Thursday, August 02, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: The Secret Adobe Plan

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: The Secret Adobe Plan

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World
Abuse of power? It was Napoleon who said "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." This was an obvious blunder that seemed brilliant at the time to myopic short-term focused executives obsessed with monetizing free content and increasing revenues. They had no understanding that all decisions have costs in other departments for which others have responsibility, who now have to clean up the debris. Adobe, and the publishing business, have much in common, it seems.
(Submitted by an Industry Pundit, fellow curmudgeon and Friend)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World
Bob, I'm not replying in any official capacity (so please don't use my name) but this is how is see the Adobe/FedEx/Kinko's deal"

It's supply chain aggregation, pure and simple, and if the "market" finds it valuable, then it will become best practice. This isn't any different than when the PDF file format and the internet rendered a printer's proximity to his customer irrelevant. Those whose needs can be met by the equipment that Kinko's has, and who are satisfied with the price, delivery and service will enjoy the ease of use provided by Adobe. Many people complain about that other giant company, WalMart, "killing the local shopkeeper", but it is undeniably convenient to be able to get toothpaste, fishing lures, lawn fertilizer and a gallon of milk in one place. That's free market capitalism, baby! The system, as designed, is working. There are only two things to stop this sort of economic "efficiency" - large numbers of customer's who decide it isn't valuable to them for reasons of their own, or a government mandate to reign in unbridled growth of multi-national corporations in favor of smaller concerns.

The real question is; do we want to continue as a free market capitalist society, unfettered by geo-political boundaries made possible by technology, or do we want to put some constraints on just how big a corporation can become by extending preference to smaller concerns? As far as I can see, Adobe and FedEx have made a smart business combination, one that appears to work for their customers, and the only thing that will unhook it is action by the FTC to declare it in restraint of free trade.
Submitted by a Publishing Vendor)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World
I think this is a big mistake of Adobe's part. I can't buy someone's product if that company is endorsing my competitor.
(Submitted by a Printer)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World
While in total agreement with your disapproval of the AdobeFedExKinko collusion in the practice of one-click restraint of trade, I take exception to your hypothetical extension in which you chose to set up RR Donnelley as another potential villain. Knowing how few people read well, you must realize that 25% of your audience now believes it is true, and they are outraged that RRD would behave in such an un-sportsmanlike manner. Being the largest, and best printing company on the planet might make us a tempting target but it does not make us bad people.
(Submitted by a Printer)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World
Bob, This is particularly disturbing to anyone who has had the misfortune on dealing with a local Kinko's on printing something as simple as a one page resume - nightmare - non skilled, non verbal in the English language (not trying to be zenophobic) - not a great experience. Had a similar - although many times
more painful and in the end expensive experience with Kinko's printing a multi page color document. Unfortunately unsuspecting, unknowing clients will push the "button" and plunge themselves into the depths
of printing hell.
(Submitted by a Senior Publishing Consultant)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World
I think the answer was best put by W.C. Fields: "Never give a sucker an even break." If you have not taken the trouble to shop better options than printing a short run at Kinko's, you were probably going to end up there anyway.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World
. . . On the Adobe Fedex Kinko - a solution could be to offer that as a default (or not) but to offer alternatives - so that based on your geography you could get find a local mom and pop printer and send it to them if you don't want to support the big guys. I think it's very tough but it's an evolution of the digital world - Apple should build in Walgreen printing into iPhoto !
(Submitted by an Internet Publisher)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing WorldI'll bet you dollars to donuts that Adobe backs down on this dumb marketing deal. It is a very stupid move by a smart company.
(Submitted by a Director of Mfg & Dst)

Adobe Makes Decision, To Move Quickly to Resolve Printing Industry Concerns

Adobe Makes Decision, To Move Quickly to Resolve Printing Industry Concerns
Posted by Cary Sherburne on August 1, 2007

Although the official release is not yet out (6 PM Eastern on August 1), Michael Makin, CEO of PIA/GATF was kind enough to contact WhatTheyThink to let us know about the decision Adobe has made relative to the FedEx Kinko's brouhaha. (UPDATE: See Adobe's statement below.) Makin indicates that at the July 17th meeting, he had suggested that the best solution for everyone would be for Adobe to extricate itself from the FedEx Kinko's contract and issue a software update that removes the 'print to FedEx Kinko's' button that has created such a firestorm in the printing industry. "Lo and behold," said Makin, "that is exactly what they are going to do. Adobe will be issuing Version 8.1.1 of Acrobat and Reader that will not contain the FedEx Kinko's button, and Acrobat's auto update will remove the button from any Version 8.1 installations." (See PIA/GATF's official statement)

According to Makin, FedEx Kinko's will be able to distribute Version 8.1 to its customers, and he believes there will be no objection to that approach. The button will not appear in future releases. Makin adds, "Apparently, FedEx has also been very cooperative and magnanimous in their handling of this situation with Adobe. It is a tremendous day for the printing industry, and for independent printers from coast to coast. It signals to PIA/GATF that Adobe is concerned about its relationship with indpenedent printers and does heed the advice of the industry. I give kudos to the CEO of Adobe, who right from the start was sincerely contrite, and to Robin Tobin and Johnny Loiacono for all of their hard work."

Makin believes that the solution is likely to cost Adobe financially, but the move indicates Adobe's belief that the continued support of the industry is worth it. He adds, "It was magnificent, and almost unheard of for a Fortune 500 company to take an action like this so rapidly."

It appears that it will be 8 to 10 weeks before the upgrade is available, which, considering the work that needs to go into preparing, packaging and distributing a new software release of the magnitude of Acrobat, is a very reasonable timeframe.

WhatTheyThink adds its congratulations to Adobe and is delighted the issue has been resolved in a manner that appears to be the best solution for everyone. It remains to be seen what moves Adobe might make in the future., if any, to make it easier for printers to customize Acrobat and Reader for their own customer base and/or to leverage even more strongly its ASN network.

As this story develops tonight and on Thursday, we will add more details including comments from Adobe and others.

Statement sent to WTT from Adobe
Adobe will remove the "Send to FedEx Kinko's" service and functionality, currently available to US customers, in Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat. The versions of Adobe Reader and Acrobat that are scheduled to be released in October will not contain the feature. We are implementing these changes as quickly as we can. However, we need time to write and test the software. Adobe Reader and Acrobat are critical pieces of software for tens of millions of customers and we have to be sure the software we deliver is up to its usual quality.

Adobe originally announced the FedEx Kinko's features on June 6, 2007 and decided to remove them from Adobe Reader and Acrobat following a meeting and getting feedback from print service providers. Moving forward Adobe is setting up a Print Advisory Council to investigate how best to integrate third party print services into Adobe products, as more partners invest in online print infrastructures.

FedEx Kinko's has been exemplary in this process. They understand the reasons behind the decision and the implications to the broader print service provider industry. They have worked diligently with Adobe to craft a resolution. When Adobe ships the new updates to Acrobat and Adobe Reader in October, FedEx Kinko's will begin distributing a version of Adobe Reader, with the "Send to FedEx Kinko's" functionality, directly to its customers. This version will be available only from the FedEx Kinko's website ( or

Adobe's revenue expectations from this functionality were not expected to be material and this change will have little to no impact on Adobe's financial results. Adobe will make no revenue from this new arrangement.

BoSacks Reader's Speak Out: The 51 Best Magazines Ever

BoSacks Reader's Speak Out: The 51 Best Magazines Ever, Dr. Husni, Bad

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
As a lifelong magazine aficionado who still subscribes to somewhere between 6 and 9 titles at any given point in my year, the entire "51 Best" string was a pleasure. Messrs Carter and Hutchinson hold reasonable and well informed points of view, which both of them outlined and defended well. The list that started it all was imperfect, as all lists built on subjective value judgments must be. But it stimulated memory, and initiated thought and discussion, as only successful efforts of this type can do. Well done all around.

Finding Esquire of the 1960's and early 1970's listed first reinforced my own judgment, which is something we all love in a list. There are still a few copies stored in cartons in my garage, and I still peruse them occasionally when supposedly involved in more productive, manual pursuits. I have little to add to the honor roll assembled by the two aforementioned gentlemen. But, depending on how one chooses to define "great," I do have one addition. While it could be called both cause and effect of the general cultural decline we continue to live, High Times from birth to the death of Tom Forcade, was an emblematic magazine and should qualify for a place on the list.

It had a point. It had passion among the staff, who felt we were part of something important and special, and among the readers, who were devoted partners in the endeavor. Hackneyed though it may be, it was the best of times and the worst of times for the culture, the country, and the generation. And High Times embodied that, as no other magazine did or could.
(Submitted by a Printer, lifelong friend and Co-High Times Conspirator)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
Brother Bo, Starting out with Hayes' Esquire was so right-on, carter had me from the start. I agree 100%. Playboy #4 and Mad #6 were also correct, and it was good he had the balls to be honest there, which goes for Wired, too. Spy was great, but his overblown self-praise, taking credit for all modern humor, was obnoxious. Rolling Stone should've been where Interview was, which is probably ten spots too high. New York Mag, and Ramparts good call. Punch probably shoulda been higher.

Once he hits the late thirties, I start to diverge more and more. Lucky? Yech. Etc. Which leads me to the inevitable. Should we have been in the 40's? I thought Ray Gun sucked and Face was a naked emperor. Nonetheless, I'd put Forbes in there and probably a couple others, so the real answer is I think we might've been in the hi-50's to 60's. Was TV Guide in there? Hot Rod, Regardie's. Ad Age from around 74-82 is top 50 Argosy. There should be a great craft magazine or so and, yes, biased, a great thoroughbred magazine. A pulp mag, What about New Times? Wasn't the early Outside magazine great?
(Submitted by a Publisher, lifelong friend and Co-High Times Conspirator)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
Ahh, another "angles on the head of a pin" article from Bo. At least this one has historical insight, and serves curmudgeons of a certain age. However, time does march along, and no matter how much I may prefer "Hey Jude" remain a top ten song . . .it doesn't.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
This was great-thanks for publishing this and many other interesting stories. Maybe have a guest editor once a month may be interesting. For example Joel's back page article from Quad View's will be a repeat for many but could generate a lot of comments.

Thanks for doing what you do! We all need this.
(Submitted by a Director of Manufacturing Operations)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
Hello Bo . . . I find it hard to believe, as the former COO of Penthouse in the 70's that Penthouse is not near the top of the list. Penthouse has had the largest sale in history on the Newsstands during much of that period, over 4,300,000 copies per issue, and still ranks the highest newsstand sale of any monthly ever produced. And was it one of the best . . . ask the readers who bought during that period!
(Submitted by a Senior Magazine Consultant)

Re: Samir Husni
I am a wholesaler and through my family has been since 1917. I take huge exception to the comments on our learned title counter Dr Husni. With all due respect what does he know of wholesale economics. I am sure that since 1995 every publisher worth his salt has looked at better ways to get to market. The long and the short of it is that the current method is the best.
(Submitted by the President of a Wholesaler)

RE: Mr. Fox buys his Henhouse
Oh my god, does this guy really think "the marketplace will keep Murdock honest"???
I'm thinking George Orwell was only off by about 30 years...say that again around 2014 (if you can).
Submitted by an Unknown Reader)

Re: Abrupt Slowing in Magazine Launches
This sounds like good news to me: a doubling of the success rate means that there are less

"vanity" launches and more people who actually know what the heck they are doing and won't bolt at the first sign of trouble. And I agree with you, Bo; the days of the mega-magazine are numbered, because mega-magazines were never about readers anyway -- they were just about pushing millions of eyeballs in front of mass market advertising. That's more efficiently done these days on the web or maybe by having our cell phones

start spamming us. (Watch for it!) Fewer titles, actually designed and written for readers who recognize their value and are willing to pay for it will be a better industry for all but the most greedy among us. Bravo!
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Bad Ads Go With Bad Cars
For a generation or more (of consumers, that is, not cars) Detroit relied on a version of P.T. Barnum's approach to marketing: You can fool some of the people all of the time. Or: Yes, we build crap but most people don't know any better.

Now that nearly all the premium vehicle brands have plants in the US and their market penetration has outstripped the domestics, most of us have at least ridden in, if not driven, midlevel and better cars from overseas. Thus, as of about decade ago, Detroit could no longer count on ignorance to move the sheetmetal. We now know better.

Goofy slogans from Detroit-Buick's is only the latest-are, along with rebates and other giveaways, another sign of desperation. The slogans really say, "We have to dazzle you with BS because we can't point to anything real." The rebates say, "If we make it cheap enough, you'll buy it even if you hate yourself in the morning."

(For what it's worth: When I was a kid I used to stare at the Morton's slogan. Like "Bridges freeze before roads," it was years and years before I could figure out what the hell "When it rains it pours" meant. Thank you, Morton's, for sticking with it-and not adding "new and improved!" anywhere on the blue canister.)

(Submitted By a Publisher and COO)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever

BoSacks Speaks Out: Peter Hutchinson is a long time reader of this newsletter and has sent in many excellent responses published in the Bosacks Reader's Speak Out. Now he has taken his submissions to the next level, and is hereby granted the title of BoSacks Cub Reporter, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities therein. To the best of my record keeping there are only three other official Bosacks-Cub Reporters.

The note below is a response from yesterday's article "The 51 Best Magazines Ever"
"In time of difficulties, we must not lose sight of our achievements"
Mao Tse-Tung (Chinese statesman, the key figure in China in the 20th century, 1893-1976)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
BY Peter Hutchinson

After I saw the original "51 Best Magazines" article in Good magazine I jotted down the following thoughts. I'm sure this is too long for republication, and I know your other loyal readers will have a few comments of their own, but I thought you might be interested.

It's human nature to believe that products improve as they go along-that the latest version is the state of the art. This may hold true for cars and computers, but it doesn't apply everywhere, and it certainly doesn't apply to magazines. Good magazine's list of the "Best Magazines Ever" does a great job of covering the era of the postwar Baby Boom. But ever means "always, at all times," according to my dictionary. That's more than just 50 or 60 years. And if best encompasses enduring importance and lasting influence, almost every magazine on the list has a couple of ancestors that could run rings around it.

The very first magazine, Edward Cave's Gentleman's Magazine (1731), launched a medium that's lasted more than 275 years. Isn't that enough to earn a spot on the list?

Granted, Cave was a Brit. If we're sticking to this side of the water, there's the first magazine published in America, Andrew Bradford's American Magazine (1741). It couldn't have been easy to get the drop on Benjamin Franklin . . . whose General Magazine (also 1741) doesn't seem to have made the list either.

What about the first American magazine published after the Declaration of Independence, Brackenridge's United States magazine (1779)? New magazine . . . new country . . . sharing the brand name should count for something. Besides, it was a pretty good magazine.

The list includes Portfolio from 1950. Its namesake, Joseph Dennie's Port Folio (1800), lasted a lot longer than three issues, and had a long reach. When Ross launched the New Yorker 125 years later, it bore an uncanny resemblance to Port Folio.

In addition to pushing the creative boundaries of magazine formats, the owners of Brother Jonathan (1839) and the New World (1840) also published America's first paperback books-in other words, invented a whole new branch of the publishing industry. They held to high standards for their content, too, even if they did steal most of it.

The New York Ledger (1850) never ran a single advertisement, but its publisher, Robert Bonner, redefined American advertising in his own promotions. He also produced an astonishingly successful periodical that demonstrated the enormous potential of the U.S. magazine market and inspired dozens, maybe hundreds, of imitators.

No question, Vogue is great. But it's a mere stepchild of the highly influential Godey's Lady's Book (1830). People are still framing the hand-colored illustrations from Godey's. Will anyone be framing pages from the current issue of Vogue 177 years from now?

Another 19th-century women's magazine, the Delineator (1873), was equally revolutionary in its own way. By publishing sewing patterns of the latest fashions, the Delineator brought affordable couture into thousands of U.S. homes. Theodore Dreiser, of all people, was one of its editors.

I'll agree that Highlights is a fixture in every pediatrician's waiting room. But compare it to any issue of St. Nicholas (1873) or the Youth's Companion (1827), and Highlights can't hold a candle.

How the list can include the Atlantic and barely mention Harper's (1850) escapes me. But to leave Harper's Weekly (1857) off the list altogether is just as bad. It was a groundbreaking American icon.

The Little Review and the Paris Review are great literary journals. But they both owe a deep debt to the Dial (1840), founded by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller (and relaunched repeatedly). Speaking of good writing, the North American Review (1815), which undoubtedly influenced Emerson and Fuller, set the bar pretty high-and still does.

Comfort (1888) was the first magazine to reach a circulation of one million, no small achievement . . . and was also the first American magazine to have a four-color cover. That started a trend!

In October, 1893, Munsey's (1889) dropped its price to 10 cents. Competitors like McClure's and Cosmopolitan followed suit almost immediately, quickly building an enormous readership in America's growing middle class. This created a national advertising medium for the many newly-emerging manufacturers of mass-produced, branded goods. At least one historian dates the emergence of American popular culture to Munsey's 1893 price cut. There's a milestone worth adding to the list.

In the early 20th century, Cyrus Curtis and Edward Bok carried the notion of a mass-market, middle-class magazine to new heights with the Ladies' Home Journal (1883). LHJ's influence on American magazine publishing was at least as large as that of the other Curtis magazine on the list, the Saturday Evening Post. And LHJ was the model for equally influential "sister" magazines, like Good Housekeeping, another ground-breaker.

Esquire, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker, made the cut but the Smart Set (1900) didn't. That's like dropping Ruth from the lineup of the '29 Yankees. The Smart Set more or less defined the "smart magazine" of the early 20th century . . . to say nothing of giving H.L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan their start in magazine publishing.

And by the way, the magazine those two went on to found in 1924, the American Mercury, was no slouch either.

McClure's (1893) raked every bit as much muck as Collier's and deserves more than passing recognition. But when it came to innovative, high-caliber journalism, both Scribner's (1870) and the Century (1881) were consistently outstanding.

I'd submit that maintaining paid circulation of 18 million, as Reader's Digest (1922) did through the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, is a feat worthy of mention. Something that gets 18 million people to enjoy reading can't be all bad. Besides, if People or Tiger Beat belong on the list, we can't go all snooty about the Reader's Digest.

The Nation (1865) is America's oldest surviving weekly, and has published writers as diverse as Henry James, Willa Cather, and Albert Einstein. The New Republic (1914) may be its equal in wielding influence disproportionate to size. W. E. B. Dubois and Ralph Ellison are on TNR's long list of famous contributors.

The Nation was launched to promote abolition, but was preceded by William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator (1831). Garrison closed his prospectus by asking readers to "urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest − I will not equivocate − I will not excuse − I will not retreat a single inch − AND I WILL BE HEARD . . . Say what you will about Ramparts-Garrison had a real commitment to radicalism.

Magazines with a business focus have been remarkably influential. Fortune made the list, but it's arguable that predecessors Business Week (1929) and Barron's (1921) had more impact. However, America's first business magazine, Thompson's Bank Note Examiner (1836) is really the publication that made them all possible. It's still being published as the American Banker.

Other professional magazines with outsize influence include a few that focus on the media-Ad Age (1930), for one example. Its forebear, Printer's Ink (1888), just about single-handedly shaped 20th-century advertising. And the difference between Brill's Content and the Columbia Journalism Review (1962), or Editor and Publisher (1901), is the difference between hollow pomposity and authority. Or, perhaps more obviously, between dead and alive.

More than a few paradigm-shifting inventions were chronicled, spread, and advanced by the American business press. The American Rail-Road Journal (1832) is one of the earliest examples of a trade magazine that helped change the world. More recently, you could say the same of Electronics (1930) or Computerworld (1970). In between there have been hundreds of equally influential B-to-B magazines.

One of the most consistently innovative American magazines has been-really!-Farm Journal (1877). From its rejection of patent medicine advertising at the turn of the 20th century to its astonishingly creative use of selective binding in the 1980s, Farm Journal has consistently led the pack . . . sometimes by decades.

In his introduction, Graydon Carter said that successful magazines must have a point. I'd add that they need passion, too. The best magazines reflect and extend the passions of their readers. And the past couple of generations don't have any monopoly on the passions that transform society, as any textbook on the history of journalism demonstrates.

People who work for magazines have a tendency to look forward: to the looming deadlines of the next issue or the challenge of next month's budget goals. But everyone in magazine publishing stands on the shoulders of giants. An occasional pause to look back and honor the men and women who brought us to the present can be rewarding.

Data Reveals 'Net Of Magazine Audience Reach

Data Reveals 'Net Of Magazine Audience Reach
by Joe Mandese

IN A FINDING THAT COULD transform the way advertisers think of the relationship between magazines and the Internet, new research reveals that there is relatively little cannibalization between printed magazines and their Web sites, and that much of their audience is "net," or unduplicated reach. The finding is made possible by a new collaboration of magazine audience researcher Mediamark Research Inc. and online audience researcher Nielsen//NetRatings.

The research, which fuses, or directly integrates the databases of the two companies to create the equivalent of a single-source, is one of an influx of new applications in data integration and so-called fusion, which are transforming the art of media planning and buying (see related story in today's edition). Dubbed Net//MRI, the new product seems to give top billing to NetRatings, but also is an allusion to its result: the "net" audience that is pure to the print and online editions of magazines. What it shows, is that on average, 83% of the visitors of the Web sites of 23 large circulation monthly magazine accessed those magazines' content exclusively online.

The companies did not disclose what percentage of the print editions' audiences accessed the magazine content exclusively in print, but they did say that there was a considerable range among the Web-only percentages of individual magazine titles - from 65% to 96% - highlighting the need for this new form of research.

The data also revealed differing usage patterns and characteristics based on the demographics of users. Male visitors to online magazine sites were more likely than female visitors to read only the online version, though there was relatively little difference between older and younger visitors (see data below).

Business 2.0 gets a Stay of Execution

Business 2.0 gets a Stay of Execution

Everyone was expecting Business 2.0, the Time Inc.-owned tech magazine where -- full disclosure -- I used to work, to shut down this Friday after staffers sent the September issue to the printers. But that is, as of last night, no longer the case. Time Inc. is giving the magazine an eleventh-hour reprieve, in the manner of the governor calling in a pardon just as a sentenced prisoner is being strapped into the electric chair. Top execs at the publisher are now, instead of arranging funeral plans, sorting through a flood of offers to buy the magazine. Here's what's changed -- and why.

Business 2.0, up until late yesterday, was unquestionably in the process of shutting down. Columnists had been told not to bother turning anything in for October. Staffers -- both those whom Time Inc. hoped to retain, and those not on the favored lists -- had been seeking other employment. And a squad of higher-ups at Time Inc. had set travel plans to fly out to California to finish shutting the magazine down.

And now, most of those travel plans have been cancelled. Employees have been asked to stay to work on the October issue, and freelancers have been assigned pieces. And, I can only imagine as the fellow who used to write these things, hurried revisions are being made to a valedictory editor's letter. It's good news of the exceedingly inconvenient kind.

As of last night, Time Inc. execs have decided to enter into some form of due diligence with prospective buyers, and keep the magazine alive while it considers the dozen or so offers it's received. (Want to buy a magazine? It's not too late to throw your hat in the ring: send email to Maurice Edelson, the VP who's running the sale process.)

The question, though, is why? Did social media save the magazine? Perhaps so, in a roundabout way. The Facebook group "I Read Business 2.0 -- and Want to Keep Reading!" numbers more than 2,000 people, but that's hardly enough for Time Inc. honchos, who deal with magazine circulations numbering in the millions, to pay notice. But Facebook, with its early-adopter audience, may have proved an ideal way to get the attention of serious prospective buyers.

Everything's up in the air, of course. Time Inc.'s top brass could decide to refuse the offers. They could proceed with plans to fold some of the staff into Fortune. They could even -- though this seems unlikely -- decide that the buyers have a good idea in wanting to own the magazine, and reconsider holding onto it.

This much is clear, however. Business 2.0 has gone, overnight, from certain death to an uncertain life. It's the kind of back-from-the-brink business-revival story that I used to read all the time. In the pages, naturally, of Business 2.0.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The 51 Best* Magazines Ever
*Smartest, Prettiest, Coolest, Funniest, Most Influential, Most Necessary, Most Important, Most Essential, etc.
Words By Graydon Carter, GOOD magazine
Introduction By Bigshot Editor Graydon Carter

The essential strength of a magazine is its ability to amplify. An idea, or an image, or a story, set within the pages of a magazine and assembled by the right hands, can become the grist of breakfast chatter, dinner-party conversation, or elective body debate around the world. Until recently, with the advent of USA Today and the national editions of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, newspapers were by and large local endeavors. Magazines were national, and as they became international, their power of amplification grew exponentially. A woman photographs a dam. Nothing noteworthy in this, except that the woman is Margaret Bourke-White and the structure is the Fort Peck Dam. A photograph from that shoot appears on the cover of the first issue of Life and becomes one of the most known feats of human engineering in the world. That is amplification.

A magazine-like the smart, charming gazette you hold in your hands, even in this age of electronic everything everywhere, is a marvelous invention. In America, Ben Franklin is credited with conceiving of the first such publication, in 1741. (It was called The General Magazine, and it began a trend that exists to this day-within six months it had closed its doors.) Another essential difference between newspapers and magazines is this: News-papers tell you about the world; magazines tell you about their world-and by association, your world. Writers, photographers, editors, and designers bundle the slice of the world they have chosen to explore and deliver it to you in a singularly affordable, transportable, lendable, replaceable, disposable, recyclable package. You can buy a magazine almost anywhere. Publishers will even deliver it to your door, for less than the cost of going out into the hurried street to find and purchase one.

I admire, or have admired, most of the magazines the editors of GOOD have chosen as milestones or bellwethers-and I don't mean just Spy or Vanity Fair. But I have my own temple of greats. These magazines were original in concept and execution, and in their own ways, either minor or major, helped propel the idea of the magazine to its current state.

I'll start with The Spectator, the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language. A political confection of the essayists Addison and Steele, The Spectator is an excitable, beautifully crafted Oxbridge pulpit for England's Conservative Party, and continues to be a launching pad for political aspiration: In recent times three contributors have gone on to hold cabinet posts.

"Newspapers tell you about the world; magazines tell you about their world."
There is the trio of magazines to emerge from the Henry Luce empire: Time, Fortune, and Life. During the early years of Luce's "American Century," Time compressed the world for its audience of "busy men," Fortune captured for the first time the look and might of U.S. commerce, and Life brought the exuberance and nuance of world events and other lives to its readers. Luce was going to call the magazine "Dime" (for its cover price), but his wife, Clare Boothe Luce-a onetime Vanity Fair editor-convinced him otherwise. (In the play The Philadelphia Story, Philip Barry parodied Luce's Time & Life empire, calling the publishing company in the play Dime and Spy.)

Few magazines capture an era the way The Saturday Evening Post did in the decades before and after the second World War. It succeeded because it took the new values of the American Century and placed them before readers wishing to believe in them. The magazine's reach was immense, as were its resources. During the Depression the Post paid P. G. Wodehouse $90,000 for a three-part serialization of one of his Jeeves books.

The fashion magazine Gazette du Bon Ton, part post-Edwardian fashion curio, part Art Deco masterpiece, lasted a scant 13 years (from 1912 to 1925), but it defined not only salon-age Paris in the years after the Great War, but also the American flapper era of the 1920s.

The New Yorker, a ridiculed fribble catering to New York's smart set when Harold Ross founded it in 1925, found its journalistic footing during World War II, then went on to chronicle postwar New York and its suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s. It hit a long patch of fossilized institutionalism during the next two decades, but continues today as one of the finest vessels for first-rate journalism anywhere.

I could go on. There was Liberty, a general-interest magazine that posted above every article the approximate time it would take the reader to read it. There is The New York Review of Books, which was started up by Robert Silvers and Barbara Epstein during the newspaper strike of 1963, and which today commands the high ground of American intellectualism. There was Esquire during the heady days of the 1960s, when its editor, Harold Hayes, was sending off the most electric writers of the age to capture the era. At Rolling Stone, founder Jann Wenner did the same for the late 1960s and the 1970s.

The single binding aspect of all the magazines subsequently mentioned in this issue, and this will seem obvious, but far too many editors ignore it, is that for a publication to succeed it has to have a point. It can't just come into being because the owner wants to impress his friends. Or because market studies have shown an opening in a certain line of interest. Many of the big magazine companies, such as Time Inc., are run these days not by people who love magazines but by people in search of profit. Great magazines come from the gut and the heart. Take anything that comes out of the Dave Eggers factory, for example-they are unique, irreplaceable, and should be cherished.

Magazines-or, rather, certain magazines-aren't going away anytime soon. They have survived radio, movies, and television. And they have, so far, not perished at the altar of the internet. It will take something not known of today to replace the power of the combination of words and image when, as I have just said, they are aligned by the right hands. Magazines that tell stories in type and pictures will survive the coming electronic revolutions. Magazines that merely deliver information will have to either become stronger and more vital, or drown in the turbulent wakes of change.

GOOD's 51 Best Magazines Ever:
1. Esquire
Under Harold T.P. Hayes (1961-1973)
Esquire had the men's magazine formula backward. An uncommon example of a magazine that sold out first before establishing itself as a literary force, Esquire was launched in 1933 as an early juggs-and-journalism rag (illustrated of course, not photographed), but its most important period began in 1961. Under the leadership of new editor Hayes, the magazine's pages got bigger, future celebrities Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe ushered in New Journal-ism, and design titan George Lois produced the most iconic magazine covers ever. Esquire captured last century's most dynamic decade, visually and literarily altering the way Americans thought about their changing country. Sonny Liston as black Santa Claus? The unsuccessful quest to interview Sinatra? Anti-Vietnam-War Muhammad Ali as St. Sebastian? We rest our case.

2. The New Yorker
A rare cultural touchstone both relevant and revered nearly a century after its inception in 1925, The New Yorker has remained a beacon of intellectual clarity and incisive reporting to over-educated bourgeoisie far beyond the borders of Manhattan. With a design that has changed only imperceptibly over the decades (except for earth-shattering changes under mid-1990s editor Tina Brown,who allowed-gasp!-color and-the horror!-photographs), all that's different at the magazine are the stories it covers. The New Yorker today is just as willing to publish a barely illustrated, three-part, 30,000-word jeremiad on climate change as founding editor Harold Ross was happy to devote an entire issue to one article on the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing. This is not to mention the fiction, humor, poetry, criticism, and cartoons-all parts of a consistently brilliant editorial vision.

3. Life
Before cable TV and the internet, there was Life. Publishing giant Henry Luce (Life, Fortune, Time) helped fuel Americans' natural curiosity by turning a then-failing general-interest magazine into a glossy weekly with 50 pages of pictures (by photographers such as Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White) and captions (written precisely to fit in neatly justified blocks) in every issue. For 36 years, Life showed us the world-for pennies a week.

4. Playboy
It would be tough to overstate the greatness of a magazine that had Marilyn Monroe as its first centerfold, and Kerouac, Steinbeck, and Wodehouse on call by its fifth anniversary. Launched in 1953 by the grotto-dwelling, robe-wearing Playboy himself, by the 1960s its table of contents was a veritable who's-who of the best writers of the day and their most compelling subjects. While the magazine has lost its footing as the culturally relevant read for men, its signature "Playboy Interviews" still deliver the kind of no-holds-barred ranting and raving that made it famous. All that, and we haven't even mentioned the naked girls.

5. The New York Times Magazine
Since Sept. 6, 1896, The New York Times Magazine has without fanfare done what it does best: publish smart, populist stories that no one else will touch. Never sold on newsstands, it is to this day perfectly positioned to uphold a sacred but troubled tenet of the journalist's code: reporting news that matters to the world, instead of news that matters to circulation managers and newsstand consultants. This same freedom spills over to the design-minimalist, original, and completely refreshing.

6. Mad
Post comic book, before the death of founder William Gaines (1955-1992)
Mad was the skeptical wise guy. Ever ready to pounce on the illogical, hypocritical, self-serious and ludicrous, it was also essentially celebratory: to accurately parody something, you ultimately have to love it. Mad transposed onto the printed page the anarchic humor of the Marx Brothers and Looney Tunes, parodying comics, radio serials, movies, advertising, and the entire range of American pop culture. Nowadays, it's part of the oxygen we breathe; and Mel Brooks, Saturday Night Live, and The Simpsons would be unthinkable without it.

7. Spy
Until it was sold to fun-sponge Jean Pigozzi (1986-1991)
With the exception of knock- knock jokes, most of what you find funny today probably came from these pages. In typical Spy fashion, that might not be exactly true, but it's certainly close enough, and the well-informed post-ironic humor behind everything from The Daily Show to Gawker owes more than a little debt to Spy and its founding editors Kurt Andersen and Graydon Carter (see intro; 31). The design was pitch-perfect, the stories of office hijinks are publishing-world legends, and its impact on the landscape of American culture is immeasurable.

8. Wired
Early years until Condé Nast buyout (1993-1998)
Pages oozing with retina-burning inks and startling layouts broadcast a vision of the future that was both utopian and tangible. Wired was able to bridge the cultural divide between geeks and the rest of us because they saw that in our democratic digital tomorrow, we were all geeks. They let us in on the secret that technology wasn't news, but how it affected our lives was. But Condé Nast giveth (see 2; 31; 45) and Condé Nast taketh away: Its 1998 purchase gradually sapped the infectious energy that so characterized Wired's early years. Still, it's rare to find something as perfect to its cultural moment; both a mirror and a lens, a tribute and a battle hymn. What's next, indeed.

9. Andy Warhol's Interview
Until Warhol's death (1969-1988)
When an era's biggest celebrity/artist/pop-culture icon decides to start a magazine about celebrities, art, and pop culture (though mostly celebrities), it's bound to be interesting-if all you care about is interviews with famous people and their pretty pictures, that is. It turned out Warhol was onto something, as he often was, and even way ahead of the curve. Should you be tracing the origins of our present celebrity worshiping culture, this isn't a bad place to start.

10. Colors
The first 13 issues, under Tibor Kalman (1991-1996)
Like the screaming and still-bloody newborn that appeared on its first cover, Colors popped wildly onto the scene in 1991. It was an exuberant, often shocking magazine that fearlessly mirrored the world-in all its peculiarity, fantastic injustice, and rampant possibility. The brainchild of feather-ruffling photographer Oliviero Toscani and designer/big thinker/wildman Kalman, Colors was wholly underwritten by Luciano Benetton (and his clothing company), which kept it nicely free of common media constraints. Originally published from New York, an international staff put out front-to-back-themed issues in five bilingual editions, each one packed with in-your-face photography that could communicate to anybody, anywhere. From its conspicuous start, Colors challenged all sorts of expectations, including what a magazine could be.

11. Rolling Stone
Before the move to New York (1967-1976)
Rolling Stone, during its 1970s heyday, left a blank space on its letters page so that aspiring contributors could write a record review and send it to the editors in the hopes of being published. What's more amazing, this is how editor Jann Wenner found Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus. Before becoming disturbingly un-cutting-edge, Rolling Stone compiled the zeitgeist of a musical revolution. Also try Creem

12. National Geographic
Founded nine months after the eponymous society in 1888, and framed in its instantly recognizable yellow, the magazine didn't publish photos as covers until 1959. Whereas it initially charted and shot unknown civilizations, it has now become a visual catalog of civilizations in decay, and is still the benchmark for global photojournalism.

13. Collier's Weekly
Reporters for Collier's, founded in 1888, were some of the first to get down in the muck and start raking. Its influence was vast-Congress passed important laws based on evidence printed in the magazine, including a 12-parter on unregulated medicines and a pre-The Jungle essay on slaughterhouses by Upton Sinclair. Also try McClure's

14. New York
The model for pretty much every regional magazine since, New York (previously the Sunday supplement to the New York Herald Tribune) was founded by editor Clay Felker and designer Milton Glaser. They curated a unique blend of local politics, gossip, national news, and lifestyle features-until they were forced out by Rupert Murdoch, who bought New York in a 1976 hostile takeover.

15. Atlantic Monthly
Founded by Emerson and Longfellow in 1857, The Atlantic was the Boston Brahmin answer to overly intellectual magazines from New York (until a recent move to D.C. stole its identity). Throughout its 150-year history, The Atlantic has continued to be both sophisticated and deliberate, while only barely dumbing things down for the increasingly culturally illiterate masses. Also try Harper's

16. Ebony
Often called the Life of black America, Ebony was founded by John H. Johnson in 1945 with a $500 loan, borrowed against his mom's furniture. By the time Johnson died last year, his magazine had spawned a publishing empire, the first, and for a long time, only black-owned one in the country.

17. Details
Original incarnation, pre-Condé Nast (1982-1988)
Launched in 1982 under the legendary Annie Flanders, Details was the ultimate insider look at New York's downtown cool. It knew how to dress, what music to listen to and, most importantly, where to party. It went on to have countless identity crises, and no longer comes even close to downtown cool. Also try Index

18. Ramparts
The most left-wing magazine on our list.
Famous for its radical 1960s muckraking, Ramparts broke the story on the CIA infiltration of college campuses during the Vietnam War, published the diaries of Che Guevara, and attracted some of the left's brightest stars. Rolling Stone's Wenner got his start there; so, too, did Mother Jones founder Adam Hochschild.

19. Might
More than the start of founding editor Dave Eggers' career, Might (1993-1997) was the definitive expression of Clinton-era/internet-boom post-college confusion. Admittedly and ambivalently entangled with pop culture, Might was nonetheless the exceptional youth magazine that refused to pretend the latest CDs, books, movies, and TV shows were the most important things in life. Also try Vice

20. Portfolio
Created by art director/ editor Alexey Brodovitch (of Harper's Bazaar) and editor/art director Frank Zachary (of Holiday and Town & Country), Portfolio only existed for three issues in 1950 and 1951-but its integration of form and content is still inspiring over half a century later. Brodovitch exploited his medium to its fullest, using foldouts, die-cuts, and other printing tricks to feature the work of artists and designers like Charles Eames, Paul Rand, Saul Steinberg, and many others. Also try Artforum

21. National Lampoon
From its founding through its best-selling issue (1970-1974)
Started in 1970 by Harvard Lampoon alumni, National Lampoon obliterated the idea that a college degree made you a grown-up. Deeply profane and juvenile, it launched the careers of Michael O'Donoghue and director John Hughes; spawned a syndicated radio program that featured Chevy Chase, John Belushi and Bill Murray, and spun off a series of movies that began with Animal House. Also try Army Man

22. Wallpaper
Founded by former journalist Tyler Brûlé, Wallpaper (like a lot of the magazines in this list) showed up in the right place at the right time. At the height of the dotcom boom, Wallpaper talked about "the stuff that surrounds you" to a gener-ation hungry for soft-core design pornography. Brûlé sold out to Time Warner in 1997, but the flavor of the magazine didn't change that much until he left in 2002.

23. Cosmopolitan
Under editor Helen Gurley Brown (1965-1997)
Launched in 1886 and later bought by William Randolph Hearst, Cosmopolitan already had a million-plus circulation by the 1930s. But it was Brown, who in 1965 single-handedly reinvented the magazine (and the genre) by giving ladies something to talk about other than falsies, pot roast, and marrying a lawyer: casual sex. Also try GQ

24. Highlights
With a stranglehold on the dentist waiting-room market, Highlights has been entertaining (and subtly educating) the pediatric-fluoride set since 1946. From the vaguely preachy "Goofus and Gallant" to the awesomely interactive back covers (nope, that hammer doesn't belong in the tree), Highlights hasn't missed a beat in half a century. Also try Dynamite, Nickelodeon Magazine

25. Sassy
The best teen magazine on our list.
Until it moved from LA (1987-1994) Rewriting the rules of teen magazines, Sassy addressed its readers in a smart, sarcastic voice. Its frank coverage of sex, drugs, and politics, and its support of indie music and fashion earned everlasting devotion from its fans and the ire of conservative groups who pressured Sassy's advertisers, resulting in its demise. Also try Dirt

26. The Saturday Evening Post
It wasn't until 95 years after The Saturday Evening Post's 1821 launch as a weekly magazine of current events and popular fiction that its then-editor met a 22-year-old artist named Norman Rockwell. After running his first cover illustration in 1916, Rockwell churned out American classics for the SEP on a weekly basis. Also try Newsweek, Time

27. The Face
Though ostensibly a music magazine, The Face realized that cool tunes didn't matter unless everyone looked good. With the innovative marriage of fashion and music, "the best dressed magazine" quickly became the arbiter of style and cool in 1980s England. Also try i-D

28. Sports Illustrated
This ur-sporting tome brought joy and titillation through that unique magazine innovation: the football-phone giveaway in the 1980s. A golden age under Frenchman André Laguerre (1960-1974) saw the rise of serious reportage that baptized a generation of sports writers as legitimate cultural players. Also: Swimsuit Edition-a pivotal moment in the lives of young men everywhere.

29. Eros
The most controversial magazine on our list.
Ralph Ginzburg was the first American publisher ever to go to jail over the content of a magazine-this one. A gender-neutral quarterly devoted to intelligent eroticism, Eros helped spark the sexual revolution. Four issues were published in 1962 before Ginzburg was indicted for "distributing obscene literature." Also try Hustler

30. Fuck You/ A Magazine of the Arts
"I'll print anything" was the motto of founder Ed Sanders, but Fuck You mostly printed work from famous Beat writers. A proto-'zine (it was printed on a mimeograph machine in Sanders' basement, starting in 1962) Fuck You was an inspiration to countless other out-of-the-mainstream underground publications.

31. Vanity Fair
If culture is the collection of stories we tell about ourselves, Vanity Fair might just be our greatest raconteur. Its contributor roster since its founding reads like a social register of talent (both words and pictures), and the 1980s revival at Condé Nast ushered in a renewed time of plenty: increased circulation, exclusive stories, and unparalleled visibility.

32. The Whole Earth Catalog
Original incarnation (1968-1972)
A bible for the counterculture proto-dork (read: the future billionaires club of northern California), WEC stuffed every oversize page with cheek-puckering idealism for purchase-think Buckminster Fuller manifestos and folk-style autoharps. Between the lines was the implicit power of centralized, comprehensive information-as Steve Jobs once said: "Like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google."

33. Fortune
Until the death of founding editor Henry Luce (1930-1967)
It was a different era when a great financial publication might also be one of the most beautiful. Launched just months after Black Tuesday, the oversize Fortune came with an exorbitant $1 cover price (most other magazines sold for pennies), justifying its cost with stunning graphic covers followed by hundreds of luscious pages brimming with business information and beautiful photography. Also try: Fast Company, Inc.

34. People
A 1974 spin-off of Time's "People" section, notably read for its various annual issues of superlatives (most beautiful, best/worst dressed, sexiest), it occupies a unique space in the world of celebrity journalism: It may sit next to tabloids on supermarket shelves, but stars who grace its pages are covered willingly.

35. Ms.
The greatest women's advocate on our list.
Since its launch in 1971, Ms. has consistently informed policy, making it as much a provocateur as a political force. Gloria Steinem made history when, pre-Roe v. Wade, she printed the names of women who admitted to having abortions. It has since broken taboo stories like domestic violence and sweatshop labor-all before the colored ribbons made activism cool. Also try Bitch, Bust

36. Games
Before it was sold (1977-1990) Games' wonderful dreamland of mind-boggling conundrums-for a time edited by the New York Times crossword guru Will Shortz-was the perfect read for anyone whose mind required strenuous workouts. Lest it seem uncool, know that it was owned by Playboy.

37. The Paris Review
Until George Plimpton's death (1953-2003)
The first magazine to publish literature by Adrienne Rich, T.C. Boyle, and Phillip Roth, the New York-based Paris Review is renowned for its virtu, its interviews (Hemingway, Faulkner, Kerouac) and its community: 50 years of literati parties at founding editor-in-chief George Plimpton's East Side apartment. Also try Granta

38. Popular Mechanics
In the golden industrial years (1930s-1950s)
Popular Mechanics was a perfect magazine at the perfect time. As the industrial age matured and science and tech-nology entered people's everyday lives, Popular Mechanics was there to hold hands and calm nerves ("Written so you can understand it," proclaimed every cover). The future never looked so good. Also try Omni, Popular Science, Seed

39. The Little Review
Founded in 1914, this literary journal's list of contributors is eye-popping: Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Marcel Duchamp, Ford Madox Ford, Emma Goldman, Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, and William Carlos Williams. And it wasn't just leftovers: Ulysses was first published in its pages, garnering founder Margaret Anderson a $50 fine for obscenity and an obscure but important place in the history of modern literature.
40. Ray Gun
During the peak of the grunge era (1992-1996)
Founding art director David Carson walked a fine line between typesetting brilliance and visual schizophrenia. Despite its eventual folding in 2000 and the appropriation of its style by mainstream outfits, Ray Gun spent its first few years laps ahead of the curve aesthetically and in its music coverage.
41. Brill's Content
Brill's Content was an inside-the-sausage-factory look at media for people who eat sausages, not those who make them. From 1998 to 2001, watchdog-in-chief Steven Brill demanded more from the press through accountability, transparency, and shame. Content's lasting gift was the awkwardly revolutionary premise that journalism is for consumers, and serving them should be a priority.
42. Domus
Founded and edited by the Milanese architect Gio Ponti (1927-1979), the monthly Domus shone a spotlight on modernist décor and architecture. Domus championed Italian forward-thinkers like Carlo Mollino, and international innovators like Charles and Ray Eames, who guest-edited an issue in 1963.
43. Wet
Maybe the weirdest magazine on this list.
The self-described "magazine of gourmet bathing" existed from 1976 to 1981 as a uniquely Angeleno tangent to New Wave-think Less Than Zero as read by an avant-guard artist. Published in Venice Beach, founder Leonard Koren featured young talents Matt Groening, Matthew Ralston, and April Greiman. Bright, bold, and bizarrely on point.
44. Lucky
Founded in 2000, Lucky is essentially shopping porn, though the "I read it just for the articles" excuse isn't transferable for the simple reason that there aren't any. Makeup brushes, silk camisoles and slingbacks make up the centerfolds-always with price tag and contact number-which helped Lucky mint the "magalog" genre.
45. Vogue
Founded in 1897, Vogue is as renowned to this day for its editrixes as for its fearless trendsetting-though it hasn't been the same since 1971, when they canned the infinitely quotable Diana Vreeland ("People who eat white bread have no dreams," "Pink is the navy blue of India"). The Starbucks of fashion mags, there's still a franchise based in every fashion mecca worldwide.
46. The New England Journal of Medicine
The peer-reviewed medical and surgery quarterly frequently boasts the highest "impact factor" (a measurement the number of times a journal is cited by other articles) of any American medical publication, and occasionally even flirts with casual readability. Also try Nature, Science, Scientific American
47. Architectural Record
Architectural Record chronicled, in simple and elegant design, the blossoming of modern architecture in America, giving space to architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan to publish treatises that changed the field forever.
48. Punch
The longest running satire magazine on our list (1841-1992)
A direct descendant of French satirical publications like Le Caricature and Le Charivari, Punch counted Kingsley Amis, Quentin Crisp, and P.G. Wodehouse among its contributors; perfected what we know as a magazine cartoon (a one-panel gag with a caption but no dialogue); and coined the now-ubiquitous term "cartoon" to describe it-all under the aegis of its glove-puppet mascot, Mr. Punch.
49. Loaded
The perverted done-it-all older brother of the lad mags, the U.K.'s Loaded has, since 1994, outdone its American siblings in terms of nudity, crassness and, we suspect, binge drinking. It also nailed that irreverent I-know-you-are-but-I-am-cooler tone well before Americans started importing British editors to try to replicate it.
50. The Source
Until the start of the burnout (1988-1994)
Started in 1988 as a Harvard radio-show 'zine, it was the first magazine to give frontline coverage to the war on drugs, expose NYPD brutality, and introduce the world to a guy named Biggie Smalls. Its fall from grace was wince-worthy, but it wasn't called the hip hop bible (by its own founders, mind you) for nothing.
51. Tiger Beat
When they fell weak-kneed for Elvis, screamed for John and Paul, fainted for David Cassidy, swooned for Donny Osmond, or melted for Luke and Jason, Tiger Beat was there on the supermarket shelves in all its Technicolor glory, shining like a beacon of hunkdom for the teeny boppers of the day.

Mr. Fox buys his henhouse

Mr. Fox buys his henhouse
By Alan Mutter
I was one of the 60 journalists who quit after Rupert Murdoch bought the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984, turning the paper into something that, as Mike Royko put it, a decent fish wouldn't want to be wrapped in.

So, I understand the fear and loathing that the employees of the Wall Street Journal feel at the prospect of News Corp. owning Dow Jones. But they may be surprised to hear me say that I think Murdoch will act decisively to protect the integrity and quality of the assets he is buying for $5 billion.

Although Murdoch's henchmen made a hasty hash of the Sun-Times with page-one screamers like "Men Can Have Babies, Too," you have to believe that someone willing to shell out five big ones for a trophy like DJ will be far more sensitive and thoughtful than to send in the clowns who pillaged the Sun-Times 23 years ago.

As Murdoch and his team soon learned, the radical remake of the Sun-Times was an embarrassingly poor business decision, proving to be as repugnant to readers and advertisers as it was to the newspaper's staff. Murdoch extricated himself from the situation a few years later, when he sold the paper and plowed the profits, and then some, into the television stations that today are part of the Fox Network.

After suffering through a series of idiosyncratic - and worse - owners, the Sun-Times, happily, has been rehabilitated by the most enlightened management it has seen in two decades. (Disclosure: I am a consultant to the company.)

Notwithstanding the long-ago fiasco at the Sun-Times, Rupert Murdoch didn't build one of the world's largest media companies by habitually making bad decisions.

Quite to the contrary, he typically has a unique business plan for every property in his vast and varied portfolio, shrewdly targeting each to a well-defined audience and advertising niche. That's why the Times of London is staid and stately - and American Idol is not.

"Under Murdoch's ownership, the [London] Times has expanded its staff," reports the Washington Post. "The paper now has about 495 journalists, including the online unit, and 20 foreign bureaus, a number that has doubled in recent years." Impressively, its circulation, which had been stagnant at about 200,000 for decades, now tops 670,000 - a gain unmatched by any American newspaper.

Although the Fox News Channel is a notorious pulpit for neo-con bullies and the New York Post teems with tales of Paris Hilton and Pervy Pete, each exploits large and lucrative market segments that were left wide open by the conventional, just-the-facts-ma'am media. Proofs of their success are readily apparent. The ratings of Fox News are twice as high as those of CNN and the Post's circulation in the six months ended on March 30 gained 7.6% while the industry average fell 2%.

It doesn't follow, however, that Murdoch's skill at turning dross into gold means he will turn the Dow Jones properties into political bludgeons or scandal sheets.

Murdoch is paying a handsome premium to acquire the company to extend its valuable brands around the globe through the print, television and Internet assets he already controls (and intends to buy or build). In so doing, Murdoch would gain access to a hefty share of the premium advertising revenues associated with the media products that serve the most sophisticated and affluent people in the world.

As reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, Murdoch historically hasn't been squeamish about pushing his political and commercial agendas with the senior managers who run his media companies. But I think he will be more circumspect than ever at the DJ properties, because the whole world will be watching - and eagerly documenting any missteps in competing publications and the blogosphere.

At the end of the day, the power of the marketplace will keep Murdoch honest.

The business and financial reporting in the Journal, Barron's and the other DJ brands are rightfully respected as being thorough, dispassionate and insightful (notwithstanding a few wobbles in reporting on the News Corp. overture).

Eroding the credibility of the DJ properties would insult the intelligence of the readers and viewers that News Corp. covets, devaluing the franchises and perverting the premise of this very expensive transaction.

That would be dumb. And Rupert Murdoch isn't dumb.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Abrupt slowing in magazine launches

BoSacks Speaks Out:

I think the author here is jumping to several conclusions with Samir's data.

Yes, new launches have slowed. They have slowed before and they will slow again. These things are normal trends. The peaks and valleys of normal business. Where I do agree is that new launches will, on the most part, be of smaller and smaller circulation bases. Short run niche titles edited for a specific and devoted group will always have a romantic appeal to the new and novice publisher. Hell, it still appeals to me and I know better.

Short run titles will be printed magazines bread and butter. How the distribution models work is a whole other story, but that aside, short run publications, in my opinion is the future of the printed magazine new and old.

Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.

Evan Esar (1899 - 1995), Esar's Comic Dictionary

Abrupt slowing in magazine launches
More than 1,000 new titles were launched in 2005
By Katy Nelson
Media Life Magazine

Magazine launches come in waves, rising and falling with the economy, or that was long the case. Back in 1997, a boom year, 1,065 new titles made their debut. New launches then sank with the ad recession, only to begin rising again as the economy recovered, reaching 1,013 in 2005.

Then something happened.

Last year, new launches slid, reaching only 901, and this year will likely come in further down, perhaps 750 new magazines, predicts Samir Husni, chair of the journalism department at the University of Mississippi, who follows magazine launches.

There has been a fundamental change in the magazine industry. If launching magazines was once all about chasing dreams, it is no longer. There is less romance these days, a lot more cold reality.

There are fewer launches, and even fewer big launches.

Certainly, a significant cause of the shift is the internet, which is taking ever-larger chunks of ad revenue from all forms of traditional media.

But it goes beyond the internet. Magazines have lost some of their glamour among the big-money people who once stepped forth to back important new titles, as the Weinstein brothers, the Hollywood moguls, did for Tina Brown's Talk magazine a few years back.

The industry itself has gone through changes as well, with the major publishing houses becoming increasingly cautious and risk-averse, their bigger concern shoring up existing titles that may be at risk of folding.

"The industry has entered a dark tunnel. The only thing they can see is the train coming," observes Husni.

"The face of the publishing industry has changed," says magazine consultant Martin Walker of Walker Communications. "I think you're going to see fewer entrepreneurial launches and fewer launches by major publishers in general."

So far this year, magazine launches have dropped 38 percent, to 342 titles, compared with 555 launches in the first six months of last year, according to Husni's figures, for the most substantial year-to-year drop since he began tracking magazines in 1978.

Of those 342, 125 are published four or more times per year, compared to 163 magazines for the same period a year ago. For the month of July, Husni expects just 25 new titles to launch, versus 52 in July 2006.

Other factors behind the cutback in launches include consolidation in the number of big publishing houses, notes Walker. Gruner + Jahr retreated from the U.S. market a couple years ago after several troubled years.

But another factor, as both Walker and Husni point out, is the rising cost of a launch, upwards of $10 million or $20 million for a title with a circulation of 100,000 to 150,000. There are also higher postal rates and bigger distribution challenges to contend with.

The high cost of entry is particularly crippling for independent publishers, which makes it that much harder to raise capital, says Walker. "Investors by and large, with good reason, are becoming skeptical about the potential for print."

Rather than go with print titles, more entrepreneurs are simply going online. Says Walker: "They'll launch the equivalent of a magazine on the internet. It's a lot cheaper to do it that way."

But there is one positive note to Husni's latest launch figures. Fewer magazines may be launching, but the ones that are launched stand a better chance of succeeding. The survival rate is now up to 40 percent, he says, up from 18.3 percent in 1996.

Books: Completing the Connection Between the Analog and Digital Worlds Printing

Books: Completing the Connection Between the Analog and Digital Worlds Printing Impressions Magazine
Printing Impressions Magazine

As digital media in the form of portable devices, touch-screens and pervasive wireless networks offer new possibilities for interaction, the traditional book defined by UNESCO, "As a non periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages excluding covers," starts to look rather featureless when compared to electronic versions. But the traditional book has many advantages too - not least the comfort of tradition itself. The BlueBook aims to find a compromise between these two objects, between the digital and the physical.

The BlueBook created by Manolis Kelaidis at the Royal College of Art in London is a traditional book over-printed with conductive ink. This conductive ink creates hyperlinks on the page which, when touched by the reader, activates a processor concealed in the cover of the book. This processor then connects via Bluetooth to a nearby computer, triggering different actions.

Imagine reading a book like the Da Vinci Code and being able to Google the name of one of the pieces of art or societies such as the Knights Templar by touching a word in the book. This was the vision Manolis Kelaidis described at a recent "Tools of Change for Publishing Conference." He described his project to integrate digital content into physical books via circuits printed in conductive ink on the same page as the text. From the description of his session we learn the following:

"Books have always had problems representing animation. Static pictures simply cannot compete with moving images for illustrating moving things. When describing complex technical activities, like bookbinding, video descriptions are invaluable yet so is detailed verbal description which is often more accessible in print than when spoken.

One of the most important aspects of the internet is its capacity for collaboration. From blogs to the wikipedia, from chat forums to project management websites, the internet has enabled productive discussion between complete strangers. With a button at the end of an essay, you can immediately discover and take part in the ongoing internet discussion relating to it.

Emerging markets bring their own problems. When shown languages in a foreign writing system, Mandarin for example, users have difficulty looking up words. To non-natives, characters often look too similar to identify in a traditional printed dictionary and typing them into an on-line dictionary is impossible without the right keyboard. Once buttons are integrated into such books, translations are only a touch away.

Potentially books could be tagged thematically as users read them using the buttons inside. These tags can then be stored on a computer - either for users or libraries. In this way the catalogue is made more sophisticated every time a book is used. Since the books already have a wireless technology built in they will be able to broadcast their location on request, perhaps by even changing colour to help you find them on the shelf.

Much has been made of the death of visuals in selling music. Digital distribution is making physical packaging redundant. If the packing were better able to relate to the electronic media the situation could be quite different. If people could use a book to control music on their computers not only would it present an exciting marketing opportunity but also a far more convenient way of accessing the story behind the music. Imagine a book where every song mentioned could be played by touching the title or track."

Kelaidis concluded, "Books have inherent qualities that make them an irreplaceable medium, even today. They have survived unchanged for centuries and are one of the most familiar and best selling products we know. For a particular type of user experience they simply have not been bettered. Digital media (portable devices, touch-screens, etc.), however, have been offering seductive new possibilities to readers, especially in terms of interactivity."

Manolis Kelaidis is a designer and engineer who likes his books to be made of paper. His recent work looks into the future of the traditional book as an interface to access digital content. He is a lecturer at the Royal College of Art and a Fellow at Imperial College's Tanaka Business School in London.

BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World

BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Adobe Plan to Rule the Printing World

I find this whole Adobe-FedEx discussion just a little disturbing. Perhaps for the less experienced user of software an "Easy Button" is a good idea. In the short of it, Adobe and FedEx-Kinko's have a plan. Into all Adobe Acrobat PDF software is a button at the top that will forward any and all of your documents to Kinko's at the push of a button. Does that sound like a good idea to you?

Is the next step in the Adobe plan for INDESIGN to have a direct link to RR Donnelley? I'm not sure that my friends at Quad Graphics would appreciate that, not to mention all the other publication printers left on the planet.

Hold that thought and think of all the Mom and Pop printers left scrambling to make an honest living. I know that Dr. Joe Webb has the stats about this, but I can tell you having recently spoken to my local printer in the Hudson Valley (Pro-Printers) they are deeply concerned. I say that their concern is with good cause. What do you think? Is this a natural next step in the evolution of printing in a digital world, or an abuse of power?

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968), Strength to Love, 1963

Adobe-FedEx Link Pushes A Hot Button
July 30, 2007; Page B1

Adobe Systems Inc., the maker of Acrobat and Flash software, faces a wave of criticism from printing companies protesting a deal that gives FedEx Kinko's stores a prominent link on Adobe software.

The brouhaha could hurt Adobe's standing with important customers and partners and also throw a wrench into FedEx Corp.'s plans to revitalize Kinko's, the copy-and-print chain it bought in 2004.

At issue is a new button on some Adobe software, released in June, that lets people electronically transfer documents directly to a FedEx Kinko's store to be printed. The button appears on new versions of Adobe's popular Acrobat and Reader software, which display documents in Adobe's PDF format. There are no buttons for competing printers on the products.

The button on the software "is kind of hard to miss when you launch it -- it's right there," says Kim Turk, a manager with Imagers, a family-run printing business in Atlanta. Ms. Turk, who wrote a letter to Adobe last month protesting the move, said her company and others could lose business because of the direct FedEx Kinko's link.

Adobe is important to printing outfits because many of them now get much of their business directly from the Internet and computerized documents, rather than from walk-in customers. "Our members frankly feel betrayed," says Joseph P. Truncale, president and chief executive of the National Association for Printing Leadership, which he says counts about 3,400 printers, designers and graphic-arts companies as members.

Some critics liken the situation to a scaled-down version of the "browser wars" of the 1990s, when a U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit addressed Microsoft Corp.'s tactics in bundling its in-house Web browser with its ubiquitous Windows operating system, an attack on rival Netscape Communications. With Adobe, similarly, it's about "just not having a choice," said Ray Fusco, a vice president with printing and business-communications company RedmondBCMS Inc. in Denville, N.J.

Adobe says it is reviewing the matter and expects to officially respond to the printing industry's concerns on Wednesday. Top company officials, including Chief Executive Bruce Chizen, met with printing-company executives for about two hours at Adobe's headquarters in San Jose, Calif. on July 17 to hear their concerns.

Adobe called the meeting after hearing "some pretty robust feedback" protesting the new feature, said Adobe spokesman Russell Brady. FedEx Kinko's said in a statement Friday that the alliance with Adobe was "established with our customers in mind" and that it "provides a simple printing option for many users of Adobe Reader." FedEx and Adobe didn't reveal any financial terms of their deal.

Adobe declined to make executives available to comment. But on a corporate blog, Adobe Senior Vice President Johnny Loiacono said that at the July 17 meeting Mr. Chizen acknowledged the process for developing the new button feature was "flawed" because Adobe didn't talk to print-industry executives early on to get their ideas and feedback. Mr. Loiacono wrote that Adobe is "doing to do everything possible to find a way to deliver a win-win situation on all sides" and resolve the conflict.

For FedEx, the Adobe deal is the latest and most aggressive move by the Memphis, Tenn., company to resurrect Kinko's, a $2.4 billion acquisition that was criticized by some analysts as too costly and risky for a transportation company with no experience in the retail-printing field.

FedEx, which handles about 6.5 million packages a day, planned to use FedEx Kinko's stores to extend package-delivery services deeper into the retail sector, where small and medium-size companies and walk-in customers pay a premium because they lack high shipping volumes to negotiate discounts. But FedEx company officials have acknowledged they had to first learn the retail business and then begin to restructure the operating model as demand for traditional copying and printing services diminished.

The retail printing market is heavily segmented. Though there are a few other chains, including Kwik Kopy and Sir Speedy, it is dominated by mom-and-pop shops. Kinko's, founded in 1970, rose to prominence as a copy shop for college students, but was already feeling the pinch from dropping demand -- spurred by the rise of personal computers and printers -- when FedEx bought it. In the fiscal year ended May 31, Kinko's revenue declined 2% to $2.04 billion, while FedEx's three other operating units posted increases and overall revenue at the company gained 9%.

The Adobe partnership is part of a new plan to enhance online document services through a digital network that links all FedEx Kinko's stores in an effort to sell office-support services to small businesses and business travelers. FedEx Kinko's has around 1,675 shops around the world, with the bulk of them in the U.S.

The idea is that customers can send their printing orders directly from Adobe software -- without even going to FedEx Kinko's online site -- to any shop in the world. From there, the order can be picked up at the FedEx Kinko's store, or sent further via the FedEx services now at the shop locations.

Analysts say the backlash over the Adobe/FedEx deal is unlikely to affect the financial health of Adobe, which reported that profits jumped 24% to $152.5 million in the second quarter. Still, as it tries to generate revenue from more sophisticated graphics tools and, increasingly, compete with larger software companies like Microsoft, Adobe "needs to be making friends, not creating enemies," said Bill Whyman, an analyst with New York brokerage firm International Strategy and Investment Group.

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Wholesalers, Reader's Digest, and Potter

BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Wholesalers, Reader's Digest, and Potter

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide
It is about time that someone finally put in print what some people have been saying for a long time. Thank You!!!!

It is time that the w/s community realize that they are a delivery service for the magazine industry and that they do a semi good job at that, however when they start analyzing the delivery system this is where they are failing.

Good for you Bo keep up the great job and maybe someone at the w/s level will start listening and doing what you are suggesting.
(Submitted by a Senior Wholesaler)

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide

This is by far the GREATEST article I have read over the past 12 years describing the utter futility of the newsstand single copy industry. The nail was hit directly on the head. Unfortunately the people who should be reading this, will probably dismiss it as pure fluff. What a shame, they still have there heads up their be-hinds.
(Submitted by a new and Unknown Reader)

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide
One of these days Wal-Mart is going to get their way and the publishers will deal with them direct and cut out these folks. Last time I heard, "Wally-World", as we call them here, account for over 25% of newsstand sales, why not deal direct? Save a bunch of money regarding distribution costs and probably knock off 33% of the cover price to the customer, what a concept.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: Wholesalers are not Dying . . . they are Committing Suicide
Bo, thanks for the best, most interesting news delivery system in our business. I never know what you will send out each day, but it is always of interest to me and my career. You have improved my ability to understand this industry ten-fold.

As to the newsstand situation it is part and parcel of the bigger picture of an old and formerly honorable business gone to the dogs. Everyone scrambling to endue another year or two, as the industry changes and the management at best treads water.
(Submitted by an Unknown Reader)

RE: Saving the Magazine Business
Bob, I worked for Reader's Digest for 12 years. The company lost it's editorial way a long time ago. Now that RDA is owned by an investment group, they will do everything and anything to turn a profit. The prior management only knew how to stay the course and siphon off the profits at the detriment of the employees and stockholders.

Sound advice from Mr. Husni, just a couple of decades too late.
(Submitted by a Sr. Director of Production)

Re: Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice
Why? Is it because the "NEWS" is not the news, but editorial. It does not have various opinions and ideas. Objective reporting, factual information. Opposite opinions is reporting. I read numerous newspapers and most come from a specific side. I may be a dying breed. If one of them could really be "fair and balanced" and objective that would be refreshing.

But, the reality of it all is that money runs the news and objective and balanced information is not. No wonder we have a society that allows misinformation and ignorance. No wonder we are in the predicament we're in.
(Submitted by a Senior Print Salesman)

Re: Young Adults Are Giving Newspapers Scant Notice
No surprise here! Why should the under 30's pay attention to the news? When I was under 30, I read three papers every day, and I had a very good reason to pay attention to the news. There was a war on, and my selective service board classification was changed to 1A from 2S the day after college graduation. Why not solve two problems at the same time - the army's inability to meet their recruitment quotas without enlisting stupid, fat felons, and the declining newspaper readership among young people. Bring Back the Draft! As our President, who also does not read newspapers would say, "What, Me Worry?"
(Submitted by a Senior Production Director)

RE: "Why Print Really Could Die":
Hi Bob. I tend to agree with you and I base my findings on my own magazine stack. I used to subscribe to 2 or 3 times the number of magazines I get today. I make up the difference with a variety of e-content offerings including blogs. I subscribe to approximately 200 different RSS feeds that help me keep up with everything, and on a true, real-time basis.
(Submitted by an Unknown Reader)

Re: Magazine's shelf life has no boundaries
National Geographic isn't the only magazine people hoard; over 85% of my readers surveyed keep their issues, too. And back issues (which I reprint when I sell out the original printing) can sell for as much as 50% above the original cover price. If you publish a quality product dedicated to your readers, they will respond with loyalty beyond the norm.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Harry Potter and the Reading Phenomenon
If the Scholastic-sponsored survey is to be believed, and 51 percent of all children didn't read books for fun until Harry Potter came along, your thanks to J.K. Rowling should be echoed by parents throughout the land, since she's doing their work for them. While millions of kids were introduced to the joy of reading by the Potter Buzz, where were their mothers and fathers... watching TV? It's irresponsible to leave essential child-rearing duties to a surrogate. Something stronger than peer group pressure should draw kids to bookstores.

If more parents read to their children, took them to the library, and recommended other great children's books, we'd soon have a more literate, more intelligent society. Parents who care about the future might see a higher return on their tax dollar if they lobbied for books instead of computers.
Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Harry Potter and the Reading Phenomenon
Bob, as I remember it school turned me off to reading. Look at the schools' summer reading lists....boooring. Who wants to read something because they have to and with a topic does not even interest them? Funny how this phenomenon came out of the private sector and not the schools. Wow what and Idea! Create a book series for kids with a topic that interests them! If we want kids to read we are going to have to make it interesting for them. There is too much out there in the line of interactive media for kids, if we want them to pickup a book it is at least going to have to interest them.
(Submitted by a Senior Paper Manager)

Regarding the "speaks out" commenter below (and Bob, please pardon my cross
comment): Re: Saving the Magazine Business

There is no way the present, mostly female management, can turn this thing
around. They are not only going to propel the demise of Readers Digest, but also
their other titles.

The "paper person" opens his missive with "There is no way the present,
mostly female management, can turn this thing around.". I have a question
for "paper perrson". How many paper companies have even come close to
returning the cost of capital in the past 15 years. None. How many are run
by men? Every single bloody one. This guy is an idiot. No wonder they are
running scared.
(Submitted by an Unknown Reader)

Re: Hungry for Younger Readers, Publishers should Embrace their Voices

Hungry for younger readers? What a load of rubbish. I have been a media freak all my life; when I found a writer, reporter or columnist I liked, I looked for his or her byline: I didn't know how old they were and I didn't care. The Des Moines Register, once one of the country's best newspapers, is now printing commentary from young people, because it's cheap or even free, and maybe the Register thinks it's going to bring them younger readers. (The Register also puts out a free weekly for young people called Juice, which is a bad joke.) Sorry, but several generations have not been taught, or taught themselves, what to read and how to read it. They are not going to tear themselves away from their video games to read each others' boring crap.

Larry Atkins writes, "Nationally, almost every syndicated columnist is over 30." I'm sure that virtually all of them are way over 30, so what? What is this, "don't trust anybody over 30" time again? Didn't we go though that a long time ago? Sure, newspaper editors should be on the lookout for talented young people, but they have trouble paying the people they've got. The serious problems lay elsewhere.

. . . Still Reading

(Submitted by an Unknown Reader)

Who Still Reads Magazines? Just About Everybody

Who Still Reads Magazines? Just About Everybody
Deloitte Media-Consumption Study Finds User-Generated Content Also Spans Generations
By Brian Steinberg

NEW YORK ( -- In an era when new forms of media and technology seem to sprout up almost weekly, you would think that much of it would be embraced by younger consumers. And you would also think the younger digerati would begin to shun some of the more traditional media venues. Turns out that's not entirely so.

Consumers ranging from ages 13 to over 60 said they enjoy reading magazines, and indicated they had a greater receptivity to print ads compared to web ads.

As new forms of media consumption, including web surfing, downloading and time-shifted TV viewing gain more of a foothold in the U.S., different generations have begun to form distinct habits. But what's interesting is that both the old and wise and the young at heart are developing some commonalities as well, according to a new study by Deloitte.

The consulting and advisory firm found that every generation -- from young Millennials (ages 13 to 24) to Generation X (25 to 41) to Baby Boomers (42 to 60) and older Matures (61 to 75) -- enjoys reading magazines. Almost three-fourths of all consumers choose to read them even though they can find the same information online. There is also a greater receptivity overall to print ads compared with internet ads, the firm found.

User-generated content
Additionally, about 51% of U.S. consumers are interested in watching and reading content created by others, not just stuff crafted by the big Hollywood companies and TV networks. Boomers and Matures are also taking part in the user-generated-content phenomenon, not just the under-25 crowd, Deloitte found.

The "fascination" with user-generated content potentially "has big impact for a media company and media clients," said Ed Moran, director-product innovation, for Deloitte Services' Technology, Media & Telecommunications group.

The study was conducted among 2,200 U.S consumers online, meaning the surveys could have a bias, since those taking part are predisposed to use technology. Deloitte intends to repeat the survey annually.

Different habits
Distinctive media habits are also emerging among the different age groups. Millennials lead the way in embracing new technologies, games and entertainment platforms, with one in 10 actively uploading their own videos to the internet. While this age group is "on the forefront" of some of the media world's newest developments -- social networks, for one -- it spends less time browsing the web than Boomers or Xers.

Millennials, however, make extensive use of instant-messaging and texting tools, and the group's power to create "amplification" of messages is "enormous," according to Deloitte.

Gen Xers embrace digital video recorders more than other generations and are most likely to visit TV-show sites online.

Boomers remain very dependent on newspapers and spend the most time with local news and weather content. The group does not embrace new media platforms as readily as younger generations. Matures use the web more for personal use than Millennials and are the most frequent online purchasers. They spend the most time with national and world news content as well as financial information.

Good news for the iPhone?
Looking toward the future, Deloitte found that there appears to be significant demand for a portable, stand-alone device that consumers can use to view content as well as communicate with others. The survey found that 39% of consumers want to be able to move their media content to their own devices without any problems, and 34% want a device that will give them the ability to speak to, instant message, text and e-mail anyone. "It would seem to bode well for the iPhone and other smart phones," Mr. Moran said. "It's a strong, strong desire."

Weak-Kneed Slogans Show Bad Ads Go With Bad Cars

BoSacks Speaks Out: The branding concept here by Rance Crain is just as relevant to publishers as it is to auto making. Branding is a promissory note and a contract with the buyer. Caveat emptor or "Let the buyer beware" is suspended when it comes to branding and perhaps a reverse concept is in order. verum est ego perspicuous (Truth is self-evident)

"If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it."
Marcus Aurelius
(Roman emperor, best known for his Meditations on Stoic philosophy, AD 121-180)

Detroit's Weak-Kneed Slogans Show Bad Ads Go With Bad Cars

Time for U.S. Automakers to Convey Trustworthiness in Their Marketing
By Rance Crain

Is there any correlation between the rapidly eroding fortunes of the Big Three auto companies and their consistently terrible advertising?

What does Buick's 'Drive Beautiful' slogan mean? ALSO: Comment on this column in the 'Your Opinion' box below.

Most car advertising is pretty pedestrian, but the U.S. makers generate some of the worst examples.

The latest case in point: Buick's ungrammatical ad slogan for its new SUV, "Drive Beautiful." It's the fifth new slogan since 2001 for Buick, the last being "Beyond Precision." (Shouldn't that be "Beyond Imprecision?") The agency lost the account, but if they'd kept it, I bet their next slogan would have been "Beyond Beautiful."

I've always thought that a slogan should help differentiate your product from the competition. The greatest slogan of all time, Morton Salt's "When it rains, it pours," does a superb job of asserting its very real product benefit.

But what in the name of God does "Drive Beautiful" mean? Does it mean you're beautiful when you drive the car or that the car is beautiful or both? How does it engender meaningful confidence in the car itself? Buick's famed slogan, "When better cars are built, Buick will build them," reeks of self-assurance and relevance.

Maybe what's missing most in Detroit advertising is trustworthiness -- a feeling that you can depend on the product and its maker. Good brands give you a sense of dependability, of reliance, of knowing what you're going to get.

And that feeling is worth a lot of money. In financial circles, the value of brands is part of intangible capital, and The Wall Street Journal's Holman W. Jenkins Jr. writes that intangible capital accounts for one-third to one-half of the stock market value of the Fortune 500.

"One particularly important form of intangible capital is brand equity," he says, and it's estimated that by the late 1990s, some $250 billion, or 2.5% of the gross domestic product, was spent on brand building -- "an investment that can quickly be squandered if a product fails to perform as expected."

Mr. Jenkins was talking about the multiple product recalls in China, but he could have been referring to the decline and fall of the domestic-automobile business.

The great thing about building a great brand is that it commands a premium price. Consumers will pay you extra for delivering what you promise -- if you deliver on the promise consistently. That's what Detroit has failed to do, both in cars that look good and operate well.

Look at how Korea's Hyundai, has done it. Not too many years ago the brand was a laughingstock. But then it started turning out cars that were stylish and of high quality, and Hyundai was the first in the industry to come out with a 100,000-mile warranty. Its rankings in J.D. Power's quality study zoomed, and Hyundai was slowly able to raise prices. It's now selling an upscale model competing with BMW and Lexus for $30,000 to $40,000, and it could even come out with a separate upscale badge like Toyota and Nissan have done.

Hyundai's success has not been achieved on empty promises. The company built better cars and backed them with the extended warranty. And the brand gained in value to the point where it can get real money for its cars.

The thrust of Mr. Jenkins' article was that if China is serious about playing on the world stage it must market products in which buyers have trust and confidence.

Ironically, Chinese buyers may be losing confidence in GM. Automotive News reported that sales growth at its joint venture in China slowed in the first six months of the year, pulled down by an aging model lineup. The Chinese may not be able to produce good brands themselves, but they know them when they see them.

To get back to my original premise, U.S. automakers' vapid advertising matches the way they do business. Can you imagine in your wildest dreams Toyota or Honda using "Drive Beautiful" as a slogan?

Which came first, the slogan or the car? Whatever you answer, they usually deserve each other, for better or for worse.