As my long-time readers know I have a global interest in regards to the information distribution business formally known as publishing. The following article is obviously from India, but some of the dialog from India could be heard at any domestic media conference. And that is the point of sending this type of article out. Media with its multitude of nuances is global. One way or another every information distributor faces similar obstacles and successes. Keeping a world view on publishing helps me see trends that I might otherwise miss.
Speaking of missing a "print is not dying" moment, last week I sent out an article titled As Print Continues to Die, Why are Conde Nast and Hearst Launching New Magazines. That article discussed among other titles that Penthouse did away with its print edition. Both my favorite newsstand consultant and Kelly Holland, the CEO Owner of Penthouse Global Media, immediately contacted me with the correction that Penthouse is still on the newsstands and according to Kelly, "We are expanding from 10 issues annual to 12." Kelly and I had a conference call today where she briefly brought me up to speed with how they are working and revitalizing this classic brand. I didn't hear anything that couldn't work. Adult titles are one of many niche publishing areas of focus. As I suggested to Kelly, "It all sounds reasonable. The trick in any company or any niche is execution of the business plan." The caveat, of course, is that proper execution and a fair amount of luck is no easy task, but both are accomplished every day.
That, of course, doesn't condemn everybody. But there are too many examples of profit above truth to deny a strong resemblance that the accusation exists here and there. Women's magazines in particular have for a hundred years or more, fed on the needs and promoted unrealistic expectations on a very vulnerable public for a nice profit.
Take Doctor Oz for example. He has a very successful magazine. He is, as reported in Wikipedia, "a proponent of alternative medicine and has been criticized by physicians, government officials and publications, including Popular Science and The New Yorker, for giving non-scientific advice. In a Senate hearing on weight loss scams, Senator Claire McCaskill chided Oz, saying, 'The scientific community is almost monolithic against you in terms of the efficacy of the three products you call miracles.' An investigation by the British Medical Journal found that 46% of his claims were misleading or incorrect." Yet Doctor Oz has a very successful magazine.
I've been told that the good doctor's magazine "The Good Life" has editorial content that is free of any miracle medical cures. That is fine, but it is not free from the mascot protagonist about whom it has been stated that "46% of his claims were misleading or incorrect." It's not free from a spokesperson that faced an angry congress "for giving non-scientific advice."
I suppose it's possible to say that publishers are just giving the public what it wants. But I struggle with validating a TV personality who, as suggested by the British Medical Journal, has distributed malarkey for profit. It is worth repeating for the third time that this magazine is wildly successful. So none of the observations above matters either to the public or the balance sheet. FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE
For some, Bo Sacks is their guru, consulting on how to affect change in their newsroom. For others, Bo Sacks speaking out may leave them hot under the collar. And for many in the industry, Bo Sacks is an old friend, his newsletter a welcome sight in their inbox every day.Bo runs the world's longest-running journalism newsletter on the internet. He started it in 1993. We're speaking with the man who frequently 'speaks out' on issues, events, news upheaval and other changes in the industry. Bo's career has spanned various facets of the industry. He now speaks internationally, he gives lectures, he travels, he writes, he consults. He reads voraciously about the industry. He attends conferences around the globe to give him a broad range of perspectives and insight on latest, cutting-edge developments.
The first newspaper Bo started was called The Express. He was 19. The Express was a weekly tabloid with a circulation of 50,000 that went to every college in Suffolk and Nassau counties in metro New York. "It was a product of its time," he recalls. "It was pro-pot, anti-Vietnam war, and intellectual. We did that for two and a half years." At the time, he was just fooling around, he says. "I didn't know I started a journalism career. Two friends and I were sitting around one day and one of them said, 'let's start a newspaper,' and I said, 'what do you know about it?' and he said, 'nothing.'
And I said, 'in that case, let's do it."
Thus began his career. FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE
The Goldmine distribution story is a great lesson for every publisher and gives me some fond memories of publishing times past. My first two publications, one in New York called "The Express" and one in Arizona, called "The Mountain NewsReal" were from a media species then called the underground press. I was in my early twenties and we had no rule books or mentors, so my partners and I just made up "procedures" as we went along. One of the things we explored was not only publishing an alternative newspaper but also alternative distribution. Our papers were distributed not on newsstands, but in retail outlets, hair cutters, bars, clubs, college dormitories, rock concerts, head shops, and a dozen other non-traditional publication outlets.
The same theories held true later for us at "High Times" magazine. In the beginning no wholesaler would distribute the controversial title, so we needed to create alternative distribution outlets other than traditional newsstand. We did so to great effect and extremely high sell through numbers.
It is the non-traditional aspect of this story that modern publishers should consider. The old newsstand outlets are diminishing, with rare exception. Each sales report is down by double digits from the year before. It seems to me that creative new distribution outlets like the ones that Goldmine found are the way to offset some of the lost circulation. I know that many niche titles today do this very thing; they distribute their publications where their readers are rather then where their readers aren't.
I need your help. I am somewhat, but not totally, mystified by the current ad fraud situation. What kind of industry can afford to lose $7.4 billion dollars in a single year? Next question is what kind of industry knowingly can afford to lose $10.9 billion by 2021? Apparently advertisers can. WTF!
Here is one of the many intricacies in the ad debacle. According to a survey conducted by Advertiser Perceptions Inc., Nearly Half Of Ad Execs Don't Know Or Care About Using 'Fake News,' Big Brands Most Prone as reported by Joe Mandese. Joe went on to report that "Remarkably, the survey, conducted by Advertiser Perceptions Inc. among advertisers and agency executives, found that 7% willfully plan to advertise in -- and 8% said they don't care either way about -- advertising media outlets they deem to be publishers of 'fake' news content."
I have been pointing out to you that the ad agencies are at the root of the problem for years. To me it is simply obvious that commission is the only holy grail, and those with a moral barometer need not apply. It's not that the marketers are not to blame, too, but the real core of the fraud is knowingly, willfully buying into it. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
Re: Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print
Hi Bo, Newspapers such as The Guardian and New York Times love to write pieces that promote the myth that "Print is back!" in the book business. It is hugely misleading and ignores even what Nielsen itself says in other venues. At Digital Book World in January, Nielsen's Jonathan Stolper said that price is the most important and most influential barrier to entry for ebook buyers, and the increase in ebook pricing directly coincided with the decrease in sales. What we're seeing is consumers unwilling to purchase an ebook at the same price as a print book, rather than some nostalgia for print.
Furthermore, in 2016, Nielsen reported that US adult fiction sales are 50% digital overall at the Big Five houses. When you factor in nontraditional publishing sales-ebooks from Amazon Publishing as well as self-published authors-the digital share of book purchases changes significantly, more in the range of 75% digital overall if we're looking at fiction alone.(These types of articles push all my buttons, but I know you are very well-schooled in all these "print is back" mythologies, as your Japanese proverb indicates.) Safe travels & enjoy Berlin!(Submitt ed by a Publisher and Industry Consultant) FoR THE COMPLETE STORY CLICK HERE
BoSacks Speaks Out: Evan Esar once said that statistics is the only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions. So it goes each time a new newsstand report comes out. Don't get me wrong, we need those reports. How else would we keep score? Are there winners and losers? Of course, and there always have been. It is a historic cycle, some die and whither so others can live.
There has been a decade long slide in the overall sales of magazines on the newsstand. Only an idiot would argue the case. But the key word in that statement is overall. Many magazines are doing quite well and will continue to do so for quite some time. There is no single title or publisher that is tied in a meaningful way to the industry average. All that matters is how you are doing, not your distant cousins.
Look at it this way. Media has an invasive species problem. 20 years ago we lived in a communication jungle that had settled into a balance of revenue survival. The existing media types shared the rewards of a bountiful landscape. Radio, print and TV all had their fair share of the fruits of revenue paradise. There was little cross-breeding and all were happy. Then the invasive species of digital distribution dropped into paradise and nothing has been the same since. The aggressive new arrival attacked the balance of power in the jungle indiscriminately. As Darwin said, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Click here for the full article
I am in Berlin, Germany attending one of my favorite publishing events, FIPP's Digital Innovators Summit which starts Monday, March 20th. It is a cross-planet collection of modernizers trying to make sense and profit from the still evolving phenomenon we once called publishing. If you ever get the chance I recommend it.
As I sit here Sunday night in The Arcotel John F, my hotel for the next few days, I am reflecting on our businesses. There once was a time when there were rules and an established pecking order. If you were in TV, Radio or Print, you knew the process and the possibilities of your profession. Each method of communication had pluses and minuses, boundaries and well-trodden logical pathways to reach the consumer and make a profit in the process. One might also say there was relative business stability.
What makes the current state of affairs so different is the evaporation of boundaries, rules and stability. There is little distinction between TV, publishing and radio because they are all streamed. Print is obviously not streamed, and that is its problem. It is stuck in an old style world of rules and boundaries while connected, digitized communications are completely free range. For many the nostalgic rules of print are deemed a blessing and satisfying in their permanency, but the old rules also limit print's value to the vagaries of young, inexperienced media buyers and a distracted pubic. FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE
BoSacks Speaks Out: With all the articles and suspicions about fake news, fake ads and fake people (bots) and the fears contained within those concepts, I thought this article, although distant from a direct connection to the usual topics I cover in this newsletter, is still about information distribution, which is exactly what everyone on this list does. We all distribute information in one way or another.
For the two of you on this list of 16,000, who don’t know what an Amazon Echo – or like devices – are, here is my explanation. They are the actual representation of the long ago promised Star Trek technology of verbally communicating with a computer. Yes, they are like Siri. But from my experience, Amazon Echo is 5x better in understanding context and, more importantly, the delivery of sought-after information requested in the question. I have two in my home and am considering getting another. I happily use them every day. FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE
Here is a fascinating statement from Rob Silver, Senior VP of Media at SapientRazorfish. I'm trying to grapple with the implications and the possible insanity of it.
"We are not seeing any of our clients pull away from digital platforms and shifting to TV or more traditional channels. The audiences and targeting enabled through digital are simply too important."
Yes, I get the wish here that targeting audiences through digital systems might be simply too important. But is it? By most accounts more than 50%, some say 90%, of the digital ads placed in the market are fake, unseen, seen by bots, of malicious intent, blocked and/or ignored. How is it that there is still this unbroken trust by the agencies in the efficiency of a medium that is not yet proven anywhere near trustworthy?
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.