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  • Making Sense of the Nonsensical Newsstand

    Making Sense of the Nonsensical Newsstand

    It has been a very interesting and active week for publishers everywhere. The news of Source Interlink ceasing operation and the release of 6,000 workers is dramatic and traumatic to say the least. To those that track the industry the news of SID closing is not a surprise, but perhaps the speed of the demise was.  Time Inc.'s announcement this week combined with the Bauer Publications' decision about three weeks ago to pull out of SID put the final nail in the coffin.

    As reported many times in my newsletter and in the New York Times recently, "In the last five years, the retail magazine business has shrunk 50 percent, to less than $3 billion. And while there were hundreds of magazine wholesalers in the 1990s, the industry has consolidated into just a few major players in recent years: Source Interlink, TNG and Hudson News."

    This turmoil has no end in sight. The sales we have lost as an industry in the last five years have little likelihood of returning. What we need to do is somewhere finally reach a sales plateau from which we can work on growth as an industry and as individual titles.

    For my part there is ongoing and absurd doggerel from some members of our industry that the newsstand is a small part of the publishing business and its fall has little to do with the health of the magazine business. This thinking is part of a larger identity problem we are having and is patently not true, at least not true for most of the magazine industry.

    The big guys -- you know who I mean -- don't really need the newsstand and have the bucks and the infrastructure to create and do as they will, and they will survive nicely, at least for a while. I do think their hugeness and current profits blind them from long term generational thinking. A newsstand presence gives a magazine and an entire industry visibility as an industry with the consumer. And conversely a lack of visibility breeds long term irrelevance. But perhaps that's the plan. The demise of an infrastructure not thought be needed by the current giants.

    Jill Davison, a Time Inc. spokeswoman, said recently, "The regional markets that Source Interlink served -- Southern California, Chicago, and the Mid-Atlantic States -- might face shortages of popular Time magazines like People and Sports Illustrated for up to 12 weeks."

    Disruption in the newsstand field for 3 months at least is lost sales, the kind that will never come back. Humans are creatures of habit. This disruption will no doubt create new non-newsstand habits in some of our old and trusted readers, thereby hastening an already depressed newsstand.  Is there another interpretation that I am missing? CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted June 02, 2014
    (0) Comments

  • Stop Looking for Innovation on the Newsstand

    Stop Looking for Innovation on the Newsstand

    Last week, PBS MediaShift ran a piece on how to measure multi-platform success for print magazines, which amounted to three brief interviews with magazine industry insiders. One of them was Samir Husni, well-known as Mr. Magazine and a professor at the University of Mississippi. The article stated:

     

    Husni argues that digital magazines not paired with print publications are worth little, in financial terms. "They have no monetary value. I don't know of a single digital-only magazine since the iPad came out that's making money, that has any source of revenue, if it doesn't have a print counterpart.'"

     

    His statement is so demonstrably false that I quickly tweeted my disagreement, and left it at that.

     

    But I kept thinking about it-and getting angry. Samir Husni is widely considered a thought leader in the magazine industry, and his "counts" of new magazine launches in print or on newsstand are widely reported.

     

    Why do we care about this count in the first place? Who does it matter to, and what does it have to do with the future of the magazine business? Should the health of the magazine industry be evaluated by newsstand or print visibility, in an era of declining newsstand and print sales?

     

    And, ultimately, who thinks it's a good idea to base any aspect of a new magazine's business model on newsstand sales? CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

    by Jane Friendman
    Posted May 28, 2014
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  • Who's Reading Digital Magazines?

    Who's Reading Digital Magazines?

    Not editors. A survey reveals only a minority are digital subscribers themselves.

    http://bit.ly/1koBuRz 

    www.editorsonly.com.

     
    We did a quick survey about reading habits and practices of editors vis-a-vis digital magazines. The results show: editors are digital pushers, not users. What this means is that we are doing more digital publishing than digital reading.  That's an interesting dichotomy to ponder as you plan the digital future of your publication. If we are not eager adopters of digital magazines, what makes us think our readers will be?

    The Push for Digital
    A lot of the push for migrating from print to digital is based on financial arguments. Many magazines never recovered from ad losses incurred in the Great Recession. Attempts to reinvigorate print ad content may have failed. That's prompted hopes for digital revenues to make up the shortfall.

    A lot of statistics bandied about suggest that print is indeed dying and that digital is the key to survival for magazines. We examined this issue in our sister publication STRAT in October 2013 in an article titled"The False Allure of Going All Digital." We found evidence that interest in digital advertising greatly exceeds that of print advertising. See Figure 1.



    Figure 1: Interest in digital advertising far exceeds that with print. The graph exemplifies this in relative terms. (Source: Google Trends)

    Some ad industry publications harp on the meteoric growth in digital advertising. But they often quote figures in terms of percentages, not dollars. When you look at the dollars, you see a different picture: for now, and even projecting into the future, the actual revenue from digital advertising is a relatively small percentage. See Figure 2

    CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE

    By William Dunkerley
    Posted May 01, 2014
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: Truth Or Consequences

    BoSacks Speaks Out: Truth Or Consequences

    A while ago I wrote the following about Native Advertising. My feelings today are a quite a bit stronger than what I wrote here, but I will stand by my older softer rant.

    Leave it to the wordsmiths of the publishing universe to dismiss the great bard's advice and call an old cabbage, a rose with a piquant odor.  There is a big debate going on in our industry and under all the fluff and misdirection, it is about lying and deceiving our public.

    This pox on our industry is called Native Advertising. What a brilliant use of words, so clean sounding and innocent. It is nothing more or less than the selling out of our souls and our integrity for less than a fleeting buck. An editor should understand advertising and how any publication works, survives and creates revenue.  But neither an editor nor a disguised editorial page should ever be advertising in hiding. Such a situation dilutes the whole foundation of our small universe and stains journalism in putrid colors. If one of your articles is suspect, the whole publication is corrupted and suspected to be what it is - a shill for promoting something and anything for a fee. It is the prostitution of an industry suffering from the lack of a spine and the lost business creativity to produce honest revenue.

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted April 29, 2014
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  • Finally the answer to search for the Magazine Media Business

    Finally the answer to search for the Magazine Media Business


    BoSacks Interview with Gavin Gillas CEO of The Magazine Channel -

     

    Finally the answer to search for the Magazine Media Business - the Pandora for Magazine Content

     

     

    BoSacks - You are involved in a new format for digital distribution of magazines. What is it and how does it work?

     

    Gavin Gillas - We developed STACKS by starting with the digital-first consumer--the one that whips out her phone while waiting in line, the one who grabs his iPad off the nightstand the first thing in the morning to catch up on the news, the multi-tasker, the person on the go.  Our team realized that music, video, and news had all adapted to these consumers, while magazines were still finding their way.  STACKS starts that reader out with complete choice over what to read and where to share it.  We focused on articles as the core part of the magazine experience.  We as consumers buy music by singles, watch movie trailers, listen to soundbites - so our team found an easier way to dive into new magazines.  STACKS does a beautiful job of presenting magazine content and recommending related articles and topics. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted April 15, 2014
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: Interpreting the Sober Facts and True Conditions of our Industry

    BoSacks Speaks Out: Interpreting the Sober Facts and True Conditions of our Industry

    BoSacks Speak Out: Sometimes I just have to put the tequila aside and deliver a sobering report to the industry to offset some irrational exuberance.  I do this because I love the magazine media industry, and I don't want anyone to misinterpret the facts and true conditions of our industry.

    First, we are not dead, dying or otherwise crippled into irrelevance.  Print will be around for generations to come and be loved and cherished by many. That being said, whatever you read elsewhere, we are still and continue to be in a position of readjustment and weight loss. We are no longer the dominant player we once were. Sure there are more magazines than ever before, but that notation is irrelevant when you consider the fact that we continue to sell fewer and fewer magazines year in and year out.  And revenue, despite many singular and quite excellent print successes, continues to decline in the industry.  The pinnacle for magazines based on quantity is long gone and a decade in the past.  Click Here for the full Article

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted April 05, 2014
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  • BoSacks Interview: Andrew Clurman, President & COO of Active Interest Media

    BoSacks Interview: Andrew Clurman, President & COO of Active Interest Media

    BoSacks: Watching our industry in the throes of on-going disruption and observing how some companies react and adapt while others remain static and decline is an invaluable exercise. In defining a roadmap for successful publishing, what are some key attributes you are using as successful information distributor in the 21st century?

    Andrew Clurman: Today's operative words at AIM are diversification and proliferation.   We are continually finding seams within the verticals we're in of unfilled audience interests and needs.   With more ways than ever before at our disposal to serve those interests in the form of print, multi-media, live events, education, and services, the opportunities seem limitless.   Building real businesses in areas that may be unfamiliar though adjacent to what we've traditionally done takes a commitment to taking risks and redefining ourselves constantly.   Magazine publisher, film producer, email marketer, digital merchandiser, community leader, insurance salesman, adjunct professor, tow truck driver, audience developer, revenue arbitrager, and dock worker, are just a few of the hundreds of job descriptions we have at AIM - few of which existed in our company when we started 10 years ago.  

     BoSacks: What are some of the new revenue opportunities you hope to take hold of over the next several years?

    Andrew Clurman: The fastest growing part of our business has been our events business that now drives over 50% of AIM's contribution.   We are introducing new events in untapped markets such as the first ever boat show in Panama City, Panama this summer as well as a number of new Yoga events throughout North America.   Additionally, we also think we can grow our existing events by enhancing them with digital extensions to allow greater participation.   For example, we conduct fifteen "Log Home Universities" around the country where couples spend a day learning all there is to know about designing and building their log home.   We've limited the cities we go to only because our teaching staff can only travel so many weekends. By creating a distance learning version of these events we think we can dramatically expand their reach. The appetite of our audience for in-depth information on horses, boats, homes, healthy living, and outdoor skills and destinations gives us many ways to grow.  CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE




    by Bob Sacks
    Posted March 18, 2014
    (0) Comments

  • David Carr: Journalism Is Still Serious, Just Different

    David Carr: Journalism Is Still Serious, Just Different

    New York Times columnist and Bloomberg's Andrew Lack on how technology is making media more interesting

     

    In September, New York Times media columnist David Carr will convene his first class at the College of Communication, where he is the inauguralAndrew R. Lack Professor, a post dedicated to the exploration of new business models that might support serious journalism in the years ahead. Carr is well-suited for the position, which was created last year by gifts from Bloomberg Media Group chairman Andrew Lack (CFA'68) and from the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation. Carr's weekly "Media Equation" column routinely reports on the technologies and business models that are transforming journalism.

     

    BU Today asked Carr and Lack, whose responsibilities have included the pursuit of business models that would sustain Bloomberg Media without support from other business units, to share their thoughts about the future of journalism. Their discussion is moderated by Thomas Fiedler (COM'71), dean of COM and former executive editor of the Miami Herald. The three experts got together in early February in a newsroom at Bloomberg Media. The dialogue below has been excerpted from their conversation. It is not a verbatim transcript. The discussion is available in full in the video above. CLICK HERE FOR THIS AMAZING ARTICLE
    Posted March 14, 2014
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  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Rate Base, NS Distributors, Mag Circ and more

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Rate Base, NS Distributors, Mag Circ and more


    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: PULP FICTION? The Candid Conversation about Rate Base

    Bob:  I have worried for years that if everyone got a handle on their rate base and printed magazines closer to the actual sell through, that us "paper guys" would be out of business even faster than we are seeing.  I hope, from my side of the fence, that they continue to do the stupid things they have been doing. 

    (Submitted by a paper salesperson)

     

    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: PULP FICTION? The Candid Conversation about Rate Base

    Bob, nobody else in the industry could have written that article. Bravo to you for saying out loud what everybody else whispers. We need a better system of accountability without the inherent fraud. Numbers do matter, and we need them, but not the numbers worked out from a time of plenty and no competition. The earth and publishing is no longer flat. We need better systems.

    (Submitted by a Print advertising sales person)

      

    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: PULP FICTION? The Candid Conversation about Rate Base

    Bo, I agree completely with your comments and the consensus of industry leaders on rate bases.  I think the reason there is so much resistance to moving away from them is that most senior magazine publishing executives with decision making power have grown up with circulation guarantees, rate bases and advertising driven business models.  Change is tough, especially when there is risk associated with it.

     

    Maybe publishers can find a way to group together (without collusion) to gradually move to a different business model with less risk.  I'm sure that most consumer marketers would be very comfortable and could improve their bottom lines if relieved of the rate base restriction.

    (Submitted by an Industry Consultant) 

     CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE
    by Bob Sacks
    Posted February 22, 2014
    (0) Comments

  • The BoSacks Interview: Don Peschke, Publisher of August Home

    The BoSacks Interview: Don Peschke, Publisher of August Home


     

    What must the successful business model contain for today and tomorrow?

    Is there room here for a Parallel Universe? (Print and electrons)

    In a word: compelling content. Okay, that's two words, but you get my point. In the past, as publishers we tended to think in duals: editorial and advertising, print and digital.

     

    However, there is only one mandatory asset for a successful publishing model: content that people want to read (or look at, or watch, or listen to). And for it to be a successful business model, it also must be compelling in a way that brings you back for the next installment.

     

    As for a Parallel Universe, I think there are actually dozens of parallel universes. If we think only in terms of print vs. digital, we're missing the point.

     

    Content is essentially the experience of the consumer. The delivery system can both alter and enhance that experience.

     

    At August Home, we push content through a delivery sieve to get dozens of streams. Magazines, SIP's, books, (the print we're accustomed to) as well as web sites, email, blogs, apps, videos, live events, webcasts, TV shows.

     

    The domain of publishing is vast - because there is not just one big group of consumers. There are many. Hence, many ways to reach them in a way they want to be reached.

     

    At August Home we call it "surrounding our customers with service." It's not one customer, or one group of customers. There are many groups. Our job is to provide content the way each group of customers wants to receive it (each group's preferred delivery system). 

    CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW
    by Bob Sacks
    Posted February 21, 2014
    (0) Comments

Publishing Executive E-Media

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Folio

  • RBI Sells Reed Construction Data, RSMeans

    Reed Business Information has been relatively quiet since divesting or closing big chunks of its publishing business in the aftermath of the recession, but the company made more significant M&A moves this week. RBI announced it's sold a 51 percent stake in Reed Construction Data to Warburg Pincus, a New Y

    July 22, 2014 Read More

  • Sources Say Advanstar for Sale

    Reuters is reporting that Advanstar Communications is "exploring a sale that could fetch more than $900 million." The news agency cites only "people familiar with the matter.&

    July 18, 2014 Read More

  • Forbes Sold to International Investor Group

    Forbes Media has announced that it's agreed to sell a majority stake in the company to Integrated Whale Media Investments (IWM), a newly formed group of investors based in Hong Kong. Terms weren't disclosed, though reports say the deal valued Forbes at $475 million—well above both a

    July 18, 2014 Read More

Adage Digital

  • How Medieval History Brought This Analytics VP Into the Data Age

    When Kevin Lyons says he tries to learn continually on the job, he means it. The first person in his family to earn a college degree, the senior VP of analytics at digital data firm Exelate took a decidedly roundabout way to get into ad tech. Indeed, with educational and professional experience as diverse as medieval history, insurance sales and data science, it's no wonder Mr. Lyons is contacted...

    July 22, 2014 Read More

  • Ad Age Launches Search for the Best Places to Work

    At the end of the day, advertising is a talent business. That's why Ad Age is seeking out the best places to work in several of the industries we cover: ad agencies, ad tech and media. We'll celebrate the top-ranked companies in each sector in our Best Places to Work 2014 report, out in November. To enter, register here: www.adage.com/bestplaces The deadline is Aug. 18.Ad Age works with Buck...

    July 22, 2014 Read More

  • Yahoo Buys Flurry to Build Mobile Network, Including Native Ads

    Yahoo has lost its hold of the desktop display advertising market. Now the portal is trying to get a grip on mobile.Yahoo has agreed to acquire mobile ad-tech firm Flurry, the company said today, making a bid to boost its mobile ad revenue and offset its desktop business's years-long decline.Scott Burke, senior VP-advertising technology, Yahoo, suggested that the company plans to use Flurry to...

    July 21, 2014 Read More

  • Yahoo to Show Full-Length Movie From Weinstein Co. Before Theatrical Release

    Yahoo is extending its reach in video content with the early release of a full-length film.The largest U.S. web portal will show "One Chance," a movie from Weinstein Co., on its Yahoo Screen service this fall, the companies said today in a statement. The studio, also behind such movies as "August: Osage County" and "Philomena," will release the film in U.S. theaters after its debut online.Yahoo...

    July 21, 2014 Read More

Unbound Media

  • Great Reads: The Million Dollar Podcast & Digital World Cup Victories

    How One Podcast Turned into a Million Dollar Business John Lee Dumas spent many years jumping from one career field to the next. He tried finance, real estate and even the Army. Those things just weren't doing it for him, so he decided to launch an interview-based business podcast called EntrepreneurOnFire. Dumas was inspired to create EntrepreneurOnFire because as an avid podcast...

    Jillean Kearney
    July 21, 2014
    Read More

  • Great Reads: Sports Illustrated's Big Scoop & Making the Most of Casual Encounters

    How SI Scooped the LeBron James Story Last week, Sports Illustrated broke a huge story when it published a first-person essay told by LeBron James — as told to senior writer Lee Jenkins — announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers next season. AdWeek spoke to SI's managing editor Chris Stone about the story. On how the story came together: "It was an idea that Lee had been...

    Jillean Kearney
    July 14, 2014
    Read More

  • Best of Bo: BuzzFeed's Media Disruption & Time Inc's Winning Facebook Strategy

    BuzzFeed: A Case Study in Media Disruption BuzzFeed has become the subject of a Harvard Business School case study, because according to the media company's founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, he's changing the media industry in the same way that Toyota and Honda disrupted the American automotive market in the 70s and 80s. "When people first started noticing us," Peretti told the Harvard Business...

    Jillean Kearney
    July 11, 2014
    Read More


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What is the BoSacks FREE newsletter all about?

It is purely a very "personal" and slanted collection of news gathered daily over the Internet, which to me seems relevant and useful about the publishing industry.  I do this as a labor of love and to keep myself as up to date as is possible with the ever changing and advancing "Information Distribution Industry" formerly known as "Publishing".

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The price for this service is nothing. It is Free.  It is just as easy for me to copy three or four of my industry friends as it is to carbon copy the current list of 16,500 publishing professionals.

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