BoSacks Speaks Out: Publishing Acts Out Again In Mississippi
Imagine, if you will, a cozy academic auditorium filled with professionals from every part of the publishing universe - publishers, editors, circulators, investment bankers, writers, digital visionaries, retail experts, printers and even people who sell paper. Sure, and let's throw a pundit or two into the mix and then fill the rest of the seats with enthusiastic journalism students. What you have is the ACT 4 Experience at Ole Miss created and hosted by Dr. Samir Husni.
This is the fourth year of this amazing annual event and the third time for me. I would have been at all the events but four years ago I had a fight with some kidney stones, and I lost my first and only debate in many a season. It turns out that logic doesn't work with kidney stones.
Over the course of two days we heard perspectives from every aspect possible in the publishing business. The event opened when we heard from Billy Morris, CEO of Morris Communications, a private, family-owned company which began more than two centuries ago as a single newspaper in Augusta, Ga. and today has grown into a diversified, midsized, global media company. Mr. Morris explained how his company is still growing and merging his print empire into a diversified global print and digital company. He explained carefully that print and digital are a marriage and for them to work together both have to be respected. He said, "We believe in print and it is paying the bills." He also said, "Digital is not a challenge nor a threat, but rather it is an opportunity and an evolving new media. What we do is gather, assemble, package and deliver content on any platform. We are now selling a continued contact with the reader."
Next we heard from Donna Kessler, President of Morris Media Network which publishes Where Magazine. Yes, that's right, the magazine you and I have found in any major city hotel in damn near any country you can name. Did you know that the world-wide circulation of Where Magazine is 65,000,000? They have created a broad platform in each market. As an example they have printed 60 million brochures in Paris in multiple languages including Chinese. If I heard Donna right she suggested that they have the high end magazine, the middle end magazine, and a lesser grade magazine in each market, and all built off of one single platform. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
BoSacks Speaks Out: It was my intent to cover the whole MPA-AMC in one report. But it turns out that to do the conference any justice it will take several essays, as I have over ten pages of notes and those are without any personal commentary. So I will start at the beginning and as the pages fill up I will conclude on another posting. President and CEO of the MPA Mary Berner opened with her usual verve and esprit de corps as the opening keynote speaker at the AM²C 2013 Conference. She opened with the comment that “I’m not pissed anymore at least about where we are and where we are headed as an industry.” I can’t address what Mary may or may not be angry about, but I agree that we have made great strides in adapting to the necessary changes that face our industry.
But those strides have come in some strange ways at the cost of our older identities as print magazine peoples. I confess that either I or the industry, or maybe both, are a bit schizophrenic. By that I am referencing my comments about the AMC last week when I suggested that we open every conference with the benediction, “Print is not dead, print is not dead,” and we complete the opening prayer by declaring to anyone who will listen that 90% of our revenue is still print revenue. I went on to question why was it that almost nowhere in any industry convention that the actual technicalities and best practices in the revenue producing print product were discussed. What about a few lessons on print efficiencies, best cover practices, how to create the best headlines, or the latest secrets of newsstand success stories? (There are a few exceptions to this rule, but few and far between)
by D.B. Hebbard
Developers and publishers question the merits of Newsstand publishing as discoverability problems mount (and sales drop)
In the past I’ve criticized the organization, search capability and management of the Apple Newsstand before, but the posts rarely gained much traction. But Marko Karppinen of the Finish software company Ritchie (its publishing platform is called Maggio) wrote last week about why publishers should avoid the Apple Newsstand and his post was picked up by Daring Fireball’s John Gruber – that means wide exposure. Karppinen’s position is that the Newsstand is where publication apps go to die, undiscovered. His position is that publishers should launch their apps as stand-alone apps, outside the Newsstand. There is a lot of merit to the argument, the biggest one being that launching an app outside the Newsstand does not preclude one from one day moving the app into the Newsstand if you want.. READ THE ARTICLE
In Esquire's approximately 286 page October issue, I read a quote from Arthur Miller that reminded me of the publishing industry in general, and of my experience at PRIMEX last week. "Fear, like love, is difficult to explain after it has subsided, probably because it draws away the veils of illusion as it disappears." Indeed, the print industry has had the fears, misconceptions and its illusions drawn away as we move forward and adjust our business plans to 21st century communication. To me this adjustment was clearly evident at PRIMEX, which has been chaired with great success for several years by Laura Reid, VP of Production at Hearst Magazines.
David Steinhardt, President & CEO at IDEAlliance, the organization that runs PRIMEX, opened the day-long conference in NYC saying we are at the intersection of interactivity. How does it grow print? How does it work with print? What are the best practices for the total supply chain? How do we work with the new technologies and create increasingly better workflows?
New Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp continues to ply his folksy approach, gathering non-senior management for a town hall meeting Wednesday to discuss his vision for the company's future. A Time Inc. source said it was the first time in recent memory that a CEO had spoken directly to the company’s rank and file, which “in and of itself was a huge thing,” he said.
The gathering, which included a Q&A session with employees, was short on news, as Ripp hit on many of the topics he’s been discussing since first taking over as CEO last month. Sources present said that he continued to push for a “brands-first” approach and further decentralization within the company, and reiterated his desire to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy (including the 34th floor executive suite that’s come to symbolize it). READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Here’s the good news. The majority of editors are optimistic, to some degree, about the future of the publishing industry, according to a new survey by mediaShepherd.
Forty-three percent of editors are either “very optimistic” or “optimistic” about the future of the publishing industry. Another 22 percent are “mildly optimistic.” About a quarter (24%), however, are uncertain when it comes to the future of the industry. And 10 percent are “mildly pessimistic” or “pessimistic.” No one reported that he or she is “extremely pessimistic.”
“Technology is not a threat to publishing. Print will never die, but platform options, apps, etc., will help the industry to grow and keep tech-savvy editors employed,” commented one survey respondent. And while many editors indicated that they love their jobs and have much to be excited about, they also have much to adapt to and frustrations to voice. The biggest concern: Most editors’ workloads have tripled, quadrupled, quintupled … while budget cuts have eaten away at their staffs, freelance budgets and even their salaries—like a muster of moths in a closet full of old, wool coats. The concern, for the most part, is not self-serving, though who wouldn’t like to be paid more? Publishing is, as it always has been, based on content. Editors are the maestros that orchestrate the symphony of substance. What happens when editors are pulled in too many directions? What happens when many major instruments are cut? READ THE FULL STORY
In framing today's dialog and before I ask the more difficult questions, I would like to build a framework for my readers, not all of whom are fulfillment experts. Can you describe what services CDS Global provides in the current volatile media business? I guess simply put I am asking, can you describe for the laymen of our industry the character of a successful fulfillment provider in today's publishing landscape and where it sits in the ever changing content value chain?
In this age of disruptive media, CDS Global is an enabler of all the ways in which content can now be distributed in a world of agnostic distribution. We are the essential link between the industry and the consumer, deepening the customer experience. That's why we no longer think of ourselves or brand ourselves as a "fulfillment company." It's also why technology sits at the core of our investments and initiatives.
This work now involves partnering in brand extensions and focusing on the customer experience, in delivering business intelligence, and in integrating social media into that consumer experience. With the user experience being as essential as the content provided, successful fulfillment companies find themselves more and more at the early-stage decision table rather than in the traditional role of fulfillment as a back-end service. READ THE FULL ARTICLE
By Emma Bazilian
Since the inception of digital magazines, publishers have struggled to get advertisers to commit to tablet and other mobile content as they do with print. But a lack of measurement standards across a multitude of screen sizes and devices has made it hard to build advertisers' confidence in the medium.
The MPA—Association of Magazine Media and Adobe are making some headway, though. Following the MPA’s announcement last spring that it was working with digital companies to develop tools to track digital magazine readership, Adobe has built that capability into its Digital Publishing Suite software, which is used by most of the major magazine publishers. “We’ve seen a lot of demand from marketers and brands to take advantage of targeted ad opportunities that exist through these new digital editions,” said Danny Winokur, vp and gm of digital media at Adobe. “But we’ve encountered some real friction in doing business between publishers and advertisers and their agencies within the digital arena because a lot of the well-defined, standard metrics that have provided the foundation for conducting business in the print world have not been available in the digital arena.” READ THE FULL ARTICLE
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".
And how much does it cost?
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.