Publishing News You Can Use

  • BoSacks Speaks Out: Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper

    BoSacks Speaks Out: Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper

    There is a recent article titled Print vs. Digital: Another Emotional Win for Paper, that came across my info-radar today. Articles like these are always popping up. They are interesting to me, because science must do what science does, question everything. As a geek-at-heart, I am all for the pursuit of knowledge. I sometimes think that all good production people are geeks, but that is a story for another day. 

    There are several things that must be pointed out in this article. The headline is click bait appealing to paper lovers and trying to confirm what they think they already know. However, the data here is not as overwhelming for the paper lovers as the headline suggests. The biggest issue is the supposed edge in the emotional response to paper as opposed to digital.  To me that is much more generational than a universal law of astro-advertising. 

    The main thing to remember here is that in a very meaningful way none of this digital-does-this-and-paper-does-that-science will matter as we proceed further. Why, you wisely ask? Because, we aren't ever going to go back to being a major paper transmitting society. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

    Posted October 06, 2015
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out:  The MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, is looking for its next CEO.

    BoSacks Speaks Out: The MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, is looking for its next CEO.

    These are indeed turbulent times for a transforming industry, and forward thinking leadership is critical for the industry to help us adjust to these changing times.  Newsstand sales and subscription sales in general continue to diminish.  Are there standouts bucking the overall industry trend? Yes, most assuredly.  But overall, the trends are down for the industry.  Clearly we need to develop and broadcast a strategy that plays to our strengths and comes to grips with our weaknesses. Being in continual denial of our current position in the media wars just won't work. 

    For the record I am not a pessimist for the magazine media industry, nor a detractor of the print product. What I am is an unashamed realist. Print can accomplish things that digital can't and can provide a sizable ROI while doing so. At the same time it is obvious digital can accomplish feats that print products can only dream of. The downside with digital thus far is its slow growth of monetization for the magazine industry.  What we need is the marriage of the two disciplines combining digital's creativity and its accountability gained from increasingly reliable metadata with the comfort and traditions of print.  CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted October 06, 2015
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  • Dissecting the 1% Prediction of Magazine Sales

    Dissecting the 1% Prediction of Magazine Sales

    We keep reading and hearing about the reading public's love of print. Why then don't they show that love at the newsstand? Every year newsstand drops double digits in sales. If that is love, I'll take something else. We keep hearing how advertisers get better ROI in print. That may be true, but then why does advertising in print diminish every year? We keep hearing of the many new titles each year. Why then do all magazine sales show a steep drop in magazines sold? In the same vein why are print subscriptions dropping as well, (if not as fast as newsstand)? In the end, it doesn't matter how many magazines we print, the only relevant statistic is how many we sell.
    by Bob Sacks
    Posted September 26, 2015
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  • BoSacks on addictive content and the audience of the future

    Bo Sacks on addictive content and the audience of the future
    Legendary publisher and one of the founding fathers of High Times magazine, Bo Sacks, was in London recently to take part in a tweetathon hosted by What's New in Publishing. FIPP caught up with him at the event to get his take on the current developments in digital media, and what's coming next for the industry.

    More competition than ever before (0:06)
    The thing is - in the 70s when I started out - there was only three ways to communicate: there was print, there was radio, and there was television. Each had its place. And each had few competitors in their sphere. The difference now is that there is more competitors than ever before. And it doesn't take a big bank roll to be a competitor. 

    BuzzFeed, Vox, Upworthy (0:41)
    They've come out of nowhere. And they've taken, what used to be called market share, but I prefer to think of it as time spent with media. And that's the new big equation. How much time the public spends with each, individual type of media.  

    Is it harder or easier to start a publishing company in the digital age? (1:02)
    No it's easy to get in, and it's actually easy for some to make money. The thing is - and it's not unlike print many years ago - not everybody makes it. Some do, some don't. Those that do make the addictive content will survive just great, won't be a problem.   

    There's no relationship between success and the format that you choose (1:35)
    Could be television, could be print, could be digital. If you have addictive content, you'll probably do very well. 

    Soon for all we know, we're going to project on the air (1:46)
    There'll be new formats. Right now we have cell phones as a format. We have desktops and laptops as a format. Soon for all we know we're gonna project, on the air, and we won't have a sub-straight at all. And we'll project words, and visuals - that's a different kind of sub-straight for a different kind of reader/viewer, and maybe we'll call them something else? 

    Not the Holy Grail (2:12)
    Video has a place in the media sphere, but it is not the Holy Grail. It is another way to communicate and absorb information. And the information you need is system specific: video is great for learning how to cook... learning how to play golf...maybe even learning how to do brain surgery. But along with the video has to come words, long form words. 

    And finally, what advice would you give to an aspiring publisher about what content the audience needs to see? (2:50)
    How we define content, is important to your question. And how we monetise that content is also important. I'm increasingly believing that just supplying content is not enough, you need alternative revenue streams besides your content.
    Jamie Gavin
    Posted September 26, 2015
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  • With A Strong Brand, A Magazine Can Be Anything

    With A Strong Brand, A Magazine Can Be Anything

    Active Interest Media serves as role model for extending magazine brands and businesses.

    As we all know, the magazine industry is transforming from a print-focused concept to a broader, more media-diverse, "branded" approach to content distribution. In the new approach there are many extensions of the branded experience that lead to revenue success, and in many cases better, broader, and more stable empires than in the past. Active Interest Media (AIM) is a perfect example of brand extensions and off-the-page thinking.

    AIM has five distinct publishing groups and publishes some of the country's leading consumer enthusiast magazines, such as Yoga Journal,BackpackerVegetarian TimesYachts InternationalBlack BeltAmerican CowboyPractical HorsemanLog Home Living, and many more. I think the key phrase here is "consumer enthusiast" magazines. Look at the diversity of this publishing house and the broad reach they have. No single-topic concentration in this publisher's large enterprise, but rather five main categories each with a broad range of brands that satisfy passionate readers and their very particular interests.


    A few months ago I had a conversation with AIM's president and CEO Andrew Clurman. Andy said, "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."

    What Andy is saying here and what all publishers large or small must be considering is the revenue extension possibilities of your readers/consumer's passions.



    by Bob Sacks
    Posted September 01, 2015
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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. 


    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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Publishing Executive E-Media


Adage Digital

  • World Federation of Advertisers' Boss: Don't Turn Consumers Off

    The World Federation of Advertisers is issuing a major call to arms on ad blocking, urging its members to create an online environment that puts consumers first.The Brussels-based marketing association -- whose members include the world's biggest marketers such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Nike and Adidas, as well as national advertiser associations -- has issued a...

    November 27, 2015 Read More

  • Snapchat Adds Holiday-Themed Discover Channel From Brit & Co.

    Snapchat's publisher portal, Discover, is getting its own home for holiday content.On Friday the mobile messaging app plans to add a holiday-themed Discover channel from DIY publisher Brit & Co. that is being sponsored by Google. However, having a specific theme isn't the only thing that sets Brit & Co.'s channel apart from the ones already run by other publishers like BuzzFeed, Vice, ESPN and...

    November 27, 2015 Read More

  • See the Spot: Old Spice Duo Makes Real Peace After Faux Pas

    Isaiah Mustafa and Terry Crews make peace after their recent commercial feud in a new spot for Old Spice from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, making its debut over Thanksgiving weekend.The two had a faux pax thanks to a faux pas by FXX, which first aired the ad Nov. 4 about three weeks ahead of schedule due to a trafficking error. Now, the spot is out there legit and all, including an extended...

    November 25, 2015 Read More

  • Mashable Shop Is a Native Ad That's Also an Online Store

    Digital publishers are looking for all kinds of alternatives to the traditional banner ad. They've typically looked at new ways of fusing editorial and advertising -- sponsored articles, branded videos, etc. -- but Mashable has come up with a way to add e-commerce to the mix.On Cyber Monday Mashable will open Mashable Shop on its site. And in a native advertising spin on e-commerce, the new...

    November 25, 2015 Read More

Unbound Media

  • Inspire Holiday Shopping with a Mini (but Cheerful) Homepage Makeover

    Listen up e-commerce sites: According to Google's data, just over 75% of holiday shoppers researched their gift-giving options online last year, and 40% of all holiday shopping took place on e-commerce sites. Those numbers are going to increase this holiday season. A easy way to prepare for the holiday onslaught is to give a website a mini holiday makeover – starting with the homepage. Many...

    November 26, 2015 Read More

  • Wall Street Jumps on the Snapchat Bandwagon

    About two months ago at the launch of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, Nasdaq launched its Snapchat presence.  The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is a non-profit that targets young entrepreneurs. Nasdaq's new Snapchat strategy is aiming for the same target. The brand is hoping to sway Snapchat users to one day list their companies on Nasdaq. So far, Nasdaq has been using Snapchat...

    November 25, 2015 Read More

  • How to Organize a Large Content Team Using Online Tools

    Creating content as a team that is consistent in quality and scheduling isn't always easy. According to QuickSprout's Neil Patel, a content team requires good planning and the utilization of useful tools to stay on track; and he put together a list of tools that content teams can take advantage of to stay organized. One such tool is MindMeister, a mind mapper. This tool creates visual maps of...

    November 24, 2015 Read More

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