clinton? We believe absolutely not."

But the two media are mixing. A Democratic presidential debate scheduled for July 23 will be hosted by YouTube and CNN. "It didn't make sense to keep covering politics in the same old way," said Jonathan Klein, president of CNN.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tech Boom, Media Bust

Tech Boom, Media Bust
BY Brian Caulfield

It was a slow Friday at Red Herring magazine. The receptionist at the Silicon Valley tech title had stepped away from her desk. So a messenger strolls in from the summer sunshine, finds a 20-something reporter on her first real job and hits her with an eviction notice. Red Herring has three days to pay the rent or get out. Word got around, fast. Then someone looked outside. There, driving up in a rented silver Mazda minivan is a correspondent with gossip blog Valleywag. Aaaaaaand she's got a camera.

Silicon Valley is booming again. But if you work in tech media, there's blood on the floor. Take Red Herring. It hung onto its offices after getting the eviction notice earlier this month. But gossip site Valleywag is breaking story after story not just on its beat--but about its woes. Meanwhile, bigger publications are hurting too: Time Warner's Business 2.0 saw ad pages drop 21.8% through March from the same period a year ago; PC Magazine's editor in chief walked out the door after ad pages fell 38.8% over the same period; and one-time online powerhouse CNET is reporting growing losses even as the companies it covers flourish. It may be happening in tech first, but there's no reason the same thing won't happen, eventually, in every media niche.

Things couldn't be much more different than the last boom. While online upstarts such as HotWired struggled to make money--they had to invent the banner ad--print titles flourished. The Industry Standard, founded in 1997, set ad sales records. Business 2.0 came out of nowhere to scoop up gobs of ads against articles detailing how to succeed in the new economy. And one-time venture capital bible Red Herring ballooned to hundreds of pages. Then the tech downturn hit. The Industry Standard closed. The assets of Red Herring and Business 2.0 were sold to new owners.

But while the good times are back--the tech-heavy Nasdaq hit a six-and-a-half-year high last week--tech trade and new-economy publications have not bounced back. The first problem: online keyword advertising. Media insiders say search engines such as Google have snarfed up the product-driven ads. Rather than running product listings in trade publications and newspapers, media insiders say tech companies prefer to buy keyword ads so they can send buyers straight to the gear they want. "Search is what ignited everything," says Geoff Ramsey, Chief Executive of eMarketer, a firm which aggregates and analyzes online marketing statistics.

Meanwhile, Industry Standard founder John Battelle is keeping the bonfire of the print titles burning. His Federated Media Publishing is selling ads on more than 100 blogs, giving ad buyers the ability to spend big money on a collection of highly specialized sites--many of them focused on tech--that suit their needs. "If Cisco has to spend, I don't know, a couple of million dollars on a trade campaign, they are not spending it with Red Herring or Business 2.0. They are spending it with Federated Media, with bloggers who cover the sector," says Rafat Ali, editor and publisher of online media tracker

And while blog networks are quickly gaining scale, even their most coveted offerings are cost-competitive. To make a back-of-the-napkin comparison based on rate cards: A start-up looking to get attention will grab a third-of-a-page color ad in a magazine with a rate base of 600,000 and might pay $27,300; or it can pay $21,000 for 600,000 impressions for its ads on TechCrunch--a site covering start-ups represented by Battelle's Federated Media--assuming they take the priciest ad slot on one of tech's hottest sites.

That's no surprise, given that it takes fewer resources for blogs to crank out content than it does print titles. Web sites such as GigaOm, TechCrunch and Valleywag--with a few laptops, a web server and some hustle--are crowding into beats once dominated by trade publications and enthusiast magazines who rely on printing presses and full-time writers and editors. Bottom line: A successful blog can simply grab more readers, per employee, than more traditional media.

Talk to blogger Matt Marshall. He walked away from covering venture capital at one of California's biggest newspapers, the San Jose Mercury News, to run a venture capital Web site from the second bedroom of his Fremont, Calif., home. He has no employees. Federated Media handles the ad sales for a 40% cut. And Marshall says he now makes more than he did as a reporter. Meanwhile, the Mercury News laid off 31 of his former colleagues this month. "Where they can actually succeed is by taking a particular vertical and absolutely nailing it," eMarketer's Ramsey says of bloggers like Marshall.

Of course, blogging is not the express lane to riches its more exuberant backers would have you believe. The anonymous satirist who runs "The Secret Diary of Fake Steve Jobs" started hitting up his readers for money-making ideas just weeks after being named to Business 2.0's list of "50 Who Matter Now," even while, in character as Apple Chief Steve Jobs, he boasted about Apple's huge stock gains. And while Marshall says he's making a living, he's still living lean: he says he works until 3 a.m. many nights. "I can go under any day, and that's what brings the passion to this," Marshall says.

The truth is, the vast majority of bloggers will never garner more than a few dozen readers. Then again, most of today's print-heavy news outlets are scaling back in the face of the relentless online competition. Marshall's father, Tyler Marshall, walked away from journalism after winning a Pulitzer Prize at The Los Angeles Times, bought out in a round of downsizing at the venerable newspaper. When Marshall told his father about his plan to launch his own publication, the older Marshall didn't discourage him. After all, what did he have to lose?

Has the age of the green magazine finally arrived?

Has the age of the green magazine finally arrived?
After decades of languishing at the back of the rack, environmental publications are amazed to find a huge new market thrust upon them. Sophie Morris reports on their organic growth

Resurgence, Britain's oldest environmental magazine, was created more than 40 years ago to meet the dangers of "giantism", according to the editor, Satish Kumar. "Bigness is the cause of environmental disruption," he says. "Everything is about growth - economic growth, educational growth, transportation growth, and supermarkets like Tesco becoming big."

Green magazines are currently something of a growth market themselves. The biggest is The Ecologist, which was launched in 1970 and has piled on readers since Tyler Moorehead took over as publisher in 2003. It now has a circulation of around 30,000 and is even available to buy on the shelves of Tesco.

"We didn't solicit that distribution channel," Moorehead says, explaining that Tesco came to The Ecologist asking to stock the magazine. "Our view for a long time was that there was a contradiction, for obvious reasons, but it's a channel that already exists. Perhaps if their customers read the magazine and look at the alternatives they would start spending a lot less time in Tesco."

A few years ago only clued-up greenies knew to visit specialist shops to find The Ecologist, but the vogue for all things environmental has spilled over into our magazine consumption. Resurgence and The Ecologist have been joined by a host of publications covering similar material, though each title has its own specialisation. Green Futures publishes for the business community, Green Parent for families; New Consumer guides readers towards sound shopping choices. Resurgence covers spiritual as well as environmental issues. Where The Ecologist has a long history of campaigning on climate change, the new kid on the block, Pure Living, is taking up the animal rights ticket.

"The market has changed dramatically in the last four years," confirms Moorehead. "We certainly consider ourselves a consumer magazine now and not a niche publication. We operate like a commercial consumer magazine."

The Ecologist's profile has been raised considerably by its celebrity director and former editor, Zac Goldsmith, David Cameron's adviser on green issues. Moorehead says he welcomes the competition from other magazines because it has helped the sector to grow.

"Where potential partners and advertisers were thinking it was a niche subject, it has now become something they really need to think about," he says. "It has helped our visibility and made the whole topic easier."

All these green magazines vet their advertisers for their eco-credentials. Advertising an airline, for example, would be out of the question. The Ecologist runs ads from various ethical-investment firms, such as Jupiter, Henderson and The Co-operative Bank and other companies "that are sizeable but ethical", says Moorehead. Resurgence has a radical approach to advertising: it places all the ads at the back of the magazine in order not to interrupt the copy.

In 1998, when Goldsmith became editor and started to take the magazine mainstream, WH Smith stopped carrying The Ecologist following a controversial article condemning the environmental track record of genetic engineering company Monsanto. WH Smith has since resumed stocking the title and The Ecologist has continued to hector Monsanto, proving that a whiff of libel won't send these eco-warriors running for the hills.

Satish Kumar, for his part, is opposed to "green consumption" and happy for Resurgence to stay small - with a circulation of around 15,000 - and out of major distributors. Its resistance to large advertisers means 70 per cent of its revenue comes from subscriptions, and most of the writing is donated for free. Despite this greener-than-thou image, Kumar calls The Ecologist a "really good, politically strong sister magazine" and says he is also a fan of Green Futures.

Pure Living launched this year and its first issue faltered. The editor, Britt Collins, believes that this is because the magazine wasn't available in larger stores like Borders, and has made sure the second issue, due out this week, will be.

"I wanted something that was politicised and a really good read, to compete with the newspaper supplements. I don't want to preach to people and I hate that whole hippie element of being green. I'm a vegan and I've supported animal rights all my life, but I'm not a hippie."

Pure Living's style is flirtatiously rebellious in the face of staid greenies. The model on the cover of the first issue looks like she's just rolled home from a long night in a seedy jazz bar and - shock horror - she's smoking. Issue two features Tatjana Patitz, the supermodel and reclusive maker of wildlife films; Al Gore and Hillary Clinton; and the White Stripes. Reverend Billy, the leader of the Church of Stop Shopping, is a columnist, and Pure Living has even poached The Independent's own green goddess, Julia Stephenson.

Its unique selling point, though, is the animal rights slant, which sets it apart from other environmental publications and leads Collins to believe she has no direct competitors. New Consumer, she says, is "more listy and less features-led", Resurgence "very academic and very conceptual". She hopes Pure Living is "a little more readable and accessible" than The Ecologist. "But there is definitely space for competition and rivals," she says. "Independent magazines need to support each other but in terms of the features we have The Independent is the closest thing to us."

Collins looks across the pond for inspiration. "The smaller American indie magazines can be quite progressive. In some ways they're a step ahead of us and quite experimental. The only thing I see as a competitor is Mother Jones in San Francisco, an American magazine without the glamour or the gloss but with a similar political slant to us."

Pure Living doesn't look like a budget publication edited for free in the twilight hours, but Collins, whose first taste of working for magazines was on a music fanzine at college, describes current environmental publications as a "movement" rather than commercial enterprises. Pure Living's print run is just 5,000 and Collins says she wants to "keep the quality high and build it up organically". She points to very successful magazine genres, such as indie music and lad mags, as examples of the potential for a massive new market.

"Mainstream publishers don't often experiment," she says. "They didn't touch indie music mags for a good five years and the men's magazine market exploded once Loaded was doing well. Now they're really struggling. The climate and focus has changed and I think the time for a green magazine is now."

Moorehead agrees: "It is still a real challenge but the market has come to our feet. The main thing we're trying to do, and I think other magazines are doing as well, is to let people know being green isn't about denial."

Ad Downturn Threatening the Survival of Business 2.0

Ad Downturn Threatening the Survival of Business 2.0


Business 2.0 magazine, a seven-year-old Time Inc. publication that covers start-ups, technology trends and changes in the new economy, might publish its final issue in September, according to people briefed on discussions about the fate of the magazine.
Though a reprieve is still possible, according to these people, executives at Time Inc., the nation's largest magazine group, are threatening to shut down Business 2.0 in the midst of a sharp drop in advertising at the San Francisco-based magazine.

Advertising revenue at Business 2.0 was down 38 percent through July 9 of this year, according to the Magazine Publishers of America. The most recent issue on newsstands ran a scant 102 pages, although summer months are traditionally lean for magazines.

At the same time, readers are still showing interest in the publication: in 2006 its paid circulation - 623,000, including newsstand sales - was roughly the same as 2005.

So why the threat of the ax for the business and technology magazine during such heated times for the field?

Aside from the overall downturn in the magazine business, current and former Time Inc. employees point to what appears to have been an ill-advised move this year to combine the advertising sales teams of Time Inc.'s finance and business publications, which include Fortune, Money,, Fortune Small Business and Business 2.0.

Consolidated under a single banner, Time Inc.'s Business and Finance Network (or Tibfin, as it is known inside the company), Time sales representatives stopped pitching the distinct appeal and audience of Business 2.0 to focus on the larger titles like Fortune.

That often turned Business 2.0 into an afterthought; big advertisers like Microsoft and Intel were offered discounts on other Time Inc. business titles if they would also buy pages in Business 2.0.

The consolidation of sales staffs has been tough on other Time Inc. titles as well, with ad dollars, through July 9, down 26.8 percent at Fortune Small Business, 13.4 percent at Fortune and 8.3 percent at Money. The Time executive who headed the Tibfin initiative, Christopher J. Poleway, was replaced three weeks ago by Vivek Shah as head of the unit. Mr. Shah had run the profitable portal.

Josh Quittner, the former Time magazine technology writer and editor of Business 2.0, has endeavored to save the magazine, even unsuccessfully soliciting venture capital this year in an attempt to buy the title from Time Inc.

If Business 2.0 indeed goes the way of defunct Silicon Valley magazines like the Industry Standard, the original Red Herring and Upside, 10 editorial employees will stay on and join Fortune magazine in covering Silicon Valley, according to people briefed on these plans.

But a final decision still appears to be forthcoming. Mr. Quittner and a Time Inc. spokeswoman declined comment

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Public-Place Copies: Are They Worth the Effort?

Public-Place Copies: Are They Worth the Effort?
By Chandra Johnson-Greene's Lucia Moses reported this week a survey (conducted by TNS for OMD) of doctor's offices and hair/beauty salons, which found that 52 percent of those locations disposed of titles they didn't want to receive, while only 32 percent reported that the free titles they get are a good fit.

While this survey casts some doubt over the relevance of public-place copies in the audience developer's tool box-especially as ABC board members meet this week to discuss the very subject of verified circulation-the news is not all bad.

Last year, a study commissioned by Time Inc. and Mediaedge:cia found that 19 percent of public-place readers have purchased or intended to purchase something advertised in a magazine and 15 percent said they had "followed up" on an ad from a public-place copy.

The study also found that public-place readers had more time to devote to just reading magazines, felt less guilty about taking the time to read them and multitasked at a lower rate while reading.

Advertisers have scrutinized the heavy use of verified copies since the category was created in 2006, stating that some titles (only about 12) are using the category too heavily, especially in the last few issues of a period, in order to meet average rate base.

Publishers, on the other hand, believe that verified copies have been proven to receive a higher level of engagement than other categories, which of course, would be beneficial to advertisers.

As previously reported here, ABC confirmed that the following changes to the verified category would be discussed in the meeting this week:

· Increasing the required number of consecutive issues served to make a subscription eligible for verified reporting

· Eliminating the ability to report back copies as verified

· Eliminating the ability to choose not to report on the statement some copies that were served, and would fall under "verified" if reported

James Surowiecki On What Crowds Can and Cannot Do

Just the Sum of Us: James Surowiecki On What Crowds Can and Cannot Do
Posted by Jay Rosen

Assignment Zero's final results appear on this week, starting today. In honor of that, here's the interview Emily Gordon of Emdashes (a blog about the New Yorker) did with James Surowiecki, the New Yorker writer and author of The Wisdom of Crowds. He's not a romantic.
Over at, Assignment Zero's final package of articles and selected interviews is being published this week, the conclusion to an experiment that began in March. The different pieces are all about crowdsourcing and other forms of online collaboration. See

Open-Source Journalism: It's a Lot Tougher Than You Think by PressThink reader Anna Haynes.
Creative Crowdwriting: The Open Book by Kristin Gorski.
Stock Waves: Citizen Photo Journalists Are Changing the Rules by Daniella Zalcman.
Your Assignment: Art (Q and A with Andrea Grover)
. . . and my intro note to the package of more than 80 interviews contributors did for Assignment Zero. (Thanks, contributors!) One of them follows. It's by Emily Gordon, an editor at PRINT magazine and NYU grad who founded the blog, Emdashes, which is a) elegant and witty, and b.) all about the New Yorker. Take it away, Emily . . .

I met James Surowiecki in the late 1990s, when he was a freelance writer contributing to a diversity of publications, including Newsday's book section, where I was his editor. He now writes The New Yorker's weekly business column, "The Financial Page," which ranges widely over national and international business news and consumer trends and provides analysis of all of the above. His book "The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations" (Random House, 2004) was a best seller; perhaps even more relevantly, the title phrase - a play on Charles Mackay's 1841 book "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" - has become a familiar part of the lexicon.

Emily Gordon: Popular blogs, in theory, represent the will of the people, no matter how individually flavored they may be, and as we know, mass media, television and movie studios, and politicians are paying more and more attention to them. Does this represent a welcome acknowledgment of the wisdom of crowds, or are we simply creating and validating more "experts" who may or may not be true embodiments of the idea that the human sum is greater than its parts?

James Surowiecki: I'm glad that people in positions of power are paying more attention to what audiences, voters, etc., are really saying, and I think the boom in the number and quality of blogs is unquestionably a good thing. But I think it's important to distinguish between the rise to prominence of individual bloggers and the wisdom of crowds. You only get real collective wisdom when you have some way of aggregating lots of different individual opinions to produce a collective judgment - the way at the race track all of the bets individual bettors make are put together to set the odds, or the way a voting system works. So while having some new voices get attention (the way the most famous bloggers do) is nice, it's a long way from realizing the full potential of the Net. We need more ways to put together the opinions of the blogosphere to get a picture of what people really think.

Q: You note that the Web has made channeling or illuminating the wisdom of crowds much easier, but is it possible that the very form and habit of life online is making at least technologically capable crowds even smarter than they've ever been? Does the digital divide extend to this possible truth - that is, is it possible we're leaving behind people without access to advanced technology in yet another way, in their ability to contribute to and benefit from at least this form of collective wisdom?

A: I do think that having access to the Web can make people smarter - but I'm biased, because I spend too much time online, so don't trust my judgment on this question. So not being online probably could have certain costs aside from the obvious ones. But it's definitely true that one of the consequences of the digital divide is exactly what you suggest: the "crowd" of people online is not as diverse as it could be, and therefore is probably less collectively smart than it might be, since we know that cognitive diversity is fundamental to collective wisdom.

Q: Can the former or even late members of a company or institution be considered part of that "crowd," and if so, can they contribute, by past efforts or reputation, to its present influence or effectiveness?

A: I've never thought of it in that way, probably because I tend to think of the wisdom of crowds as a way of tapping the knowledge that people have in their heads right now. But it's certainly true that any successful institution derives some of its strength and its reputation from what's happened before, and in that sense the past does contribute to the present.

Q: Do you think that crowds' clearly eager participation in sites like, which you discuss in your book, voting for "American Idol" contestants, and the countless other ways wired first-world life has become a lively participatory democracy, can or will re-translate into a more active, in-person engagement with lower-tech forms of collective action, like voting in greater numbers, political protests, environmental activism, global crises, and labor organizing?

A: The simple answer is: I don't know. I think that it's clear that lots and lots of people want their opinions to be heard - and want them to, in some sense, make a difference. And I hope that that will, at the very least, translate into people voting in greater numbers, and even contributing to political campaigns in greater numbers. (It's possible we actually saw some evidence of this in 2006.) But there is a big gap between dialing a call-in number on "American Idol" and participating in a demonstration, let alone actually doing real labor organizing. The thing about lower-tech forms of collective action is that they're often hard, not just in the sense of being demanding in terms of time and energy, but also in the sense that they require tremendous amounts of patience and a willingness to defer immediate gratification. Unlike electing Jordin Sparks this year's American Idol, social and political change does not happen in a few hours, or even a few months. So I'm not sure we can expect the "democracy" of the Net and of modern media to lead to an efflorescence of real-world activism. But that doesn't mean that participatory democracy in the wired world is unimportant. We just have to be realistic about what it can accomplish.

Q: Speaking of the environment, it looks as though the Bush Administration may be finally waking up, in its fashion, to the reality of lowering emissions and addressing global warming. How can, or should, your theory be applied to the administration, the country, and/or the world's next step?

A: There are a variety of ways you could use the wisdom of crowds to come up with better answers to the problem of global warming. Internally, within the US government, I think the administration should try to tap the knowledge of workers throughout the bureaucracy - in the Department of the Interior, the EPA, the Department of Energy, NASA, etc. - to get a sense of what they collectively think are the strategies that have the best chance of succeeding at lowering emissions. Externally, I think it would be interesting to use prediction markets or other wisdom-of-crowds tools to get people to weigh in on the potential efficacy of new technological fixes - thinks like seeding the oceans with iron, carbon sequestration, and so on. More generally, I think the U.S. needs to recognize what we generally have a hard time recognizing: we do not have a monopoly on knowledge, and global problems genuinely demand a reliance on the global community to solve them.

Q: You and Malcolm Gladwell both cover business trends for The New Yorker, but, of course, you're not the only two correspondents who cover the business world for the magazine. Since you have a weekly column, do you have first dibs on breaking stories? What do you find is the most useful fount of column ideas - traditional news wires, RSS feeds, other business journalists, overheard tidbits on the street, word of mouth from business-savvy friends and colleagues, or another source?

A: I wouldn't say I have dibs on breaking stories: if someone else is already writing a longer piece on a company or a business figure, that will generally take precedence over my column, even if something new and interesting happens to that company. But that happens rarely, and it never happens that I don't do a column because someone else might later on want to write a longer piece on the subject. As far as where column ideas come from, it's a pretty amorphous mix. The topics often come out of my reading of the newspaper and the Net, but academia is also a source of a lot of great ideas and insights. There's a lot of really good, interesting, substantive work that gets done by academics in business and economics that most people just never get a chance to come across. So some of what I do is bring that work to readers. And academic blogs are actually really valuable in finding that work.

Q: Some potential Surowiecki-Gladwell synergy: You remind your readers that although you laud collective judgment, you recognize the obvious value of experts. Wouldn't it be better if a given expert was someone like Lois Weisberg, one of Gladwell's "connectors," who's related to so many laypeople she's almost a crowd in herself? It's conventional wisdom that it's no asset to any organization, whether it's a media company or a nonprofit or a global corporation, if its leaders or idea people are too isolated from the world for which they're making decisions. Would hiring more appropriately skilled Lois Weisbergs as crowdsourcers make sense for any company or organization that can't always poll the masses?

A: It would depend on whether "connectors" are actually assimilating knowledge and information from the people they're connected to, or whether their real talent was simply in making connections between people. I think more important than the number of connections is the diversity and breadth of the connections: in other words, you want people who are willing to listen to and take seriously opinions and perspectives that are dramatically different from their own. That's a very difficult thing to do.

Q: When we first met, you were a smart book critic writing about an impressive breadth of titles for a number of publications. What prompted your metamorphosis into a smart business-world columnist for The New Yorker, and what have you found most rewarding about that life and role, or milieu, thus far? What have you found most surprising? Most worrisome?

A: I was already a business writer - working for Slate - at the same time that I was a book critic. I think the fact that I ended up at the New Yorker was the result of two things: 1) the opportunity that the Net created (and still creates) for younger writers to work and to get noticed by people in what you might call the establishment press, and 2) the fact that, more than ever, non-businesspeople are curious about business and economics. The most rewarding thing has been the fact that you can write about business/economics, and about ideas, in what I hope is an intellectually rigorous way and have people read it and enjoy it (again, I hope). The most surprising thing is that the bursting of the stock-market bubble seems to have had only a small impact on people's interest in this stuff. And the most worrisome thing is that although people are being asked to take more and more responsibility for their own financial lives, a lot of Americans don't get enough information or training to make it easy for them to make good financial decisions.

Q: Has your research and resulting theory changed the way you make decisions, whether in investment, friendly sports wagers, or which bar you go to on a Friday night? Do you find yourself using the resources of crowds more often, and if so, how?

A: When I can, yes. The best example is something like the NCAA Tournament, where I rely pretty heavily on the collective judgment of bettors (which is tracked by ESPN and Sportsline before the tournament starts). As far as investing goes, my basic assumption is that the crowd is very hard to beat, so in most cases you should just put your money into index funds.

Q: New York City, where you live, is a remarkable crowd unto itself. How do you see the collective intelligence of crowds manifesting itself in ordinary ways in the city around you?

A: In some sense, I think the fact that New York works as well as it does - and I think that these days it works very well - is a kind of testament to the wisdom of crowds. Certainly the way crowds move on the sidewalk - the efficiency and speed with which pedestrians move - is evidence of it. More generally, I think we do a good job of adapting to problems, of finding workarounds, often times without any guidance from above, so that things which seem like they might be paralyzing turn out not to be.

Q: You're likely asked to give talks to many kinds of groups. Do you hear back from CEOs and other leaders you've encountered and discover they've taken your words to heart? Are crowds as good at listening as they are at unconsciously dispensing wisdom, and do you find that what they give back to you increases your knowledge in a real and significant way? If so, what are some examples? If not, what might be the problem - perhaps a lack of the necessary diversity you underscore?

A: In general, I find that the groups I speak to are great at listening, and much of the time people have interesting questions, stories from their own experience, and so on, that help me understand more about the way collective intelligence works. One paradoxical thing about most organizations today is that people spend a lot of time on teams, in meetings, etc., but they don't necessarily have any faith that it's the right thing to do or, more important, any real idea of how to take advantage of all that collective work. So my ideas - even if people are, understandably, skeptical about them - often have some connection to their day-to-day experience. What's interesting to me, though, is that even if you really buy into the idea of the wisdom of crowds, actually putting that idea into practice in an organization is not easy. There are a lot of hurdles - both institutional and psychological - that make it hard for organizations to change, particularly when it comes to moving away from a traditional command-and-control model. So even when the idea makes sense to people, you probably need something more to turn into a practical reality.

Q: There are a lot of theories out there cramming the bookstores, from moving cheeses to long tails to black swans. When you read other business books, do you find that many of them in fact support "The Wisdom of Crowds," if not in so many words, or do you find that there are profoundly misguided gurus out there?

A: Not surprisingly, I think that there's still too much fetishization of the individual expert and of the heroic leader in business writing today. A lot of us are just enthralled by the idea of trusting individual visionaries, so there's always going to be a market for that kind of book. But I do think there are a lot of books out there that recognize, in one way or another, the importance and the increasing value of processes that are bottom-up, decentralized and diverse, and there are obvious connections between some of the ideas in a book like "The Long Tail" and the idea of the wisdom of crowds, or between my discussion of the limitations of individual experts and Nassim Taleb's searing attack on experts in "The Black Swan" (though I'm more confident in the predictive ability of crowds than Taleb, who has no confidence in it at all, is).

Q: Accessing the instincts and ideas of the group is smart market research, of course, but consumers may become weary of being constantly polled and monitored by corporations, whether knowingly or not. Is there a way for companies that do this to make that accessing process more palatable or, even better, genuinely empowering for its subjects? Is the same true for political parties?

A: I wouldn't go too far with the hope that market research will ever be "empowering" in any meaningful sense. But I do think consumers get some value from the fact that their opinions can actually make a material difference in the way that companies behave, the kind of products they make, etc. (That's why, I assume, consumers do things like vote for their favorite T-shirts at And the hope, also, is that if companies pay more attention to what consumers collectively have to say, they'll end up delivering products and services that are closer to what we really need. Of course, these are only small benefits for the individual, so I think the only way for companies to do this well is to let people self-select - those who want to participate will, those who don't won't. This goes against a basic principle of market research, which is that you want the group you're surveying to match, as closely as possible, the audience you're targeting. But the truth is that if you can get a big enough and diverse enough group of people to participate, even if they don't match your target audience, they can still give you excellent answers. There's a British research company called Brainjuicer that's been experimenting with this kind of wisdom-of-crowds methodology for market research, and so far they've gotten very good results.

Q: You must get a lot of questions about the wisdom of crowds' taste in popular culture, Paris Hilton, etc. Who's to blame for the lowest common denominator as represented in supermarket tabloids and celebrity magazines, and blockbuster movies, since surely crowds form the market that demands the entertainment? It's been argued that every decade since, say, the beginning of cinema has produced just as much crap as Hollywood does now, but it's the classics we remember. Do you think that's the case? Is it possible that there's a time lag between when entertainment (and art generally) is produced and when the collective mind is capable of processing its value?

A: Well, I deliberately didn't write about culture in "The Wisdom of Crowds," for a simple reason: collective wisdom is a good way of coming up with an answer when there is a right or wrong answer (in a kind of Platonic sense) to the question. Which horse is most likely to win this race? What percentage of the vote will George W. Bush get? What will the box-office grosses of "Shrek the Third" be? What are the chances of an outbreak of avian flue in Indonesia in 2008? These are all questions that there is, in some sense, a true answer to (even if we won't know that answer until much later or perhaps not ever). I'm not sure, though, that the same can be said about a question like: Which movie is better? There may be no Platonic truth of aesthetics, in which case the wisdom of crowds shouldn't be expected to come up with a good answer. Having said that, I do secretly believe (without any real justification) that over time, quality tends to out (accepting the limitations that people's cultural biases, their training, and their lack of exposure to new material produce). I guess I assume it has to mean something that the crowd would say that the Beatles are the greatest band in the history of pop music.

Q: The 2008 election: How wise will we be?

A: I have no idea. I think the fact that more people seem interested in the election is a good thing. I think the ever-more-important role of the Net and of bloggers is excellent. But presidential campaigns are often not exercises in trying to tap the collective intelligence of voters, so much as they are attempts to play off their biases and their visceral impulses. So we'll see if 2008 is different.

Jane Pratt on the End of Jane

Jane Pratt on the End of Jane
'That Baby That Went Off and Got On Drugs'
By Nat Ives

NEW YORK ( -- One day after Conde Nast Publications shut down Jane magazine, founder and namesake Jane Pratt used a special edition of her Sirius Satellite Radio show to blast what the title became after her departure two years ago.
Photo: Larry Busacca
Jane Pratt says she could have helped keep her namesake magazine going even after leaving Conde Nast. 'I think I could have helped the magazine stay alive.'

Related Item:

VIDEO: Nat Ives on the Death of Jane Magazine
Ad Age Media Reporter Discusses Demise of a Once-Beloved Title

"I feel like Sassy was my baby; I feel like Jane was my second baby," said Ms. Pratt, who started Jane in 1997 and was the first editor of Sassy, a ground-breaking title for teen girls, before that. "I feel like I abandoned that baby and it went off and got on drugs or something. I do have guilt about that. What I really would have liked would have been to have kept more of a connection to the magazine."

Ad pages sunk
It isn't clear, of course, whether maintaining close ties would have been possible in the summer of 2005, when Ms. Pratt and Conde Nast split in what they called a mutual decision. But, in any case, it didn't happen. Brandon Holley was hired to succeed Ms. Pratt as editor in chief and Carlos Lamadrid was tapped to take over as publisher. What followed was rocky for everyone: A Conde Nast ad campaign tried without much luck to position Ms. Holley as "so Jane," while advertisers stuck their hands in their pockets and let ad pages sink 21% in 2006. One cover last year, showing Jessica Simpson wearing pink and biting her finger, appalled some old readers who had loved Ms. Pratt's less mainstream touch.

Yesterday Conde Nast told Ms. Holley, Mr. Lamadrid and the staff that recent improvements in performance were not enough; Jane's August issue will be its last.

"I would have liked to have had some say over who was brought in," Ms. Pratt said on the radio show. "I think I could have helped the magazine stay alive by being involved on the advertising side, not letting as many of those advertisers slip away. I could have helped on the publicity side."

"If a magazine's named Jane, then people want to see Jane on TV or see Jane in the meeting with L'Oreal," she added. "I think it could have been handled differently."

'Still had hope'
Ms. Pratt said she had hoped the magazine would live on without her. "I didn't want the magazine to fold because I still had hope for it," she told a caller who said she had lost interest in the magazine, "that it could take on the right direction and that it could get back the advertising that it had lost and some of the readers like you that had defected."

She also said she had wished well for her former colleagues at Jane who stayed after she left -- although there was one thing that bugged her on that front. "I have some questions why they stayed after it became crappy," she said.

Saving Reader's Digest . . .

BoSacks Speaks Out: I had no idea that DeWitt Wallace who conceived of Reader's Digest was such a visionary. Please read the article below and send me back your thoughts. I think that the 87 year old wisdom of DeWitt Wallace displayed below, could help save our industry today. I have been preaching for over a decade, that the path to our success will be in developing addictive content. I have my own particular definition about that, but I am in love with Mr. Wallace's excellent interpretation. I truly wish I could have had the opportunity to have a cup of coffee and a conversation with him about the industry.

Sometimes Samir Husni and I are at very opposite ends of magazine punditry. Today we are in total agreement. I must mark that down in my calendar.

"The literature at the top says Reader's Digest but it is not. If you look at the literature, it says USA Direct Inc. What they do is say you have won and of course everyone knows Reader's Digest so they assume it's legitimate."

Jeannie Hoskins

Saving Reader's Digest . . .
By Samir Husni

I know what people say about free advice, but while recovering from sinus surgery the news about the two million cut in circulation at Reader's Digest and the plan to sell the back cover of the magazine to advertisers sent me back to the early years of Reader's Digest and to the prototype issue and first issue of the magazine.

I do not know whether it is the hospital connection that brought to mind the link with Reader's Digest beginnings (DeWitt Wallace conceived RD on his hospital bed in France) or the recent news, but in any case I went to my magazine collection and pulled out the prototype issue and first issue of RD from Jan. 1920 and Feb. 1922 and guess what? I found the cure for all the ills of Reader's Digest today. DeWitt Wallace referred to RD in his prototype issue as the "Pocket University" which "will enable you to keep yourself educated in the truest sense; it will yield immeasurable satisfaction in giving you a sense of being well-informed and well-read."

Wallace's plan for the magazine was to be "of 100% Educational Interest- no fiction, no advertisements, no articles on purely transient topics and no articles of limited or specialized appeal." His wife Lila defined the nature of such articles in the introduction to the first issue. She described the articles in RD as such: "Each article of enduring value and interest - today, next month, or a year hence; such articles as one talks about and wishes to remember." Elsewhere in that first issue the editors wrote, "No articles of purely momentary interest - every article a worth while one, worthy of a permanent place in the storehouse of the mind."

It is amazing as I flip through the pages of Reader's Digest today I can't but ask, Is there anything left from the magazine concept that the Wallace's created? Is any of the articles "worthy of a permanent place" in the reader's mind? To save Reader's Digest one only needs to go back and read those two issues from the 20s . . . the concept is still applicable today as it was then . . . The problem is not with the circulation or the advertising. Reader's Digest problem is in its content. Be true to that mission statement of the past and bring back that "Pocket University" and you may see the cure of most of the ills of the magazine. John Travolta and the cures of back pain will not do it. Almost all the articles in the July issue of the magazine are of "purely momentary interest." Once more it is the problem with the content and not the medium. I hope someone is reading, because I know the Wallace's are turning in their graves as they see what happened to their beloved magazine. It is not too late to save "The one magazine that is preeminently worth keeping- and binding- for future reference and enjoyment." So says the words of the founders in their prototype issue. They are worth repeating.

RD to Sell Back Cover, Cuts Circ 20%

RD to Sell Back Cover, Cuts Circ 20%
BY Lucia Moses

Reader's Digest has revealed that in addition to whacking its rate base by 2 million to 8 million starting in January, it would for the first time regularly sell ads on its back cover. The back cover has carried various forms of art over the years, including the work of Norman Rockwell-style Cincinnati illustrator C.F. Paine that's appeared in every issue since 2003.

"We have done extensive research in-house," said Eva Dillon, president and group publisher, Reader's Digest, one of a number of outside executives that new RDA CEO and longtime pal Mary Berner brought in following a private equity-led buyout earlier this year. "Readers don't seem to care one way or another. We thought readers would have a strong negative reaction. Once we saw that they didn't, we said, 'Hey, what are we waiting for?'"

The sale of the back cover will coincide with a planned redesign under editor Jackie Leo, and Payne's work will continue to run in the magazine, Dillon said. "He's an incredibly important artist, and his art will be part of the redesign," she said.

The decision will likely be well-received by marketers, as advertisers have long clamored to run ads on the coveted back cover position. "A lot of our longstanding advertisers have been asking every year," Dillon said. "There will definitely be a premium on it because so many people want it."

The sweeping changes at the Readers Digest Association flagship are among others planned by Berner. Having shaken up the executive ranks, she also plans to step up sales across RDA titles and pursue more advertising opportunities around food magazine Taste of Home and its brand extensions (the company doesn't plan to break with practice of not accepting display print ads in the title).

At the future rate base of 8 million, Reader's Digest's guaranteed circ will stand at nearly half the 15-million level it was in 1999, when it began a series of rate base cuts. Indeed, cost of paper, postage, clutter at the newsstand and advertiser demand for more loyal readers have led other giants like Time magazine, TV Guide and Playboy to right-size their rate bases in recent years. A move once pounced on by media buyers as a sign of weakness, a rate base cut is more often applauded as a necessary move that results in higher-quality circulation.

Dillon said the rate base cut at Reader's Digest would save costs while responding to advertiser demand for more loyal circulation. Reader's Digest will whittle the rate base by shifting spending on direct mail to online, which it hopes to build on what is today a small subscription source and attract younger readers in the process.

"This is a very broad magazine for 35-plus," Dillon said. "We know that we need to shift some of our focus to younger readers."

The magazine, the second-biggest by circulation after AARP the Magazine, per the Audit Bureau of Circulations, has tried to court younger readers over the years, but boomers remain its sweet spot. Median adult reader age stands at 51.7, per the Spring MRI.

BBC news magazine launch pencilled in for autumn

BBC news magazine launch pencilled in for autumn
By Colin Crummy

BBC Magazines' much anticipated current affairs weekly Newsbrief is to launch this autumn with a subscription drive targeting international and women readers.

The title has been worked out in close co-operation with BBC News and has been through extensive consumer research, which revealed the current affairs title found favour with 30-something mothers, a demographic much sought-after by magazine publishers.

BBC Magazines has previously expressed its keenness to move into the global arena and Newsbrief is expected to have a subscription drive in the USA.

Though Dennis Publishing recently sold a number of its US titles, it retained its weekly news digest The Week, which is likely to reach a new circulation high of 500,000 in its next audit.

Felix Dennis this week reiterated his commitment to the title and to Dennis' ambitions in America. In a letter to Press Gazette the company chairman said that Dennis's US arm will be launching or acquiring further media in the future.

According to insiders, the new BBC magazine will be more than just a digest of other BBC content and will take a more analytical look at weekly current affairs. It is also like to benefit from the ability to draw on high profile BBC News names like John Simpson for commentary.

Originally dubbed Project Phoenix, the working title of Newsbrief is intended describe the way the mag briefs the reader, in a digestible fashion.

It is understood Newsbrief will be under the same editorial control as BBC News and there has been an extensive period of consultation with the broadcasting division to ensure it maintains and complies with its editorial standards.

Head of press for BBC Magazines Philip Fleming refused to comment on any of the details of Newsbrief but said that the project had not yet been fully approved. The company is planning a number of launches scheduled for autumn 2007. Its Bristol division is to launch Countryfile in September, linked to the TV programme.

In the Night Garden, a children's title based on the popular Cbeebies television programme is also to launch.

Time Warner May Split Off Cable, AOL Units, Pali Says

Time Warner May Split Off Cable, AOL Units, Pali Says
By Gillian Wee

July 16 (Bloomberg) -- Time Warner Inc., the world's biggest media company, may split off or sell more units and buy back additional shares, pushing the stock price to $25, according to a report today by Pali Capital Inc.

Richard Greenfield, a New York-based analyst at Pali, raised his rating on the shares to ``buy'' from ``neutral,'' saying Time Warner may sell its cable unit, and spin off or sell the AOL Internet division.

Time Warner's board should act over the next year to reshape the company, including disposing of its publishing unit, Time Inc., Greenfield wrote. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn last year unsuccessfully pressured the company to break itself up. He managed to push Time Warner to repurchase more stock and pledge to cut costs by $1 billion over two years.

``The synergy between Time Warner's divisions is limited at best; sometimes even creating the risk to destroying value at one division to help another,'' Greenfield wrote. ``Its complexity has, without doubt, become a liability in the public market.''

Keith Cocozza, a Time Warner spokesman, didn't have an immediate comment.

Shares of New York-based Time Warner rose 12 cents to $20.98 at 12:35 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have fallen 4.2 percent this year before today.

Share Buyback

Time Warner may discuss the future of the units at a board meeting later this month, Greenfield wrote. The company may buy back at least $14 billion of stock in the next 18 months, he said.

Since defeating Icahn's campaign in February last year, Parsons has cut jobs and agreed to sell more than $4 billion of assets, including AOL Web access units in Europe. Parsons also gave in to Icahn's demand to boost a share repurchase plan to $20 billion. That plan was completed in May.

What Time Warner decides to do with cable and AOL might also be decided by Jeff Bewkes, who may be planning to simplify the company, Greenfield said. Bewkes was effectively named heir apparent after being promoted to president by Chief Executive Officer Richard Parsons in January. Parsons, whose contract expires in May 2008, said last month he will decide over the next year or two when to step down.

Even though Time Warner Cable is a separate public company, the fact that it's 86 percent-owned by Time Warner prevents it from focusing on businesses that would compete with its parent, such as a major Internet portal strategy or national cable networks, Greenfield said.

AOL is also faltering, as its target audience will continue to shrink and it hasn't offered innovative new products, Greenfield said.

Parsons, in an interview last week, said it will take two more quarters for AOL to turn around, as its user base is going up for the first time in five years. Time Warner also wants to be part of the consolidation in the cable industry, and such acquisitions depend on the families that control Cablevision Systems Corp. and Cox Communications Inc. he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gillian Wee in New York at .

Last Updated: July 16, 2007 12:36 EDT

Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice

Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice
With the United States military fighting a protracted war in Iraq and a wide-open presidential campaign already making headlines daily, Americans of all ages are interested in current affairs and are consuming news like never before, right?

Not so, especially not teenagers and young adults, according to a report released last week by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

In fact, most teenagers and adults 30 and younger are not following the news closely at all, the report, titled "Young People and News," concluded. It is based on a national sample of 1,800 Americans that included teenagers, young adults aged 18 to 30 and older adults.

Thomas Patterson, a professor of government and the press at Harvard who conducted the survey, said that young people today do not make an appointment with news every day the way older adults do.

"We found that most young adults don't have an ingrained news habit," he said. "Most children today, when watching television, are not watching the same TV set that their parents are watching. So even if their parents are watching the news every day, the children are likely to be in another room watching something else and aren't acquiring the news habit."

The survey went a step further to see what the respondents meant when they said that they did pay attention to the news. Those results, especially among the younger groups, were equally discouraging for the news industry, said Alex S. Jones, the director of the Shorenstein Center.

"What we found is that what people mean when they say they are engaged in the news has much more of a glancing, superficial basis than anything we would have hoped," he said. "Young people seemed to think that just listening to the radio in the background was listening to the news."

The results were especially grim for newspapers. Only 16 percent of the young adults surveyed aged 18 to 30 said that they read a newspaper every day and 9 percent of teenagers said that they did. That compared with 35 percent of adults over 30. Furthermore, despite the popular belief that young people are flocking to the Internet, the survey found that teenagers and young adults were twice as likely to get daily news from television than from the Web.

Despite this, some in the industry say the situation is not hopeless.

Jane Hirt, the editor of RedEye, a free daily newspaper that is published by The Chicago Tribune specifically for young, urban professionals, said that her publication had succeeded and had even expanded its audience by adopting some of the lessons learned from television and the Internet and by experimenting with ways to tell stories.

"We may have a short face-off with two sides of an issue," she said. "We believe it is a way of delivering content in a form like younger people are used to getting on the Internet."

She said that she reminds her editors that their younger readers are used to customizing their lives. "They pick and choose what they want on their iPods, what to TiVo and watch whenever they want, and so forth," she said. "Therefore, because we are targeting that niche audience, we make story selections to really connect with them, and we can do that because we are thinking about them all day."

Still, her publication and newspapers in general may be facing an uphill battle.

"My sense is that newspapers in their traditional form are not going to be able to recapture this audience," said Professor Patterson. "What's happened over time is that we have become more of a viewing nation than a reading nation, and the Internet is a little of both. My sense is that, like it or not, the future of news is going to be in the electronic media, but we don't really know what that form is going to look like."

Regional Magazine Survey:

Regional Magazine Survey:

The survey sample of 737 was selected by Red 7 Media from all Folio: subscribers who classified their company's primary focus as city/regional publishing on the Folio: subscription form. Data was collected via mail survey by Readex Research from February 15 to March 29, 2007. The survey was closed for tabulation with 246 usable responses-a 33% response rate. To ensure representation of the audience of interest, results have been filtered to include only those who indicated on the survey their organizations are involved in city/regional publishing. The margin of error for percentages based on these 235 respondents is ±5.3% at the 95% confidence level.

City and regional magazines remain one of the last havens of print publishing. While both b-to-b and mainstream consumer publishers either grapple with or capitalize on the encroachment of online into their markets, city and regional publishers for the most part remain healthy, and are getting wealthier.
Folio:'s second annual City and Regional Publishing Survey finds a group that continues to flourish-from large urban markets to suburbs and small towns-even as competition grows rapidly and even though they are largely focused in print. However, there is increasingly a concern that they may be getting too comfortable in traditional print roles and are not yet cashing in on the benefits of ancillary products and online.

Sizing the Market
The city and regional market has enjoyed explosive growth over the last five years. The majority of city and regional publishers remain single-title publishers, with 45 percent of respondents saying they publish one magazine, identical to last year's survey. However 23 percent of respondents say this year they publish two titles, compared to 19 percent in 2006, while 12 percent in this year's survey publish between four and six titles, up from 10 percent in 2006 [Table 1, opposite page].

Circulation varies widely but remains small compared to mass market and even many enthusiast publications. Among publishers whose smallest title has a mean circulation of 36,600, 34 percent reported circulation between 20,000 and 39,999. Twenty-one percent said their smallest titles fall into the 10,000 to 19,999 range. Of the group whose mean circulation for their largest title is 64,900, 28 percent say their largest-circulation title falls into the 20,000 to 39,999 range, which may be a direct correlation to the number of publishers that only produce one title. Twenty-one percent of respondents say their smallest title is in the 10,000 to 19,999 range, while 16 percent say their largest title has between 40,000 and 60,000 readers. Twelve percent say their smallest title has less than 10,000 readers, and six percent say their largest title has fewer than 10,000 readers. Six percent of respondents say their smallest title has circulation of 100,000, while 14 percent say their largest title is 100,000 or more [Tables 2A and 2B].

Paid circulation (including newsstand sales) still accounts for the majority of city and regional circulation, while "controlled, not requested" exceeds the number of "controlled requested" copies. Twenty-two percent of respondents described "controlled not requested" circ as the major source of circulation, compared to 14 percent who described "controlled requested" as their circulation model [Table 3]. However, "controlled requested" has gained ground since last year's survey, when only 9 percent of respondents said it accounted for significant distribution of their magazines.

Micro-targeting within a jurisdiction is key for many publications, whether trying to reach an audience on the newsstand, via subscription or through free-distribution models. Emmis Communications shifted the focus of Los Angeles from the West Side of that city after acquiring the magazine from Disney six years ago to reflect "affluencers" moving to other areas in search of better schools. South Florida Adventures is trying to carve a niche in the bloated Florida regional magazine market by concentrating on free distribution of its outdoor sports magazine through 170 gyms, dive shops, kayak outfitters and similar locations.

Revenue Mix
Twenty-five percent of respondents say that their company will generate between $1 million and $2.9 million in 2007 [Table 5A, page 58]. Ten percent said organizational revenue will be in the $3 million to $4.9 million range, while another 10 percent anticipate between $250,000 and $499,000 in 2007 revenue. Among companies with mean revenues of $4.49 million, 8 percent say they expect between $5 million and $9.9 million; another 8 percent anticipate between $10 million and $24.9 million; and 5 percent expect $25 million or more. Overall, the mean revenue for all respondents is $4.5 million.

When it comes to publication revenue, 12 percent of publishers expect revenue from their largest publication to be under $100,000 in 2007, while 10 percent anticipate $100,000 to $249,000; another 10 percent expect between $250,000 and $499,000 in revenue this year; another 10 percent between $750,000 an $999,000, and 10 percent between $1 million and $2.9 million [Table 5B, page 58].

Revenue continues to grow rapidly. The majority of respondents [48 percent] said the top line has increased over the last three years, while 14 percent say it has stayed about the same [Table 4, page 58]. Just two percent of respondents say revenue has dropped over the last three years, while 23 percent say their publication didn't even exist three years ago, indicating the large numbers of startups that have filled the city and regional market recently.

While much of the industry is seeing a tipping point in the direction of online revenue (in some cases, events, data and online are even equaling or exceeding print revenue), the city and regional market remains a solid bastion for print, despite aggressive online efforts from city publishers such as DLG Media, publisher of Philadelphia Style and DC Style. More than 86 percent of respondents said that print was their largest revenue stream, down slightly from 87.2 percent in 2004 and 87.1 percent in 2005 [Table 12B].

Paid subscriptions accounted for 8.9 percent of revenue in 2006, down from 9.7 percent in 2004. E-media inched up slightly to 1.9 percent in 2006, up from 1.5 percent in 2005.

Although a large majority of both large and small companies [82 percent of publishers with less than $5 million and 58 percent of those with more than $5 million in annual revenue] haven't launched a spin-off, those that have are reaping the benefits. Sixteen percent said their spin-off generates between $250,000 and $499,000 per year, while another 16 percent say it generates between $100,000 and $249,000.

When Emmis bought Los Angeles six years ago, the magazine generated about $11 million per year. Today it generates about $20 million, according to publisher Alan Klein. Part of what's driving the growth is custom publishing, which generates about 8 percent of the magazine's total ad revenue. Projects include a wedding magazine, a magazine for the city of Beverly Hills, and even partnerships with other publishers that could be considered competitive. Los Angeles recently wrapped a joint summer movie preview with The Hollywood Reporter. "We've developed some custom projects and we're going to continue to expand on that because the margins are good and we're able to leverage relationships we have with our core brand in putting these together," says Klein.

On the other hand, Berkshire Living, a 25,000-circ title, may not be in crowded market, but it still has two spin-offs including Berkshires Business Quarterly (which launches in October) and annual Berkshire Living Home & Garden. "The margins are very high on these types of spin-offs and you're expanding your group of advertisers and getting more from your current advertisers," says publisher Michael Zivyak.

While 26 percent of respondents say they've had no competitors launch in the last five years, 28 percent say they've seen three-to-five new competitors come into their market. [Table 8]

City and regional magazines remain entrepreneurial efforts for the most part. Most respondents say they launched with less than $25,000, while 18 percent launched with between $50,000 and $99,999. Six percent launched with $1 million or more [Table 7].

South Florida Adventures launched with under $100,000 in 2005 and broke even with its June/July 2006 issue. "For our first anniversary issue we made maybe a few hundred in profit," says editor and publisher David Raterman. "We didn't even have an office, I worked out of my home. As far as national advertisers, it's tough. Media buyers want a high circ and they want you to be audited, even if you're a perfect target for them. The buyers do not fully understand where we fit into the market."