Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

05/15/2012

Magazine Publishing: E-Media Revenue is Slow (Let’s Peek Inside the Numbers)


Magazine Revenue Sources

I post news on the entire publishing industry and remind readers occasionally of just what the whole publishing industry consists of 🙂 

Wikipedia gives about the best concise definition of Publishing:

‘Publishing includes the stages of the development, acquisition, copyediting, graphic design, production – printing (and its electronic equivalents), and marketing and distribution of newspapers, magazines, books, literary works, musical works, software and other works dealing with information, including the electronic media.’

Bill Mickey, Editor of Folio magazine (the magazine for magazine management) , discusses the results of Folio’s 2012 B2B CEO survey and says  “Hurry Up with That E-Media Revenue.”

Apparently, the survey reflected an industry still heavily dominated by print. Nothing wrong with that, but it worries the execs that the other platforms, such as digital, are not increasing their shares fast enough.

In other words, the ad revenue from the new tech media is not growing fast enough … at least, not as expected.

Mickey says their 2009 B2B CEO survey reflected e-media representing 12% of revenues for companies making < $5 million, and 13% for 2010. And in 2011, 13% again. For companies making > than $5 million, e-media accounted for 13% in 2009; 19% in 2010 and 17% in 2011. Not a very fast growth.

The one good thing is that print did remain steady during this same period.

As the focus continues on digital, and as mobile platforms mature, more dramatic upticks are expected in the other key revenue categories next year.

Believe me, the magazine publishing biz is doing quite well today compared to a few years ago!

Now, for some great analytical charts and graphs detailing more inside numbers of Folio’s 2012 B2B CEO survey jump here.

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11/07/2011

‘The Week Magazine’ Proves Print Power Still Exists


Print Magazine Success!

When most print magazines have been devoting more and more effort to digital operations to save their very skins … The Week magazine has been growing print subscriptions and advertising sales like it was the glory days of the 1960’s. 

How are they doing this, you ask? 

I asked too … and found this incisive article by Matt Kinsman, Executive Editor of FOLIO magazine

Print Power

How The Week continues to grow print revenue (and profits) in a dotcom world.

Mobile content and community brands dominated the media category of the 2011 Inc. 5000, which recognizes the 5,000 fastest-growing privately-held companies in the U.S. (The number one company in the media category: GoLive! Mobile, which “creates and packages content, including videos, games, and social media, for consumers to access on their mobile phones”, as well as offers consulting services to companies that want to create their own mobile content.)

But “traditional” publishers made the list as well, including two Felix Dennis-owned publications: Mental Floss, ranked #50 in the media category with three-year revenue growth of 52 percent to $3.1 million in 2010, and The Week at #51 in media with three-year growth of 49 percent to $38.4 million in 2010. Unlike many of the other publishers on the list, The Week continues to flourish as a print enterprise.

Here, president Steve Kotok talks to FOLIO: about how The Week continues to boost print revenue and profit, why readers are the brand’s best way of gaining new subscribers and why The Week is waiting until 2012 to finally jump into the app race.

FOLIO: The Week recently made the Inc. 5000 as one of fastest growing media brands. Where is the growth coming from?

Steve Kotok: I would say the growth is coming equally from subscription and advertising. The subscription growth is coming from our ability to raise price, that’s the biggest thing. According to ABC, our price is up 40 percent, and as measured by us as net-net it’s doubled.

On the ad side, it’s going from selling print ad pages to engaging with these larger brands. The number of ad packages we’ve sold at $500,00 or more since 2008 went from one to three to 10, this year it should be 15. The vast majority are combining print, digital, and events. We wouldn’t say, ‘Oh, it’s coming from print ads or digital ads.’ It’s coming from our ability to offer larger packages to the advertising brands and serve them if they want to make a splash in D.C., to serve them digitally, to serve them in multiple ways.

There is stuff we put in buckets for accounting, but when really looking at our biggest sales, we may say $600,000 of this goes to print, $400,000 goes to digital, and $50,000 goes to an event fee. We wouldn’t be able to sell any of it without the other.

FOLIO: Are packages coming from existing advertisers or new advertisers?

Kotok: It’s a combination. Every year you start new, some are existing advertisers, a lot of them are new…it’s definitely breaking a lot of new business but that’s not really a distinguishing factor. Every year we make our best shot at them.

FOLIO: Please talk about current revenue ratios (print versus digital versus other channels). What is it today and how has that changed in recent years? What does it need to be going forward?

Kotok:
Subscriptions and print advertising are more or less equal with Web ads being 15 to 18 percent of the revenue generated by print ads. However, print and Web ads combined exceed subscription revenue.

FOLIO: Do you see that changing going forward?

Kotok: I don’t now if we will see a huge change. A few years ago we may have thought that ads were going to grow faster than subscriptions but our ability to grow subscription revenue and keep it growing has surprised us. I don’t think we’ll start doing more digital advertising than print advertising.

We’re going on the Kindle, Nook and iPad in January and that’s all circulation revenue. I don’t see the mix radically changing, although we still see our print subscriptions and our print ads growing. Web ads are growing faster but at 15 percent of print revenue, it’s not a massive shift—we may go 80/20, 75/25, print to digital in the future. We have a good business. We’re aware of the trends. Even before digital, there were trends to follow. We’re not embarrassed of print.

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02/28/2011

Printed Magazines: Young Adult Readership Up & 90% Prefer Ink Format!


Pundits predicting the extinction of printed mags are wrong! In fact, printed mag readership (especially among the under 35 group with digital exposure) has steadily risen over the past 5 years, even through the recession…as reported by David McDonald (bio at ‘Read and learn more’ link below) in FOLIO magazine.

Now, I don’t know if the ad revenue has matched the same performance of the ‘readership’ stats (from what I’ve read, it hasn’t)…but, if the ad revenue is indeed down, this non-expert wonders why? It would not be logical on the surface. If the advertisers are just pulling the ad money from print to concentrate on the new digital formats, it would appear they are missing a growing opportunity, huh?    

On to David McDonald’s article:

Teach Your Children Well

Is the training of tomorrow’s magazine and media professionals keeping up?

While many media pundits purport that magazine readership is dropping or that printed magazines are soon to be extinct, the truth emerges that year after year magazine readership continues to grow. In fact, magazine readership has increased for the past five years—right through the recession—according to MPA, which found that four out of five U.S. adults read magazines. Another 2010 survey from MRI discovered that young adults (those under 35) read the most, despite the abundance of new media alternatives. A recent CMO Council survey of 1,000 consumers with digital exposure indicated that 90 percent of magazine subscribers prefer the printed format to the new e-reader apps.

Consumers continue to engage magazines in the printed form, but they are also looking beyond print and accessing magazine content in very personal ways—Web sites, e-media, mobile and rich media, and various other content platforms are increasingly more relevant to today’s magazine and media consumer. This emerging diversity in how we encounter magazine content speaks to the complexity of how consumers engage the content they want—on their terms, in many formats and across multiple platforms—and again, only the content they want. So we better serve it up the way they want it, right?

Educating the Next Generation

Today’s magazine and media companies—as well as the staff of journalists and designers who package content for consumers—are working within a new world order. The rules of journalism are changing and Media Ethics are not immune from this evolution. Ethics, while important, are often irrelevant to a media transaction. Many publishers believe that those who drive the formation of ethical opinion will continue to refine their perspective within the larger media landscape and come to terms with the ideals of branded and custom content and the demands of what I call Transcendent Media platforms.

Do ethics, as we know them today, have a place in media? Yes, in some instances… but not all. The ideals of church and state that have for so long driven the philosophies, perspectives, and opinions of media must and will change to embrace the new world order of Transcendent Media. And this is an important fact to the universities teaching tomorrow’s magazine professionals.

Read and learn more

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01/27/2011

Some Conclusions to ‘Who Controls Social Media?’


One week ago I posted “Who Controls Social Media?” on my Writers Welcome Blog. Today, on this blog, I am giving some answers to this question. Answers provided by Facebook responses to Matt Kinsman’s original article in FOLIO magazine For Publishers, Who Are the Gatekeepers of Social Media?

Some interesting answers with conclusions in line with my own that I provided on my Writers Welcome Blog post.

Follow-up article by Matt Kinsman, executive editor at FOLIO magazine:

So Who Should Control Social Media?

Most Say Edit. Many FOLIO: readers seem to favor edit. What’s your take?

A recent MPA (Magazine Publishers of America) panel debated who should be in control of social media at magazine publishers-edit, sales, marketing or even IT, which may ultimately bear the costs of social media. It’s a similar dispute to the way various magazine departments squabbled over prime Web site territory 10 years ago when they realized that yes, this Internet thing does have legs on the business side.

I pulled some of the Facebook responses to FOLIO:’s article about who ultimately should be the gatekeeper of social media, and listed them below. Considering the audience, it’s not surprising that most seem to feel edit should be in charge. However, several people noted that social media can’t belong to just one group, and should be divvied up across the organization (often out of necessity, given the resources in the current publishing climate).

Social media is integral for most publishers and everybody needs to be onboard (as one MPA panelist said, “Nobody goes around bragging that they don’t know Microsoft World”). So what do you think? Does edit rule? Should sales and marketing get their say? Or does social media require its own dedicated crop of specialists?

Read and learn more

03/09/2010

Print Magazine Advertising to Grow in 2010 Despite Popularity of Online…


…For first time, however, spending on digital expected to outpace print.

It looks like all media types (especially print and digital) might be seeking (and finding) their own level RE advertising profits. I have mentioned in previous posts that when the newness of digital gadgets (Kindle, iPad, plus more to come) wears off a little and the dust settles…that print will still be standing, albeit not dominating.

One of my favorite go-to industry sources, FOLIO magazine’s reporter Jason Fell, reported this today:

Consumer and trade businesses this year are projected to spend approximately $119.6 billion on online and digital advertising strategies while shelling out $111.5 billion to print projects, research and advisory firm Outsell said Monday. Some good news for print: Ad spending on magazines is forecasted to be up 1.9 percent to $9.4 billion.

According to Outsell’s “Marketing and Ad Spending Study 2010: Total U.S. and B2B Advertising” report, overall spending on marketing and advertising will be $368 billion this year, an increase of 1.2 percent over 2009. Taking an overarching look at b-to-b and b-to-c businesses, the report projects spending, share and growth for five media types—online, events, print, TV/radio and PR/other.

Other findings from the report included that b-to-b advertisers see cross-media marketing as the most effective option with 78 percent combining three or more marketing methods; advertiser’s own Web sites generate the highest ROI for b-to-b; and social media has a firm place in marketing efforts—51 percent said Facebook is “extremely or somewhat” effective, 45 percent for LinkedIn, 35 percent for Twitter and 25 percent said the same for MySpace.

For the 2010 report, Outsell said it surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. advertisers in December 2009.

12/31/2009

Playboy Passes Core Business Duties to AMI


Playboy is delegating advertising, sales, marketing, circulation and production to get lean and mean and return to profitability by 2011!

The venerable mens magazine is also being assaulted by the current economic times as well as technological multi-media advances (what ever happened to Mariyln Monroe ?)

Jason Fell of Folio Magazine reported the inside info on this Playboy re-structuring with some interesting, insightful figures:

During a recent earnings call, Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders said he was working on a joint venture to develop a new business model that would help Playboy magazine profitable again. Some details of that venture have come to light.

Playboy said it has agreed to farm out the magazine’s advertising sales, circulation, marketing, production and all other business operations to American Media Inc. Playboy will continue to oversee the magazine’s editorial operations.

AMI’s Distribution Services, Inc. will handle Playboy’s newsstand marketing and distribution services.

Roughly 25 jobs will be affected as a result, although some of those could be transferred to AMI. “AMI will be interviewing all of our employees in the areas being outsourced, and it’s not clear how many of them will be asked to join their company,” a Playboy spokesperson told FOLIO:. “We will also keep a few employees.”

Playboy will incur a $2 million restructuring charge in the fourth quarter related to the deal.

Financial terms were not disclosed. As part of the agreement, Playboy said AMI will be paid “negotiated fees” and will be incented to increase both advertising and circulation revenues. The publishers expect to complete the transition by March 2010. UPDATE: Under terms of the contract, AMI said it will be paid “potential fees” in the range of $5 million for advertising, circulation, production and related services. This, the company said, would result in profitability of approximately $2 million.

When asked about AMI’s strategy behind boosting Playboy’s ad and newsstand sales, and its plans for managing the magazine’s recently reduced rate base and frequency, AMI CEO David Pecker had no comment.

According to Flanders, AMI will be able to manage the magazine operations “more effectively than we can as a standalone publisher. By joining forces with American Media, we will be able to significantly reduce our cost structure and leverage the economies of scale related to manufacturing, distribution and marketing that are available to this large, multi-title publisher.”

Flanders said Playboy magazine is expected to lose $8 million this year. This deal, he projected, will allow the magazine reduce the loss to approximately $5 million in 2010 and to reach profitability again by late 2011.

During the earnings call, Playboy Enterprises reported a $23.5 million net loss through the third quarter, down from a $13.6 million net loss in 2008. The company’s print/digital group reported a $900,000 loss through the first nine months compared to a $3 million loss during the same period last year. Flanders said he expects the magazine to report a 38 percent decline in ad pages during the fourth quarter this year.

AMI publishes several titles already targeting man aged 18 to 34 years, including Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness and Flex. AMI also publishes Shape, Star, Natural Health and the National Enquirer.

It was not immediately clear how the agreement with AMI might affect a potential sale of Playboy Enterprises. The company has been said to be entertaining a number of offers, including one from London-based brand management firm Iconix Group. The Playboy spokesperson declined to comment on a potential sale.

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