Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


IMG Worldwide – a Literary Agency PLUS!

A little insight into the inner management and the movement of managers within the magazine, book and media industries.
For those of you who have not heard of IMG (International Management Group) Worldwide, I am introducing you now.

IMG is the world’s largest sports talent and marketing agency, operating in some 30 countries. They also are a top modeling agency…handling some of the world’s top models such as Giselle Bundchen and Liv Tyler…BUT, guess what? They are also a literary agency, represent corporate clients and are involved in real estate and golf course design, etc, etc…

What brought IMG to my attention was reading that Tom Florio, who just left Conde Nast’s Vogue magazine as Group Publisher after 25 years, was hired by IGM as senior advisor for fashion to the chairman, himself.

Nat Ives,, wrote this for Cain’s New York Business:

Tom Florio lands at IMG Worldwide

Former Vogue publisher will seek new ventures for IMG’s fashion operations.

It’s not the chief executive position he said he was seeking when he left his post as group publisher at Vogue last June, but Tom Florio does have a new job: IMG Worldwide, the sports and media giant, has named him to the newly created post of senior adviser for fashion to the office of the chairman.

IMG’s fashion operations include producing events such as Fashion Week in New York; publications such as The Daily, which covers Fashion Week in New York; and the modeling agency IMG Models.

In this post, Mr. Florio will be tasked with identifying new, “high-margin” products across IMG’s fashion-related businesses, according to the company. “Tom has outstanding credentials and a proven track record of taking businesses and creating high growth opportunities around them,” IMG Chief Executive Ted Forstmann said in a statement.

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Readers Digest Morphing into 24 New Products

Readers Digest, one of my all-time fave magazines, just emerged from bankruptcy last February and has struggled somewhat. Now RD is moving forward while at the same time going back to it’s roots as a content distiller. RD has just finished a restructure that will get it into the world of websites, mobile apps, newsletters and a new book imprint.

This is exciting stuff for RD and I’m looking forward to viewing the finished products.

Here is more by Matthew Flamm from Crain’s New York Business:

Reader’s Digest will be going back to its roots—and saving money—with a redesign that will launch in January and turn the 88-year-old magazine into a distilled version of mostly repackaged content, said company executives who unveiled their plans for the flagship brand of the Reader’s Digest Association on Tuesday morning.

The company, which emerged from bankruptcy in February, will launch a new website, called the Reader’s Digest Version, as well as a daily e-mail newsletter and a book imprint, both under the name Best You, presenting health and wellness information targeted exclusively to women. The company published several test issues of Best You as a magazine in the last year before pulling the plug.

Reader’s Digest will also step up its newsstand-only publications, adding five new special interest magazines for a total of 13 in 2011, and launch one new mobile application each month. The apps will be built around familiar Reader’s Digest elements like humor and home repairs.

Altogether, the brand will be introducing 24 new products over the course of the next year. The announcements coincided with the company moving its headquarters into midtown Manhattan from its longtime home in Pleasantville, N.Y., as part of the consolidation that followed the bankruptcy.

“What people need is selection,” said Daniel Lagani, president of Reader’s Digest Media, at Tuesday morning’s event. “It’s a return to the brand’s role as the original curator of content.” He added that the many different elements launching next year will be treated as “one entity” and pitched to advertisers as “brand centered, not platform centered.”

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Video In Print Magazines
Ever since Entertainment Weekly put a video (chip?) in an issue of their print magazine awhile back I have been mesmerized with the concept. Now Meredith Corp.’s Successful Farming has included a video ad in their August issue.

I am still like a kid in an astrology lab, being completely blown away with all the new wonderment! This video-in-print-pages process, I admit, I don’t understand…but, I’m just flabbergasted by the whole reality of it!

Jason Fell, FOLIO magazine, wrote this fine piece today about video in print:

It was only a matter of time before more print magazines followed Entertainment Weekly’s footsteps and start incorporating video elements into their print magazines. Next up on the list is Meredith Corp.’s Successful Farming, which partnered with advertiser Bayer CropScience to develop a video insert that appeared in the August issue.

According to publisher Scott Mortimer, Successful Farming and the pesticide company—through its communications agency Rhea+Kaiser—began collaborating on the initiative more than six months ago. The ad, for Bayer’s Votivo product, is a four-page insert that includes a two-inch-by-two-inch video screen on page 20 of the magazine. The screen plays an opening message when a reader opens to the page and then four additional videos depending on which buttons the reader pushes.

The video ad insert was distributed to 17,000 of Successful Farming’s subscribers. The magazine helped cross reference its sub list with the Bayer CropScience’s database in order to target the most qualified potential customers for the Votivo product.

Read more and see a demonstatiion video at


What are Shelter Magazines? And Which are Surviving?

Filed under: journalism,magazine publishing,magazines,shelter magazines — gator1965 @ 4:32 pm

Just what are shelter magazines? According to ‘shelter magazine’ is a publishing trade term used to indicate a segment of the U.S. magazine market, designating a periodical publication with an editorial focus on interior design, architecture, home furnishings, and often gardening.

Some examples of shelter mags:

Architectural Digest
Better Homes and Gardens
Country Life in America, 1901-1942.
Country Living
Dwell (magazine)
Desert Magazine
Elle Decor
Garden Design
House Beautiful
Martha Stewart Living
Metropolitan Home

Having established what a shelter mag is and given examples of a few, which ones are surviving in the present chaotic publishing landscape where so many mags have been mowed over like dead weeds?

Jason Fell of FOLIO magazine has the answer with numbers to illustrate (interesting stuff) in the following article:

Over the last several weeks, the editorial leaders at the industry’s top shelter magazines have been playing a game of musical chairs, much like the executives at the big publishing companies that own them. The most recent move came at Condé Nast’s Architectural Digest, where longtime editor Paige Rense Noland retired and was replaced by Margaret Russell, the editor-in-chief of Hachette’s Elle Décor. Michael Boodro, Elle Décor’s executive editor, is serving as acting editor-in-chief.

Elsewhere, Stephen Drucker, who had served as editor-in-chief of Hearst’s House Beautiful, jumped to sister title Town&Country, and was replaced by style director Newell Turner. Hearst’s Veranda named Dara Caponigro, style director at now-defunct Domino, as editor, replacing founding editor Lisa Newsom. And Time Inc.’s Southern Living recently appointed former Cottage Living editor Eleanor Griffin as vice president of brand development.

“These changes mean there’s a ‘wanted-ness’ in the shelter category, both in terms of readership and those who want to work in this category,” says House Beautiful publisher Kate Kelly Smith. “From a business perspective, it may be a challenge to some titles because some advertisers like consistency and any changes mean their brands may not resonate as well.”

In terms of business, now that the big shelter magazine die-off—spurred on by the housing market collapse and pullback in advertising dollars across the publishing industry—appears to have slowed if not stopped altogether, the forecast for the remaining titles seems to be that while the category overall is rebounding, the general market is still lagging. “Some aspects of the category are showing modest rebounding, but more mass-targeted brands are coming back slowly,” says Chris Allen, publisher of Hearst’s Country Living, which targets the shelter lifestyle market.

Meredith’s category monster, Better Homes & Gardens (7.6 million circ) saw ad pages through the first half grow 6.8 percent to 823.92, according to Publishers Information Bureau figures. Percentage-wise, Elle Décor had the best first six months, with ad pages shooting up 15.6 percent to 474.16.

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Condé Nast is Going Tech for Sure

Filed under: Conde Nast,digital magazine publishing,Joe Simon,magazines — gator1965 @ 3:08 pm

Condé Nast has hired a big gun in digital publishing, marketing and management away from cable TV’s Viacom…namely Joe Simon. His newly created and first-time-ever position at Condé is that of Chief Technology Officer.

The re-structured Condé Nast is diving into the digital survival waters following other magazine that are enjoying a revival of ad pages and profit margins.

For those that do not realize the extent of the Condé Nast high end, fashion, nutrition and luxury magazine empire, I will list all the magazines published by them here:

Nutrition Data
Teen Vogue
Architectural Digest
Golf Digest
Golf World
Vanity Fair
Bon Appétit
Condé Nast Traveler
Hotel Chatter
Vegas Chatter
Ars Technica
The New Yorker

Matthew Flamm, of Craine’s New York Business, gives more details of the Condé Nast restructuring, the hiring of Joe Simon and what it means for the future of Condé Nast here


Is Magazine Publishing Smoking the Victory Cigar Once Again?

Filed under: magazine ads up,magazine revenue up,magazines — gator1965 @ 2:44 pm

Today I discovered that, in the world of magazine publishing, both ad pages and revenue are up! Does this mean that the print mags are making a comeback?


This report comes from Matthew Flamm of Crain’s New York Business:

The last time both benchmarks bumped upward was end of 2007. Automotive ads were biggest driver of modest overall increase for the industry.

Magazines may not be quite out of the tunnel, but they’re certainly seeing light at the end of it.

Total magazine advertising pages rose 0.8% in the second quarter, to 43,427, while rate-card-reported revenue was up 5.7%, to $5.2 billion, compared with the year-ago period, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, which released the numbers on Monday.

The results mark the first time in nine quarters that the magazine industry has seen gains in both ad pages and revenue. The last time that happened was in the fourth quarter of 2007.

“Magazines are benefiting from what appears to be an advertising economic lift,” said Nina Link, chief executive of Magazine Publishers of America, the trade organization that operates Publishers Information Bureau, in a statement. She credits renewed investment from key advertising categories, including automotive, finance, real estate, toiletries and cosmetics.

The biggest jump came from automotive, which spent $338 million on magazines in the second quarter, a spike of 41% over the same period in 2009. Ad pages in the category were up 28%.


Mobile Publishing Has a Ticket to Ride!

There is a plan afoot that just might rescue magazines and newspapers from a slow death and make them readily available online and profitable to boot!

The rescue is being carried out by the mobile digital devices flooding the market recently and the new mobiles waiting in the wings…such as the Dell Streak or the Samsung Galaxy.

John Kennedy writes this in the

Watch out Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is now in the digital news reader market having acquired Skiff, a Hearst-backed tech start-up that helps distribute newspaper and magazine content and could provide stiff competition to the iPad.

Murdoch has been one of the strongest proponents of building paywalls around newspapers and wants to follow on the success of successful properties like the Wall Street Journal and The Times of London.

Murdoch has acquired Skiff LLU (pictured above), a maker of a flexible news reader device, as well as a company called Journalism Online LLC, which is developing technology that helps publishers collect micro-payments from readers online.

He hopes that both acquisitions will lend support to his quest to help newspaper publishers be as profitable online as they once were in print.

The Skiff digital reader which Murdoch plans to bring to market later this year features an 11.5-inch grayscale touchscreen that allows users to download material wirelessly from Skiff’s online store.

The first material to feature on the Skiff digital reader will be the Financial Times, the New York Times, Forbes, Popular Mechanics, Random House and Simon & Schuster. The technology could also be licensed out to hardware from other manufacturers, appearing perhaps as an app on an Android phone or tablet computer.

Mobile publishing business to boom
The mobile publishing business is about to go stellar thanks to devices like the Apple iPad which have allowed publishers to redefine how news and magazine content is delivered online via apps. Magazines and newspapers that have delivered breakthrough iPad apps include Wired, Time magazine and the Financial Times, while news apps like the Pulse Reader, BBC News, Reuters News Pro and AP News are breaking new ground in online news distribution.

The online advertising side of the coin is also hard to ignore. Last week, Apple revealed that its iAd platform already has US$60m in ad bookings – 50pc of all North America’s mobile ads for H2 2010.

Quite rightly this has online publishers worried about whether they will be excluded from Apple’s devices – now almost 60pc of all mobile devices in the US – and led to the CEO of Google’s recently acquired AdMob expressing his concerns over recent changes to Apple’s terms for app developers.

Either way, for such a young market, the energy and competition about to be unleashed is mesmerising and with new devices entering the fray all the time like the Dell Streak or the Samsung Galaxy, a whole new paradigm in publishing is about to be unleashed with News Corp, Apple and Google currently leading the land grab.


Magazines Have an Advertising Perception Problem, Not a Consumer Problem

Some big players in the consumer magazine publishing industry are kicking off a campaign called Magazines, The Power of Print to remind people AND advertisers that print is still very much in demand despite new media choices.

This blogger thinks it’s about time some insightful publishing executives did this very astute “management thing.” The print industry is a shrinking medium but not a disappearing medium. And when the hoopla surrounding all the new digital gadgets becomes absorbed fully and all publishing mediums seek their natural levels, like water, print will still be a player and will probably even grow a little more due to new print technology such as e-ink and e-paper.

Anyway, Jason Fell of FOLIO magazine presented an excellent view from Michael Clinton (Hearst Magazine Publishing) on The Power of Print campaign:

Some of the biggest players in consumer magazine publishing kicked up a lot of buzz earlier this week when they announced the launch of “Magazines, The Power of Print.” The seven-month campaign is expected to roll out with the May issues (April 5 for weeklies) of nearly 100 print magazines and their Web sites. The purpose? To remind readers, and especially advertisers, that the print magazine medium is still very much alive, and kicking.

Since posting our news story about the campaign, I’ve heard a number of valid questions asked about it. First off, why now? To some, this sounds like an attempt (a few say a desperate one) to cling to a shrinking medium.

That’s not so, says Hearst Corp. executive vice president and publishing director Michael Clinton. In addition to Hearst, the campagin was formed jointly by Time Inc., Condé Nast, Meredith Corp. and Wenner Media. “It is a misperception that print is a shrinking medium,” Clinton told me this morning. “It is a growing medium—audiences are growing, subscriptions are growing, etc. The magazine business, collectively, has said that we have this incredibly dynamic medium that consumers love and spend money on, and we need to tell that story in a bigger way.

“The magazine world doesn’t have a consumer problem,” he added, “it has an advertising perception problem, among some advertisers.”

It’s hard to argue with that. According to the Publishers Information Bureau, advertising pages were down 25.6 percent in 2009, marking the 10th reported quarterly decline out of 11 since PIB began reporting on a quarterly basis in mid-2007. Shockingly, a mere 18 titles posted ad page gains in 2009.

Another problem some people I spoke with had about the “Power of Print” campaign was its seeming negative take on online/digital. In one ad, featuring Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, the page exclaims: “Magazines embrace you. The Internet is fleeting.” Clinton says the word “fleeting” is being misinterpreted. The campaign, he said, isn’t taking a shot at digital while propping up print.

“We’ll continue to spend millions of dollars on Web sites, and mobile and e-readers. It’s important that our magazine content be everywhere,” said Clinton. “The purpose of this campaign is to punctuate the vibrancy of our print products while we continue to expand on other platforms.”

For instance, he said, retailers “continue to invest millions in e-commerce and Web, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t opening new stores or that physical stores aren’t important to them anymore. It’s the same with magazines. Some people have said that the print product has lost its luster with consumers. The exact opposite is true.

“At the end of the day,” Clinton continued, “we want to listen to where the consumer is. Everyone says the consumer is online, and they are, but they are also fully engaged in print magazines.”


Reader’s Digest, Playboy, Others Miss Rate Base

A magazine’s “rate base”, as I understand it, is the rate charged to advertisers in the magazine and is related to the circulation figures of the magazine…The higher the circulation the higher the cost to advertise in the periodical since it reaches more potential buyers.

FOLIO magazine’s Jason Fell wrote an informative article on this subject today:

While many of the consumer magazines included in the Audit Bureau of Circulations’ FAS-FAX report for the second half of 2009 made their rate base requirements for the period, many others, including some heavyweights, did not.

Of the 30 or so large circulation magazines with rate bases of 2 million or higher—including AARP, Time and Better Home & Gardens—Reader’s Digest and Playboy were the only titles to fall short of their circ. guarantee. Playboy reported an overall circ. of 2,021,751, more than 570,000 off its 2.6 million rate base. The magazine also fell short during the first half of 2009, delivering a total paid and verified circ. of 2,453,266.

With an 8 million rate base, Reader’s Digest delivered an overall paid and verified circulation of 7,099,558 during the second half. Last summer, the magazine said it was cutting frequency and reducing its rate base to 5.5 million—an 18-month process that would start with the February 2010 issue. A Reader’s Digest spokesperson told FOLIO: that missing its rate base during the second half last year was part of that strategy.

Generally, when a magazine doesn’t make its rate base, its publisher is required to issue refunds to its advertisers or make other concessions.

A number of celebrity titles also had trouble reaching their minimum circ. numbers during the second half of 2009. Among them were American Media’s Star (1.1 million rate base compared to 1,035,713 overall circ.), OK! (800,000 rate base vs. 753,886 overall circ.) and Bauer’s In Touch (800,000 rate base vs. 790,395 overall circ.).

Chicago-based Johnson Publishing also failed to reach its circ. promises. Ebony reported an overall circ of 1,169,870 compared to a rate base of 1,250,000. Jet, meanwhile, missed its 900,000 rate base, reporting an overall circ of only 795,055.

Other notable titles that missed rate bases were Harper’s (200,000 rate base vs. 195,114 overall circ.), Soap Opera Digest (500,000 rate base vs. 487,629 overall circ.) and Emmis Publishing’s Los Angeles (150,000 rate base vs. 140,022 overall circ.).

Biggest Overall Gainers

Although the vast majority of magazines claiming rate bases saw overall total paid and verified circulation declines during the last six months last year, some in fact reported significant gains. The biggest growth came from Rodale’s Women’s Health, which saw overall circ grow 21.5 percent to 1,454,545.

That was followed by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s Body + Soul (+19.7 percent to 678,136), Birds & Blooms (+14.7 percent to 1,737,397), Meredith’s Siempre Mujer (+11.8 percent to 458,000) and All You (+10.6 percent to 1,023,242).

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