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  • The Mystery of Magazine Numbers Revealed

    The Mystery of Magazine Numbers Revealed

    BoSacks Speaks Out:  My friend Samir Husni has penned a short essay and complaint about "numbers" used in our industry for purposes of industry review and analysis (See below). He bemoans the way some media reporters publish stats on the number of new titles in each quarter, and he wishes that they reached out to him for his extensive collected number of new launches. I suggest that his collection of data is very large, unique and probably the most definitive.

     

    It is true that the numbers we read in the trade press are varied and terribly inconsistent. From my perspective as an industry insider, it has always been fun to see the numbers and the constant surplus of new titles. That being said, I am using Samir's essay to launch my own observations about data in our industry in a week of many numbers which, although interesting to read, are for the most part irrelevant and misleading.

     

    Let's start with the number of new titles in each quarter. As counterintuitive as it may seem, the number of new titles has nothing to do with the vibrancy of our industry. (See chart.)  

    Skyrocketing number of magazines in red and plummeting total circ in yellow. (Thanks to Dr. Joe Webb for the chart) 


    In fact, the number of new magazines we make is a red herring to our actual vibrancy. The only stat that matters is how many magazines we sell, and those numbers have been dropping since 2007 to a loss of over 50% in newsstand sales and, depending upon who you talk to, 18% in subs. 

    FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted July 05, 2015
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  • Thoughts on MAGNET 2015 Q1 Newsstand Sales Results

    Thoughts on MAGNET 2015 Q1 Newsstand Sales Results

    There is absolutely nothing new in the latest newsstand reports that we didn't really already know, and the latest stats shouldn't be any kind of surprise to anyone. The print enthusiasts on the planet will continue to deny that there is anything wrong with the medium, and many new print titles will still be born despite the statistically obvious fact that print gets a smaller footprint each and every quarter since 2008. There is no bottom to this trend and there is no correction possible anywhere in sight. Nevertheless. I suggest that there is some hope.

    My question to you all is this: Is totality of averages really the only effective way to look at our industry? Are we actually one big inter-connected publishing company and it's sink or swim together? Or are there thousands of separate companies and titles that have their own hidden successes as well as the obvious on-going failures? With our predilection for schadenfreude, we humans love a story of things that have gone wrong. We get distracted and perhaps enchanted by negative news, of which there is plenty, and forget that there are successes happening every day, too. What about the hundreds of titles that are actually doing well, even in the dark and murky newsstand? What about the enthusiast titles that are doing fine and have reworked their business plans to gather an extraordinary amount of revenue in other areas than declining print?  

    What this means to all of us is that we aren't dead nor dying as an industry. I will admit that there may be a great deal of major industrial pruning yet to happen. But evidence has shown that consistent growth is a possible outcome for some titles and even some entire genres.

    There isn't going to be an end to this trend until we lose the concept of print as a commodity and follow the bookazines to success. Better, more expensive magazines produced in smaller numbers is the path to success in print. Simply put, we need to print less and charge much more. I have said for a very long time that print isn't dead or dying, but it is going on a stringent and long term diet. As painful as the smaller more expensive footprint might sound, this is the path to profitability and sustainability for a print product in the 21st century.

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted June 06, 2015
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  • Thought’s on the IMAG-MPA Conference And Samir Husni’s Love Letter to IMAG

    Thought’s on the IMAG-MPA Conference And Samir Husni’s Love Letter to IMAG

    Professor Samir Husni and I both love the magazine industry, yet we come to that affection from completely different directions. He is enamored withprint on paperOpens in a new window, while I am enamored by the global power of content distribution in/and on any platform that the consumer/reader wishes. The differences of our perspectives are very significant, but don't preclude a decades-long, great friendship. Conversations between us are at the very least dynamic, as one young man found out when he was sitting between us at dinner on the first night of the IMAG Conference in Boulder. He got an earful from both sides.

    Samir's takeawayOpens in a new window from the IMAG conference is a product of his affection and belief in print. Although I, too, believe in the moderate longevity of print, I also believe and fully acknowledge that it is continuing to take a second seat to other platforms and other paths of sustainable revenue.  In fact all the IMAG conference subject lines were how to make money and grow your company in every possible way other than print. And that to me is ironic in the extreme. Allow me to explain the irony.

    In the early 2000s I was publicly very critical of the MPA Conferences. In my mind there was a digital revolution about to happen and there was little to no dialog in the annual meetings about the juggernaut I saw coming directly at us. Now in the most interesting of turnabouts the reverse is in play, and most, if not all, of the convention is about digital. Digital is the only thing talked about with little to nothing about traditional magazines and how to make them better and sustainable. No sessions about how to make a great cover or distribution tricks to improve circulation or news about paper and/or printing trends - pretty much nothing about the print part of the magazine media business. CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted May 22, 2015
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  • BoSacks Interview with Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale Inc.

    BoSacks Interview with Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale Inc.

    Maria Rodale, is a fascinating member of the publishing community. She is the CEO and Chairman of Rodale, Inc., which makes the claim to be the world's largest independent publisher of health, wellness, and environmental content, and the largest independent book publisher in the United States. Who am I to disagree? In fact, I love the world's largest claim, as I claim to publish the world's oldest eNewsletter. Maria is a third generation publisher whose grandfather J.I. Rodale founded the company in 1930. She is a lifelong advocate of organic farming and gardening. She is the author of five books. And she graciously agreed to my interviewing her. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW

     

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted May 04, 2015
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  • As Content & Technology Converge, Publishers Feel the Squeeze

    As Content & Technology Converge, Publishers Feel the Squeeze

    As Content & Technology Converge, Publishers Feel the Squeeze

     

    Is there a difference between a content company and a technology company? The answer to that question is becoming increasingly difficult to answer. In the recent past, publishers were by and large content companies. Today, with the blending of multiple content distribution formats, magazine media companies have forged new business alliances and discovered new types of competitors, blurring the lines between magazine companies and technology companies.

     

    David Carey recently noted that, "Hearst is a content company, operating with a platform mentality...functioning as one global entity as far as content sharing." I suggest to you that only a technology company that sells content on such a vast scale can achieve the goal of that kind of global outreach.

     

    Let's put a bunch of companies in the same sentence and see if we can divine the differences: The New York Times, Hearst, Condé Nast, Yahoo, Buzzfeed, Vox, and Upworthy. Can you distinguish the differences between these companies and their missions? If we are all fast becoming technology companies, as it seems we are, perhaps we should consider the differences and significance of online readership and off-line readership. Are we nearing a point when it will all be just readership?

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted May 01, 2015
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  • Do New ASME Rules Damage The Magazine Industry?

    Do New ASME Rules Damage The Magazine Industry?

     It seems to me that my opinion on the changes to the ASME guidelines will be in the minority. To me it boils down to integrity: you have it or you don't. 

    As an industry we seem to keep diluting our once unimpeachable integrity, whittling at it here and there, until before we know it, we have none.  Native advertising, ads on the cover, editors working hand in hand with advertisers -- where does it end? Oh, I see there actually is no end, just a slow whimpering slide into total duplicity. Yes, you can fool all the readers some of the time and some of the readers all the time, but you absolutely can't fool all the readers all the time. 

    In the end the ASME rules don't matter and they never did.

    Lets face it, we have never been a "pure" industry and we have always pushed the business envelope hard for a few extra bucks. But now we don't wish to even fake it anymore. 

    What does matter is our self-image. Editors of old would be appalled at what we have become and allow.  I hear you -- modern times require modern guidelines. I'm sure that is true. But I tell you this, there continues to be less and less that differentiates the magazine media business from multiple internet scams or from the 16 year old kid doing whatever he pleases to score with the girl next door. It may work for the kid, but not for the industry. 

    I think the old guidelines of the magazine industry that were in place for decades helped develop the enduring value for our franchises. We are still riding on the coattails of those old values, and the public still believes in us and our integrity based on what we did in the past. It will take time, but not as much time as took to develop that trust, for it to evaporate. Is it worth it to destroy a legacy for just a few shekels? I guess so. 

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted May 01, 2015
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  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On ASME,  Time Inc., On Newsstand and Circ issues.

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On ASME, Time Inc., On Newsstand and Circ issues.

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On ASME,  Time Inc., On Newsstand and Circ issues.

     

    Re: The Shady Industry That's Trapping Door-to-Door Magazine Sellers

    Bob, thanks for posting.  Rita Cohen from the MPA summed up the situation - selling this way is worth the hassle because agents have connections that publishers may not have. "Our hope is that we can rely on the agents to do business as we put forth in our guidelines so that we can continue to get our content to as broad an audience as possible."  Since the MPA publishes guidelines on behalf of their members - the publishers, they have a responsibility to enforce them.  It is obvious they are not being enforced.  The MPA should be held to a higher standard in monitoring these activities.

    (Submitted by a Publishing Executive)

     

    RE: Blurred Lines Now Official per ASME

    It seems to us that the ASME has lost some of its teeth, and this is their way of playing catch-up and trying to stay relevant as the marketing dollars make more and more of the editorial decisions. Appeasement has a way of falling short in the long run, and consumers have a way of seeing through this kind of veiled attempt at maintaining lines.

     

    Simply waving around your guideline isn't enough to prop up your integrity when it starts to falter.

    (Submitted by a Printer)

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted May 01, 2015
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Speaks Out: On Niche Media Publishing Conference

    BoSacks Speaks Out: On Niche Media Publishing Conference

    BoSacks Speaks Out: On Niche Media Publishing Conference


     
    Last week I went to Denver to attend the Niche Media Conference. As I sat there at the opening ceremony I started to wonder about the term "niche". We all use it, but do any of us know the actual meaning of the word. I didn't. The term comes from Vulgar Latin, vulgar in this case meaning "common or vernacular Latin" rather than Classical Latin. The Vulgar Latin word was nīdiculāre which means to stay in one's nest. From Latin the French used the word nicher or "to make a nest."

     

    I tell you all this because Carl Landau has succeed in making a publishing nest at his Niche Media Conference. I must have asked 45 of the 250 attendees if they liked the event and why. Most of the people I met were returnees, and that says something right there.  A few have been coming since the beginning, which I think I heard Carl say was 9 years ago.

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted May 01, 2015
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Publishing ROI, Print isn't Dead, Frozen subs, Mr. Magazine, Big Data

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Publishing ROI, Print isn't Dead, Frozen subs, Mr. Magazine, Big Data

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Publishing ROI, Print isn't Dead, Frozen subs, Mr. Magazine, Big Data…

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted March 17, 2015
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Proof that Print is Dead and Why it Should Be     Re:…

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted March 17, 2015
    (0) Comments

Publishing Executive E-Media

Folio

  • Time Inc. Launches Branded Content Shop The Foundry

    Group will be made up of marketing services operation and new vertical content development. The post Time Inc. Launches Branded Content Shop The Foundry appeared first on Folio:.

    August 27, 2015 Read More

  • Cure Your Data’s ‘Gollum Syndrome’

    The shift to data correlation means different business units have to be less possessive of their insights. The post Cure Your Data’s ‘Gollum Syndrome’ appeared first on Folio:.

    August 27, 2015 Read More

  • People on the Move

    Condé Nast has expanded its branded content studio with a new leadership team and more... The post People on the Move appeared first on Folio:.

    August 26, 2015 Read More

Adage Digital

  • Ad-Viewability Maven Julie Fleischer Is Leaving Kraft Heinz

    Kraft Heinz media executive Julie Fleischer -- known for taking on the "crisis" in digital ad viewability -- is leaving the food giant, Ad Age has learned.Ms. Fleischer, whose title is senior director for data, content and media, is the latest high-ranking marketing executive to leave the company in the wake of cost cutting moves that have followed the merger earlier this year of Kraft Foods...

    August 28, 2015 Read More

  • Q&A: Twitter CFO Anthony Noto, What Are You Doing as the Company's Top Marketer?

    Twitter has a fundamental problem. The company has developed a product that many people love and many more people aren't sure they want to use.Sometime later this year Twitter will roll out a campaign that aims to convince the holdhouts. Ad Age asked Twitter's CFO Anthony Noto what argument the company will make -- and why the former investment banker took the marketing reins at Twitter this year...

    August 28, 2015 Read More

  • Are Beards Dead in Post-Hipster Era? Dollar Beard Club Says No

    "Duck Dynasty" may be in ratings decline, and some have pronounced the end of the beard trend in a post-hipster era. But don't tell that to Dollar Beard Club, which since its June launch is having a viral run akin to its clean-shaven forebear Dollar Shave Club three years ago.If beards are falling out of fashion, many people haven't heard, such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose Justin Turner,...

    August 28, 2015 Read More

  • What Instagram's New Formats May Mean for Marketers

    Instagram is breaking outside the box.After years of limiting photos and videos to the square format, Instagram announced on Thursday that people will be able to post photos and videos shot in landscape and portrait mode -- aka the formats available on roughly every other major social network except Vine.The support of new formats isn't necessarily groundbreaking. Nearly one out of every five...

    August 28, 2015 Read More

Unbound Media

  • Good News, Marketers: Instagram Enables Landscape & Portrait Formats

    Instagram is making some changes. For years, the social network restricted photos and videos to its square format. Earlier this week, the social network announced that its users will be able to post photos and videos in both landscape and portrait mode. It's not the biggest of news, but Instagram's changes may have a major impact on how brands use the platform.  Nick Tran, VP on Integrated...

    August 28, 2015 Read More

  • Changing the Way You Work: An Interview with Basecamp CEO Jason Fried

    HubSpot interviews Jason Fried, Basecamp's CEO, on the latest episode of its podcast, The Growth Show. It's a great episode to listen to while you work today. One of Fried's passions is changing the workplace's status quo to keep employees happy and increasingly productive (he even wrote a book on the topic in 2010, and it's called REWORK). Highlights of the episode include: why after-hours...

    August 27, 2015 Read More

  • What to Do with Your Old, Outdated & Not-So-Great Content

    Google is currently rolling out its Panda 4.2 Update, a roll out that will take months to complete. Panda rewards websites that have high quality content with high rankings on search result pages. It also kicks poor quality content to the very bottom of search results. Search Engine Land put together a list of what to do with the poor quality content that results in a website's Panda...

    August 25, 2015 Read More


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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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