Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


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.

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Mag Publishers Branching Out

In order to save money, and also seek new revenue in non-traditional functions, magazine publishers are taking on related tasks usually contracted out to vendors. Actually they are strengthening their own vertical (business model) in-house capability.

These tasks include such things as launching all kinds of media products, from Web sites to custom publishing, virtual events, databases, books, supplements and spinoffs…Afterall, if you’re going to branch out you might as well stick to your core business and who knows what a publisher needs more than a publisher?

This magazine publishing branch-out (or in-house vertical strengthening, as I like to call it) kind of reminds me of what writers (novel writers as well as others) have had to do to break loose from traditional publishing “slush piles” and non-action by learning and taking on more of the tasks performed by publishing houses in the past…This all was made more possible and easier through the new digital technology. Let’s all drink a scotch on the rocks to that!

Tony Silber and Matt Kinsman, reporting for FOLIO magazine, analyze it this way:

When Publishers Become Vendors

Dave Schankweiler, CEO and publisher of Journal Publications Inc., a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania regional publisher, remembers the day he became not just a publisher, but a vendor to publishers too.

Back in 2004, the company, which publishes the Central Penn Business Journal, Central Penn Parent, and NJ Biz, launched a new survey, called Best Companies in Pennsylvania. It used an outside survey firm to do the first report. The night the winners were presented was a huge success. “That night,” Schankweiler remembers, “it was loud, and there was a countdown and a lot of excitement. And that’s exactly when we decided to change the company, because we were coming down from the high of the event. We said, ‘Why don’t we take this out into the market and do it as a service to other publishing companies?’ ”

Magazine publishers are by nature entrepreneurial types. They like to tinker with their businesses. They’re incessantly launching all kinds of media products, from Web sites to custom publishing, events, databases, books, supplements, spinoffs. But there aren’t a lot like Dave Schankweiler. Most media companies tend to stick to their knitting and limit their creative impulses to media products.

Some companies, though, are transforming themselves into a different kind of hybrid, media companies that have branched out into businesses traditionally occupied by publishing-industry vendors. Gulfstream Media, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based regional publisher is one. Gulfstream is the parent company of Magazine Manager, a popular ad-sales management software. UBM’s TechWeb is another. TechWeb created UBM Studios, which develops in-house virtual events for tech publisher UBM as well as for external clients.

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U.S News & World Report Abandons ‘print’ Ship!

A venerable old weekly print news mag (it was reduced to monthly in November 2008) is riding off into it’s last sunset (the last issue is this month)…

BUT, the U.S. News & World Report will re-appear in digital clothes with an expanded online edition that will appear 8 times per year and definitly include it’s famous “list” issues…you remember them: the best colleges, hospitals, etc.

Here is a great eulogy delivered by big fan Greg Brown of FOLIO magazine:

Right about now, you should be getting your last printed copy of U.S. News & World Report.

Sad, isn’t it? I grew up a fan of the old weekly. I was reading “Washington Whispers” while most of my high school friends were flipping through ratty comic books or talking about MTV.

I looked down a bit on Newsweek and Time as hopelessly sleepy, middle-of-the-road books. Reading USN&WR was like belonging to a club. An annoying, smarty-pants club. The closest thing to it, probably, was The Economist, and I wouldn’t geek out that much for another few years.

I won’t miss it.

Why? Well, because, frankly, I don’t miss it now. I haven’t subscribed in years. I am part of the problem: They had me young (the marketer’s dream) and now I’m in the thick of my earning years. Yet you won’t find U.S. News in my house. I read a few mags here and there, but not one “newsweekly.”

It’s simple really. If TV has become a form of Internet for the disconnected, then newsweeklies are even further behind the curve. I can’t read newspapers and print anymore. I read way, way too much online, all the time. Nearly anything and everything you care to print and mail to me, I have already seen, absorbed, and likely forgotten.

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Market Intelligence for the Professional Publishing Industry

In the digital publishing age a balance needs to be created between the customers’ desire for immediate accessability at any time to enriched text (enhanced with audio, video, three-dimensional objects, full text searching, note taking, etc) and “…publishers’ needs for financial self-sustainability.”

We are at the age where researchers can access works in the form of e-books that are accessable at any time and any place and never go out of print!

This is heavy neatness to the extreme. Publishing and content are moving at warp speed!

Simba Information, publishing and media intelligence and analysis, has outlined a report that exemplifies the ongoing depth of analysis required in this transition time in the publishing industry:

Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries

Electronic books offer creative possibilities for expanding access as well as changing learning behavior and academic research. Content can always be accessible, regardless of time or place, to be read on PCs or on portable book readers. Books need never go out of print, and new editions can be easily created. One can carry several titles at once on a portable reader and, over time, build a personal library.

Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries examines how libraries are turning to e-books to strike a balance between patrons’ demands for openness and convenience and publishers’ needs for financial self-sustainability.

Features such as full text searching, changeable font size, mark-up, citation creation, and note taking are enhancing usability. Print text can be integrated with multi-dimensional objects, sound, and film to create a whole new kind of monographic work.

The report examines questions such as:

– What happens to e-book usage when barriers to inconvenience are removed?
– When patrons can have easy access to scholarly e-books, what does their usage look like and what does this predict   for the future of these types of resources?
– Are these innovative models more or less fiscally sound than their traditional counterparts?
– What will make e-books a viable part of academic library collections?
– What features, rights, business models, hardware and software standards are needed to meet the goals of large academic library systems to support open scholarly exchange?

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U.S. News & World Report Exiting Print

A sign of the times for many magazines: moving away from print and jumping headlong into digital editions.

Digital has also received a booster shot in the arm by mobile gadgets, the current fad and choice of the “new” avant-garde.

Anyway, I’ve always been a big fan of U.S. News (and their neato “best of” lists) and am glad they will not die an untimely death…as others have.

This report from the staff of U.S. News:

Responding to changing habits in the media marketplace, U.S. News Media Group announced that it will discontinue its subscription-based monthly print magazine, going to newsstand and targeted-distribution print publishing while expanding its array of successful digital products.

In 2011, U.S. News will publish eight newsstand print publications focused on single topics, including its Best Colleges and Best Hospitals rankings franchises. Subscribers to the monthly print magazine will have the remainder of their subscriptions filled by other publications.

“This allows us to continue to grow our online business and position ourselves to take advantage of the emerging platforms for distributing information,” says company president Bill Holiber.

The website,, now averages more than 9 million monthly unique visitors. The site emphasizes U.S. News’s traditional strength as a provider of journalism and useful consumer information including a growing range of rankings and research content. In addition to the well-known college and hospital rankings, hosts data and tools that allow consumers to evaluate mutual funds, high schools, cars, online education, health plans, and more. A ranking of Best Law Firms launched in September and a travel site based on finding the best vacation options is in the beta phase. Congress Tracker, an extensive data base allowing citizens to examine the records of every member of Congress, is part of an expanding group of public policy tools.

U.S. News Weekly is a digital magazine that debuted in 2009 and is being adapted for iPad and other tablet devices.

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Magazines: Going From Dimensional to Digital

This post is about the first D2D (Dimensional to Digital) Conference sponsored by the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA). This conference will examine in detail the magazine industry’s problems with transitioning from paper to digital across a multi-channel and multi-device world AND monetizing in the new mediae as well!

Extremely interesting! Folks in journalism listen up…


RAMP CEO to discuss use of metadata for magazine publishers’ online initiatives at Magazine Publishers of America (MPA) event in NYC on 16 June 2010.

John’s Note: Metadata is loosely defined as data about data. Though this definition is easy to remember, it is not very precise. The strength of this definition is in recognizing that metadata is data. As such, metadata can be stored and managed in a database, often called a registry or repository. However, it is impossible to identify metadata just by looking at it. We don’t know when data is metadata or just data.[1] Metadata is a concept that applies mainly to electronically archived data and is used to describe the a) definition, b)structure and c) administration of data files with all contents in context to ease the use of the captured and archived data for further use. Web pages often include metadata in the form of meta tags.

RAMP, the industry’s leading Content Optimization platform for major online media publishers, announced today that RAMP CEO, Tom Wilde, will be a featured speaker at the Dimensional to Digital (D2D) conference organized by the Magazine Publishers of America on June 16 to discuss digital platforms and publishing for the magazine industry.

The panel entitled- “Metadata Rules: The Rules for Making Metadata the Currency of Digital Content”, will be held at 9:25 am at the Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W 18th Street, New York City.

Other featured panelists are: Chris Grosso, SVP, Emerging Digital Business, NBC Universal; Nate Treloar, Principal Search Technology Evangelist, Microsoft; and Seth Earley, President, Earley & Associates.

About RAMP

RAMP is an advanced Content Optimization SaaS (Software as as Service) platform providing publishers’ workflow, discovery and engagement solutions to drive monetization of online content to users’ search and browsing behavior. RAMP offers publishers an open, flexible and modular capability to optimize large amounts of content, including text, audio, video and images, within dynamic publishing environments. As a result, publishers’ content becomes positioned for discovery and precise targeting, both on search engines and within publishers’ own websites. RAMP maximizes the value of publishers’ content while reducing costs.

Leading publishers using RAMP include NBCU, FOXNews, DowJones, Meredith, Comcast, and others. For more information visit:, or contact us at

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