Thursday, December 06, 2007

Dennis Publishing Releases Facebook 'Bookazine'

Dennis taps into Facebook craze
By Stephen Brook
Facebookers of the world who while away their waking hours on the social networking website poking friends and playing Scrabulous can now read all about it - in a Facebook magazine.

Dennis Publishing is getting in on the Facebook craze by launching a "bookazine" - a magazine/book hybrid - about the networking website.

Facebook magazine: includes a section on how to create a real-life Facebook event The bookazine, which hit shops this week in time for the Christmas market, is part of the magazine company's growth strategy.

The 148-page publication, produced without the cooperation of the social networking website, includes articles "Famous on Facebook" and "Create a real life Facebook event".

Bruce Sandell, the managing director of Dennis' lifestyle division, said: "The Facebook Bookazine started quite simply.

"Like many media companies we have a huge amount of Facebook fans at Dennis - we thought we could channel that enthusiasm with our expert knowledge of 'how to' bookazines to make a really compelling product that taps into a massive consumer interest at exactly the right time.

"The bookazine will be bought by Facebook experts and novices alike, as it covers everything from a step by step guide to getting started through to smart security tips."

Dennis has developed 15 Dennis bookazines on topics including iPhone, the iPod, high-definition television and men's fitness.

Other magazine companies such as the National Magazine Company also regularly produce bookazines.

Dennis has printed 20,000 copies of the Facebook bookazine, fewer than a normal magazine, but the bookazine costs £5.99 and has a longer shelf life than magazines, staying on shelves for up to six months.

Dennis will monitor sales before deciding if it will produce a sequel.
the company has just established a product development unit to create new websites and magazines, headed by Sandell.

The Dennis chief executive, James Tye, said: "The Facebook bookazine highlights the spirit of innovation that we encourage as a company and shows how quickly a great idea can be developed and launched.
"Our new product development team at Dennis was launched to work on exactly this basis and bring products to life swiftly."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tell me the Future

Tell me the Future
The Guardian

When we asked Vint Cerf, chief evangelist at Google, to guest edit MediaGuardian, we expected him to bring us some luminaries of the web who we don't often get to hear from. His choices transform an often-asked question ("what's the future?"), into an insight into the thinking of innovators and pioneers. It's no coincidence that three of them are founders of some of the biggest web names.

Their specialist fields (from search, to advertising, video streaming to social networking) represent what Cerf believes to be the most exciting areas of development on the web and in the world; notably Steven Huter and Adiel Akplogan, who have pioneered the internet infrastructure in Africa.

Finally, each one has had, and will continue to have, a profound impact on the future of media.

Social networking
Chris De Wolfe
CEO, co-founder MySpace
In only a few years, social networks have become a staple in the internet landscape as the social networking phenomenon allowed people to "put their lives online". A person's profile became a representation of who they really were in the offline world, and allowed them to transfer their offline world online.

More than ever, social networks are blurring online and offline worlds, evolving into social destinations that are driving the direction of the larger web and affecting industries like advertising, music and politics.

Predicting the future of social networks exclusively misses the larger point - these evolving online social destinations are laying the groundwork for the new social web which we believe is becoming infinitely more personal, more portable, and more collaborative.

First, as we expand these social destinations to all corners of the world, we must always think in terms of the individual. With millions of people using social websites, there's an increasing demand to make everyone's web experience personal. In the same way a home or office is your physical address, we expect your personal, online social profile to become your internet address. When I give out to friends and colleagues, everyone knows where to find me online.

We expect aspects of all socially-based sites to become increasingly portable. In terms of mobile, we expect to have relationships with every carrier and device-maker in the world and we expect that half of our future traffic will come from non-PC users.
Social activity is happening everywhere and we expect applications and features to be more fluid, based on the online population that want content where they want it, when they want it, and how they want it. Social activity should be portable and we expect the industry will continue to move in that direction.

Lastly, online social destinations work best when creativity and development are collaborative concepts. From personal profiles, to the widget economy, to the OpenSocial standard - the future of the social web will harness the savvy of the masses to produce more relevant and meaningful social experiences, ultimately pushing the larger industry to be more innovative and progressive.

Lowering the barrier to entry for a new generation of developers will lead to a more collaborative and dynamic web and directly affect the tools and feature sets available on socially-based sites. Supporting a more collaborative web creates a more global and participatory internet experience for everyone.

The evolution of social networks is kick-starting a broad global shift for how people, content and culture collide on the web. Right now we're looking at the tip of the iceberg for what the social web will look like in the future. Fundamentally, all social destinations must expand while staying personal, they must engage users while empowering portability, and they must work with up and coming innovators and major web leaders to both collaborate and contribute to the larger web community.

Maurice Lévy
Chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe

Five years is an eternity in technology, but from our vantage point a few things are clear about what the internet and internet advertising will look like in 2012. One, virtually all media will be digital, and digital will enable almost all kinds of advertising. Two, online advertising will depend more than ever on the one element which has always been at the heart of impactful advertising, both analogue and digital: creativity. The explosion of media channels means this is a glorious time to think and act creatively. In art history terms, we are at the dawn of the Renaissance after the Dark Ages.

Just as the Renaissance broke down the distinctions between sacred and profane art forms and between individual and community, so we are seeing a similar exciting blurring today - and this will only intensify. Linear media is fast giving way to liquid media, where you can move seamlessly in and out of different settings. Prescribed time - the 7 o'clock news, the Friday night out at the cinema, etc - is now becoming multitasking time. People are no longer willing to put up with interruptions for a commercial break during their entertainment experience, and so we have to find incredibly creative solutions to interact with them and engage them in genuine and honest ways. This implies a brave new world of engagement and involvement between marketers and consumers and will also mean co-production between marketers and media owners. Scale will be critical: in five years' time, around 2 billion people will be constant internet users and mobile internet computing will be ubiquitous. What a great time to be in the business!

Biz Stone
Co-founder, Twitter
As we increasingly realise the web as a vital social utility and important marketplace we cannot ignore an even bigger potential. The power of the internet is not limited to the PC. Twitter has emerged to create a seamless layer of social connectivity across SMS, IM, and the web. Operating on the simple concept of status, Twitter asks one question: "What are you doing?" Friends, family and colleagues stay connected through short responses.

The potential for this simple form of hybrid communication technology is strong. For example, a person in India may text "Follow Biz" and get online via Twitter over SMS in a matter of seconds. Biz might be updating from the US on a PC. Nevertheless, the updates are exchanged instantly.

Our future holds in store the promise of increased connectivity to a powerful social internet which truly extends to every little spot on our Planet Earth. We're all affected by and defined by each other's actions. What are you doing?

Peter Norvig
Director of research, Google
Yale librarian Rutherford Rogers said "We're drowning in information and starving for knowledge." The internet is an ocean of information and in the near future we'll speed through it effortlessly and intuitively, like a tuna. No, I don't mean you'll have fins.

If you haven't been searching for [tuna tail vortices] recently, you may not know that a tuna's body creates small vortices in the water that are then channelled by the tuna's tail to create additional power.

This symbiosis of tuna and watery environment forms a more efficient propulsion system than anything designed by human engineers.

In the future, a similar symbiosis of searcher and computational environment will allow us to move faster through the internet than we would have thought possible. We will not just be typing in keywords and getting back a list of 10 web pages.

Instead, our interaction will be more fluid, our computers will accept our requests in many forms, and will scan our environment proactively, looking for ways to provide us with additional power. We will get back web pages, yes, along with existing books and videos, but also custom tables, charts, animations, databases, and summarisations created on-the-fly in response to our specific needs.

Today, nobody says "I need to connect to a megawatt power station" - instead we assume that electricity will be available on demand in almost every room of every building we visit. Edison could see that this would be useful, but could not foresee the range of appliances, from food processors to mp3 players, that this availability would enable. So too will information flow freely to us in the future, and be transformed by as-yet-unforeseen information appliances.

Bruce Cole
Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities (US)
At the National Endowment for the Humanities, we believe the internet and other information-age tools, such as digital archiving, will help us understand the world more deeply, broadly, and creatively. For humanists just as much for scientists, the ability to mine, analyse, and understand data, simulate complex environments, and combine information from a wide variety of sources, is critical to 21st-century discovery and innovation.
The exciting new tools of the digital age also present unique challenges. With digital technologies, we can comb through information in seconds versus years, and assimilate knowledge from a much broader array of sources for new insights. But the wellbeing of the infrastructure itself demands new time-frames. Information in books can be preserved for centuries before transfer to new "media" is needed. Information on disks, thumb drives, and other digital media has a lifespan measured in years or even months rather than centuries before transfer to the next generation of media is required.

Just as physical infrastructure is a foundation for modern life, digital infrastructure (data storage, computers, networks, etc.) is foundational infrastructure for the information age. Attention to the health and support of this infrastructure is critical to ensuring that born-digital knowledge is preserved and passed on for the benefit of future generations.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Roy Reiman Speaks Out; Setting the Record Straight:

Bringing Down the House of Reiman: Roy Reiman's on the record response
Posted by Samir Husni

I have never written a blog that generated more responses and counter responses than the one I wrote on Bringing Down the House of Reiman one "Ripple" at a Time take one and take two. My friend Bob Sacks picked up the blog on his electronic newsletter and even more people responded to the blog including Ellen Morgenstern, director of public relations at Reader's Digest Association. Well, the man himself who founded Reiman publications has decided to respond to all the responses regarding my piece on Reiman publications. What follows is Roy's response (on the record for the first time) to Ms. Morgenstern and others. Following his response is Bob Sacks' entry regarding the matter and Ellen Morgenstern's letter to Bob regarding the same issue. I look forward to other "on the record" comments about this important issue regarding magazine publishing, ownership and the possibility to publish magazines in this day and age with or without advertising.

Roy Reiman on setting the record straight:

"The writing has been on the wall for some time that a 'no advertising' model no longer works in this day and age. Even Roy Reiman's new magazine venture, 'Our Iowa', accepts advertising." -Ellen Morgenstern, Reader's Digest
There she goes again-contending that a "no ad" magazine couldn't make it today . . . and contending that even I no longer believe so, because we're accepting advertising in Our Iowa. I've watched from the sidelines and tried to stay out of this fray, because I recognize that when someone buys a company, the buyer has the right to be wrong. But after seeing the quote above-for the second time at that-I can no longer resist sharing my opinion. I've concluded that if I don't respond, it will not only add credence to her comment, but may appear I have no opinion or don't care what's happening to my old company, when the truth is I care a great deal. I don't appreciate her implying that I no longer believe in the no-ad concept without first checking with me.

The fact is I believe as strongly today as ever that it can be achieved with a national magazine that is truly different, sparkles with creativity and delivers what readers can't easily find elsewhere. The lack of advertising was the most noticeable difference our 16 million subscribers mentioned and appreciated, and now-with the acceptance of advertising-that uniqueness is gone. The problem with Ellen's conclusion is she's comparing apples to tomatoes. Here's why: With today's printing, paper and postage costs, you need about 1 million paid subscribers to make a go of it with a no-ad magazine. Well, when you have a NATIONAL magazine directed at the U.S. population of nearly 300 million people, garnering 1 million subscribers is a reachable goal. I feel that's still currently attainable with the right kind of magazine.

As I've often said, if you can't lure 1 million subscribers from a 300-million audience, maybe your new magazine isn't really that good after all. But when you have a REGIONAL magazine, such as Our Iowa, directed at a much smaller audience (Iowa's population is 2.8 million), any logical person would understand that attracting 1 million subscribers is out of reach. In that kind of limited market, you need the ancillary support of advertising. The comparison and facts are that simple. I've never been "against advertising". My first success was with a magazine supported solely by ads, with no paid subscribers. But I also learned-with the right concept-you can make it without ads as well. We successfully launched 14 national magazines without advertising, eventually topping 16 million paid subscribers. But not one of those magazines would have made it without advertising if it had been limited to a single state or regional audience. This being the case, it bugs me big time that Ellen keeps implying I've "caved in" and that I no longer believe a NATIONAL magazine can make it without advertising . . . and bases her conclusion on what she now sees I'm doing with a REGIONAL magazine. For her to keep using me as a defense of RDA's move to accepting advertising by asserting "even Roy Reiman knows that times have changed", as she was quoted recently, is very disturbing, especially in view of her added comment: "It is normal to have disgruntled former employees acting as 'sources', but there's always another side of the story." I find that comment particularly interesting, when it appears she is now acting as the "source" of my thinking, without first checking my side of the story. Most bothersome of all, though, is her assertion that a "no advertising model no longer works in this day and age". That comment minimizes and discredits the efforts of the incredibly creative crew at our company that successfully launched 14 national no-ad magazines over the years . . . and likely, if we surrounded up the best of them, would love the challenge of making it happen again today.
-Roy Reiman, Founder Reiman Publications

Ellen Morgenstern's letter to Bob Sacks regarding my blog:

Dear Bob, I respect that you are servicing the publishing industry with your independent voice and insider's perspective. You keep your fingers on the pulse of what's current for publishers. Therefore, I am perplexed why you would choose to recycle Samir Husni's column from August, where unidentified sources complain about changes taking place at the former Reiman publications under the Reader's Digest Association.

You know this is old news, and you already posted readers' responses.After changes, it is normal to have disgruntled former employees acting as "sources," but there's always another side to the story. Here are a few points to consider: The writing has been on the wall for some time that a "no advertising" model no longer works in this day and age. Even Roy Reiman's new magazine venture, "Our Iowa," accepts advertising.The ads appear to be a non-issue for our readers. We received but a handful of letters expressing concern. (One loyal reader even sent a $5 cash donation in sympathy with the rising costs of printing and publishing!)

The sale of Reiman to RDA made sense for both parties because of the natural synergies between the companies. It took some time to materialize, but by integrating the companies, the business is now headed in a much better direction than where it was at the time of the sale.The key titles - many of which had flattened out in circulation - are doing very well. Investments are being made to revitalize and sustain some of the beloved brands that otherwise might have faded. And the affinity-based strategy of supporting the Food / Entertaining and Home / Garden titles with specialized divisions, related assets and integrated marketing, is clearly designed to give the Reiman titles a great chance for a long and successful future!Change isn't easy, but it is necessary in this rapidly evolving media landscape. We will continue to look for smart ways to bring the best content to our readers. They will ultimately decide if their interests are being served.
Ellen MorgensternDirector, Public RelationsReader's Digest Association

And, if you are still with me, Bob's respond to Ellen:

Ellen: I re-posted that in innocence without an agenda. On Samir's site it was listed as a recent November release and appeared new. While on the road, I checked my database as best as I could, and, although it sounded familiar, I couldn't find that I had sent it out before. Mea culpa.

As you might expect I am an epicenter of an enormous amount of information and industry-wide emails. I have received dozens and dozens of emails on and about RDA, Ripplewood and Reiman. My guess is that it was this information overload that made me think that Samir's article was new paralleling most the letters I have received. I will gladly write an editorial correction if you would like or empower you to write a response to my readership.
- Bob Sacks

Sunday, December 02, 2007

BoSacks Readers Speak Out; Reiman, Ripplewood, and RJ Reynolds

BoSacks Readers Speak Out; Reiman, Ripplewood, and RJ Reynolds

Re: The Sell: Why You Need Fanboys, by Andrew Ettinger
Ettinger's article on branding was very interesting, but it seemed to me as if he missed an important point.

It's a common mistake to think that the sole purpose of branding is to increase sales. That's true, of course, but it's only half the story. Well-built brands are able to charge a premium price.

It's interesting that given the choice of two distilleries to visit, Jim Beam and Maker's Mark, Ettinger turned to the more expensive brand. This sort of reinforces the axiom that in any given market the leading publication can (and should) charge higher CPMs.

Give him credit. Many of us in this industry have been driven to drink but he's the only person I know who got an article out the experience.
(Submitted by a Publisher)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Mea Culpa on RDA, Reiman and Ripplewood.
>> The writing has been on the wall for some time that a "no advertising" model no longer works in this day and age. <<

Has anyone told Cooks Illustrated or Consumer Reports or Consumer Digest? Producers of expensive subscription-only special interest newsletters? Woodworking Magazine? Public broadcasting? Have the people at RD tried searching online for the terms magazine and "we accept no advertising"? If they mean that a no-advertising model won't work for the specific way they want to do business, that might be true. But to assume that there are no ways of making this work is foolish.
(Submitted by a Writer)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Mea Culpa on RDA, Reiman and Ripplewood.

Bob: All the nice responses and responses to responses are interesting. At the end of the day, the jury is still out. Let's wait and see what the vote is from the only people in the equation who count. They (the Reiman subscribers) are the ones who eventually pay all of our collective salaries, and their decision is final, and binding. Looking forward to your next update.
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Mfg & Dst)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Mea Culpa on RDA, Reiman and Ripplewood.

Maybe more companies should directly engage and respond to your's and our rants and raves about what is happening in the industry. I can only see good things from this type of exchange. Keep the content flowing Bob!
(Submitted by a Production Director)

RE: BoSacks Speaks Out: Mea Culpa on RDA, Reiman and Ripplewood.

This is just another example of Wall Street autocrats and pillagers, buying for less and selling for more. It is their right and privilege to do so. It is part of the American dream and current style of doing business, but as a life long publisher it sickens me. I have been in the business for 40 years, publishing my own titles for 30 years. I too, might sell my business to Ripplewood, and they might buy it. But I would cringe at the devastation I would leave in my wake. We make a tidy profit here with several very popular titles. I wonder what Roy Reiman is thinking now? I wonder what advice he would give to me and other similar publishers?

Re; RJ Reynolds to stop print ads next year
Bo: When I joined min 20 years ago, tobacco was a key magazine ad category, ranking just below automotive and direct response. And the Magazine Publishers of America was adamant about protecting tobacco ads from regulation. (Rep. Henry Waxman/D.-Calif. was the chief protagonist.)

Now, it is almost nonexistent, so the news of R.J. Reynolds halting print advertising barely raises a peep.
(Submitted by an Unknown Professional)

Re; RJ Reynolds to stop print ads next year
Let's call the tobacco industry giants what they are - Merchants of Death. And let's also call the publishers who have accepted the money for print ads promoting smoking to their young and impressionable potential customers what THEY are - accomplices to the Grim Reaper. Publisher's and Ad Sales Directors are all interested in one thing, and one thing only, and it ain't ethics! (Full disclosure - I'm a non smoker, and have been since my grandfather died at age 55 of lung cancer after having smoked two packs of Lucky Strikes a day for his last 40 years.)
(Submitted by a Senior Director of Manufacturing)

Re; RJ Reynolds to stop print ads next year

Aha, another good reason for me to NEVER have accepted cigarette ads in the first place!
(Submitted by a Multi-title Publisher)