Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

02/20/2013

Inside Intrigue Re Readers Digest’s 2nd Bankruptcy Filing


Did you realize that Readers Digest reaches more $100,000 + income households than Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Inc. COMBINED ? Well, it does — according to Mediamark Research and Intelligence (also known as Growth from Knowledge – Mediamark Research and Intelligence [GfK MRI]).

RD is a veritable empire — albeit, one in stormy straits.

I grew up devouring Readers Digest and dearly love(d) it for the enlightening, timely and clearly written articles/stories AND the superb humor. Apparently, this venerable piece of consumer literature, enjoyed around the world in numerous languages, has encountered some rough waters — due, most probably, to bad management decisions in what had become an unwieldy, global empire during an explosively changing publishing landscape (in this writer’s humble opinion).

Let’s get into some key numbers and behind-the-scenes happenings with Michael Rondon writing for FOLIO magazine:

Behind RDA’s Chapter 11 Filing

RDA considered a sale, major creditors include several former employees.

RDA Holding has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years.

The move to convert $465 million in debt to equity comes after the company considered a “wide range of alternatives” however, according to a statement from Robert Guth, president and CEO of RDA.

Guth was unavailable for comment in the lead-up to first-day motions with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, but some in the industry believe a sale of at least part of the company had been one of the “alternatives” explored.

“I do believe that RDA was approached by buyers and in conversations,” says Reed Phillips, CEO and managing partner of DeSilva + Phillips, an M&A advisory firm specializing in media properties.

Selling off titles wouldn’t be a first for the company, who parted with Every Day with Rachel Ray in October of 2011 and AllRecipies.com in January of 2012–both purchased by Meredith. Those are among the more publicized changes since Guth took over about a month before the Rachel Ray deal, but they’re part of an on-going evolution, he says.

“The complex transformation that we began 18 months ago under the leadership of a new senior management team has resulted in a more streamlined, more focused, and more profitable business,” Guth says in the statement.

Since then, business has been mixed though. Year-over-year operating losses decreased in first three quarters of 2012, while revenues took big hits. Yearly ad pages were up on two of its three biggest titles, Reader’s Digest and Family Handyman, but down on another staple, Taste of Home, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Circulation has remained relatively steady over that time for each, per Alliance for Audited Media numbers.

Read and learn more

Get this Publishing/Writing Blog on your Kindle :)))

 

 

Advertisements

10/18/2012

Most Magazines to Begin Going Digital-Only by the End of the Decade


Newsweek – Going Digital-Only AND Global

At least that is what publishing industry ‘watchers’ predict.

One early indicator of this transformation: Newsweek magazine is going digital-only at the end of this year and be renamed Newsweek Global. (I still don’t think print mags will disappear completely – they’ve had too much of a renewed growth and popularity – due, incidentally, to digital growth).

But, it’s the ‘going global’ thing with Newsweek — and how they’ve set it up — that I think is interesting.

TJ Raphael reports this in FOLIO magazine:

Newsweek To Cease Print Publication in 2013

Rebranded in a digital-only format called Newsweek Global.

Earlier this week at the American Magazine Conference, industry watchers speculated that most magazines will begin going digital-only by the end of the decade—that prediction seems to be coming to fruition sooner than expected, starting with today’s announcement that Newsweekmagazine will cease its print publication by the end of 2012.

After 80 years in print, the magazine will transition to an all-digital format, renaming itself Newsweek Global, and will become a single, worldwide edition targeted for a mobile audience. Newsweek has an Asian edition; a Business Plus edition; an edition for Latin America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa in addition to its U.S. publication, all of which will be consolidated into Newsweek Global.

A statement from the Newsweek/Daily Beast Company, signed by editor-in-chief Tina Brown and CEO Baba Shetty, says that Newsweek Global will be supported by paid subscription and will be available through e-readers for both tablet and the Web, with select content available on The Daily Beast.

“Regrettably we anticipate staff reductions and the streamlining of our editorial and business operations both here in the United States and internationally,” says an internal memo posted on the company’s Tumblr page. “More details on the new organizational structure will be shared individually in the coming weeks and months.”

According to the most recent Fas-Fax from the Audit Bureau of Circulations for the period ending June 30, 2012, Newsweek saw a 9.7 percent year-over-year drop in the number of single copies sold at retail, with total paid, verified and analyzed non-paid circulation dropping by 0.2 percent. In the last three years, its total paid and verified circulation has gone from 2,646,613 to 1,527,157, with single copies going from 64,866 to 42,065 during the same period. Ad pages, however, have been up by 2.5 percent year-to-date, according to Min Box Score numbers.

Read and learn more

Get this Publishing/Writing Blog on your Kindle :)))

06/23/2012

Print vs Digital magazine Format – Intriguing Decision


SmartMoney Mag – Going Digital Only ?

An intriguing decision, indeed, and this post looks into insiders’ analytical thinking and number crunching.

This post also peeks inside who’s who (and was) in the News Corp, Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, Smart Money and Market Watch  hierarchy.

Smart Money, one of the largest monthly personal-finance magazines with a circulation of 813,730 last year, is going to cut its print version beginning in October, 2012, and expand its digital platform.

Why ? Well, the thinking, reasoning and data supporting that decision is explored by John Jannarone And WilliamLaunder in the Wall Street Journal:

SmartMoney Will Move to Web-Only Magazine 

Dow Jones & Co. said Thursday it will stop publishing the print version of SmartMoney, although it will expand the personal-finance magazine’s digital platform.

Dow Jones, a unit of News Corp., which also publishes The Wall Street
Journal, said it would add six new positions to SmartMoney.com’s editorial staff but eliminate 25 jobs related to the print edition production. The last issue of the monthly magazine will be September’s, available on Aug. 14.

“It’s clear that the volatility of markets and asset classes has increased the need for rapid delivery of personal finance intelligence, so we will be expanding our team and presence on the Web,” said Robert Thomson, editor in chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal.

SmartMoney is among the largest monthly personal-finance magazines, with a circulation of 813,730 last year, compared with 818,526 in 2007, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Rival magazine Kiplinger’s Personal Finance has a circulation of about 628,000 and Money has roughly 1.9 million readers, the ABC says. All three magazines have struggled to increase circulation in recent years.

The decision to halt publication of SmartMoney is one of the first major changes at Dow Jones since the arrival in February of Lex Fenwick as chief executive. In 2010, Dow Jones acquired from Hearst Corp. the 50% interest in SmartMoney it didn’t already own. Hearst and Dow Jones jointly launched SmartMoney in 1992.

More changes appear to be in store at Dow Jones. In an internal memo to employees Thursday, Mr. Thomson said there are other “just-approved expansion plans” for The Wall Street Journal but didn’t provide any specifics. Earlier this week, Dow Jones announced a reorganization of management and the resignation of Todd Larsen from his role as president.

Dow Jones said all content and tools from SmartMoney.com will become available on a new co-branded personal finance section on its MarketWatch.com financial-information site . In May, MarketWatch.com had 5.3 million unique visitors, up 50% from the same month of 2011. SmartMoney.com’s unique visitor count has increased 14% over the same period to 1.6 million people.

Write to John Jannarone at john.jannarone@wsj.com and William Launder at william.launder@dowjones.com

 

This Publishing/Writing Blog is available on Kindle 🙂 

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.

06/30/2011

The State of Magazine Publishing in 2011


Plum Hamptons magazine

What does the periodical publishing picture look like in the current economy thus far in 2011? Not too damn bad! (I have posted on the magazine comeback in previous posts). There have been 138 new launches versus 74 folds in 2011 according to online periodical database MediaFinder.

Most old, favorite mags were pulled from the jaws of extinction by their scramble to and gained expertise in digital production … including complex content and multi-media platforms … AND, believe it or not, the rapid popularity in the mags new online presentations has led to a rebirth of the print issues as well, including ad revenues … At least that’s my understanding of the smoke signals.

This from FOLIO Magazine by Stefanie Botelho:

As the publishing industry continues to recover from the economic recession, 138 magazines launched in the first half of 2011, according to online periodical database MediaFinder.

In the first half of 2010, only 90 new titles came to fruition.

The food and regional interest sectors boast the most launches, category-wise, in the first half of 2011, with new titles like Plum Hamptons hitting the market.

Some good news for b-to-b: 34 new titles launched in the first half, including Progressive Cattleman and Converting Quarterly, compared to 13 titles that folded, including Industrial Wastewater and Texas Construction.

Seventy-four titles closed in the top half of 2011, down from 86 closures in the same period in 2010. Although tied with the food sector for the most number of launches, the regional interest segment also saw the most magazine closures, including the closure of regional “luxe” 944 Media magazines in June.

Read and learn more

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

Remember, you can get this blog on your Kindle here

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

09/07/2010

75 Yr. Old Yankee Magazine Lives on Subscription $$ Over Ad $$


The venerable old Yankee magazine has always stayed ahead of the power curve and continues to do so in this cluster-muck era in the publishing industry.

Contrary to it’s old-fashioned image, Yankee adopted online content way back in the 1990’s and was one of the first, if not the first, consumer mag to offer monthly podcasts back in 2000.

James Sullivan of the Boston Globe offers this picturesque account of Yankee magazine:

Yankee Ingenuity

Robb Sagendorph was a classic Yankee. Frugal and self-sufficient, committed to tradition — and more than a little cranky — he personified the New Englander he hoped to reach when he founded Yankee magazine in 1935.

The tall, dour Sagendorph, who died in 1970, wasn’t exactly prone to fits of laughter. Today, however, there is plenty of good cheer in the halls of the old red barn that still houses his magazine, across from town hall and the hilltop flagpole in this picturesque hamlet.

With its September-October issue, Yankee is celebrating its 75th anniversary. More importantly, the staff is buoyed by the feeling that it is better poised than most magazines to weather the publishing industry’s uncertain future.

In contrast to its old-fashioned image, Yankee was an early adopter of online content, way back in the 1990s. For the 75th anniversary year, the magazine has been publishing a favorite feature from its archives on its website every weekday.

And its inverted business model — the magazine has always relied on subscription fees more than advertising dollars — finds it once again ahead of the curve, as others struggle with dwindling ad sales.

Still publishing features on getaways, design, and home cooking, Yankee has moved away from the historic yarns and short fiction that once defined it.

More readers are now browsers than cover-to-cover types, said Jamie Trowbridge, 50, chief executive officer of Yankee Publishing (and Sagendorph’s grandson).

“We’re still literary, but we don’t print literature,’’ he said.

“People are always saying print is dead. In fact, it hasn’t declined much. What is declining is advertising support.’’

Read more http://alturl.com/wukw4

11/14/2009

Magazine Editing – The Accidental Profession


Hi Friends & Followers. Hope all are enjoying their Saturday. I’m happy! My Florida Gators won a tough-fought game today against our past coach’s team: the South Carolina Gamecocks. That makes a 20 game winning streak! Highest in the nation.

Todays post is about how we sometimes “stumble” into a profession in the publishing, writing and editorial fields.

John Brady is a partner at Brady & Paul Communications, a publishing consultancy, and discusses this very thing in Folio Magazine, The Magazine For Magazine Management:

Magazine editing is not a job. It’s a calling. Like barbecue experts, most editors are self-proclaimed. Very few graduate from journalism school where they majored in magazine editing and come up through the editorial ranks. Most editors of my acquaintance have stumbled into their jobs through happenstance. They studied accounting (with an English minor), took a summer job at a fulfillment house, did some copyediting on the side, became an assistant editor when someone quit on short notice and now the title is: Editor-in-chief.

I call it the accidental profession. Or another way of putting it is—we don’t choose magazine editing. It chooses us.

Today, the job is changing dramatically as we find ourselves in the midst of enormous change in the profession. We are in the bunker in an age when magazines as we have come to know and love are at risk. Many are gone, and many others are in deep decline—as though they are saying: “Please help me, I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”

What Can We Do?

Foremost, let’s recognize that the dilemma is not primarily an editorial problem. In most publications, editorial has never been better. Advertising—or the lack thereof—is the problem.

What does an editor need in these troubled times? You don’t need more money. (In fact, don’t even ask.) You don’t need a bigger staff. That’s just more cost—and more people to worry and wonder about.

I think you may need an extra dose of savvy—which I define as the ability to learn and to work that knowledge quickly into the editorial mix while we ride things out and wait for an upturn in the economy and in the ad-page count.

A minor in psychology helps.

This is nothing new for us in the editing game. Inventors and magazine editors are seldom without problems to solve. It’s all part of the job description.

We all know how important it is to know what you want. It is also important to like being in charge, and now is the time for being in charge of change.

When the crunch is on, editors will go to great lengths to make everything change. They will hire new people and fire those who don’t seem to do the right thing. They will change the look of a magazine. They will change the story mix, the departments. They will do everything but change themselves.

Your Real Job: Editorial Sales Manager

To which I say—editor, examine thyself. Instead of taking yourself as an editor, consider a totally new persona. Your approach to each issue should be: This is not a publication, it is an EVENT.

You are in charge of selling tickets to an editorial event. Think of your job as Editorial Sales Manager.

Here we can take a page from the advertising playbook. Advertising changes constantly. Ad campaigns change. Ads within a campaign change regularly. Some ads are seen only a few times, and then replaced within a 30-day cycle.

Tradition is one of the major roadblocks to editorial change, a powerful force not easily overcome. “If it’s October, we’ve got to do the show issue”—that kind of thinking is paralysis in the current environment.

It all begins with a campaign plan. Revising and revamping your contributor guidelines is a golden opportunity to change the way you do editorial business. Get the magazine on a new track at ground level, and keep it there for purposes of editorial planning.

The editor’s job today goes beyond getting the magazine’s content right. As editorial sales manager (or event planner), your job is to SELL editorial, to stage the magazine as an ongoing advertisement for itself. This means creating events that are constantly evolving and changing so that each issue reads and looks “the same, only different” and, in doing so, arouses curiosity about the next issue.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: