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  • BoSacks on AMMC 2018: MPA Steps Up Game, WPP Chief Dodges Ad Fraud Question

    BoSacks on AMMC 2018: MPA Steps Up Game, WPP Chief Dodges Ad Fraud Question

    Once again the largest players in the magazine media industry gathered for the annual plumage display. Everybody is excited to be there including me. I annually and happily re-meet so many old friends accumulated through a lifetime in the industry that it is a joy to be there among my comrades. We share old war stories and new thoughts of the current conditions of our media empires. 

    Linda Thomas Brooks, President and Chief Executive Officer of the MPA, opened the event with a thoughtful message she received once directly from the Dalai Lama. It was as mystical and as far reaching with simplicity as you might expect. "Keep working on it." You see, at first you go: what? And then the simple complexity settles in. Yes, no matter what it is that's going on, just keep working on it till you find an answer. Linda's application of that for the industry was, "there is no one answer," just keep working on it. And how right she is. 

    There was a time in the magazine industry when almost every publisher large and small worked from extremely similar business plans. We were all in the highly definable, easily explained, magazine publishing business. Now-a-days I'll bet there are no two business plans alike. The complexities and unlimited diversity of information delivery platforms in the magazine media business makes every business exploration for revenue uniquely different. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted February 13, 2018
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Sauce for Magazines

    BoSacks Speaks Out: The Secret Sauce for Magazines

    John Palumbo makes a passionate discussion here for newsstand placement and retail problems in City and Regional Magazines. But I want say, it's not the darkest hour for all magazines in the genre. Take Our State Magazine, which celebrates life in North Carolina. To the best of my knowledge it is thriving and perhaps more so than any other regional magazine I am aware of. Why, you may ask?

    A few months ago, I had lunch with my friend Bernie Mann, the publisher of Our State Magazine and asked what was, as Warren Buffett calls it, his Secret Sauce?  (For the record Bernie and I meet twice a year out of mutual respect and idea sharing. We both drive two hours to meet in the middle for lunch. It is always worth it.) 

    So, what is Bernie's Secret Sauce? He says, "The reader." Bernie says you have to love, cherish and respect the intelligence of the reader and never do anything that makes the reader 'work' to enjoy the magazine.  He goes on the describe what he means.  "No belly bands, no stickers on the cover, no stories continued in the back of the magazine, no ads disguised as stories with the word "advertisement" or "Promotion" in 2 point type. 

    Bernie says part of the Secret Sauce of his success is the idea that the advertising has to be bought not sold. He interestingly goes on to point out that in his opinion, "The model of ad agencies buying advertising in magazines is broken," as agencies are more interested in making money from digital. Bernie's answer is to go directly to the client. 

    If you want a role model for the City and Regional Magazine arena, I strongly suggest you check out Our State Magazine. To the best of my knowledge they are never under 250 pages per month and often much more.  You want success? This is it

     
    by Bob Sacks
    Posted February 13, 2018
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  • Bosacks Speaks Out: Time Inc. Can't be Saved by Nostalgia

    Bosacks Speaks Out: Time Inc. Can't be Saved by Nostalgia

    Bosacks Speaks Out: Odd things happen at odd and sometimes inconvenient times.  For me, although this newsletter always gets out no matter what, sometimes when breaking news happens, there are days that are more convenient than others. 

    This week I am in Houston visiting a family member in hospice, so since the Time Inc. story broke, I have not had the luxury to read all the prognosticators’ prognostications about the meaning of Life (pun Intended) as I usually would have. So, if what I am about to briefly say has been said by others, well that just means two of us had similar observations. 

    There seem to be many publishing professionals stressing and wringing their hands at the sale of Time Inc. to Meredith.

    First, let me say that few businesses can be successfully run on the fumes of nostalgia. We all loved the old Time Inc. for what it was and what we thought it could have become. Now both the “what” and the “could” are in the past and have been for some time. The magazine industry is thriving and reinventing itself in the here and the now. For many reasons Time Inc. currently is not reflective of where we as an industry are going, but only where we have been.

    I applaud the multitude of digital moves made by Time Inc. of late, and had they been spun off as totally independent projects many or all could have flourished and still might.  Mostly there is too much historic baggage and too many legacy mistakes, and so we have the sale of the decade. But magazine giants have always risen to peaks and eventually evaporated in corporate smoke, usually with a whimper not a bang.  TV Guide comes to mind as do Curtis publishing and many more.  Giants in their day, now distant industrial memories.

    When I worked for McCall’s magazine in the 1980s, Time Inc. was a Co-owner. Those were the great years when Time was the undisputed leader of the entire magazine industry in all respects.  When is the last time that could be said of Time Inc.? I miss the industry leadership and their profound, always on-going experimentation in the magazine business and the supreme search for the efficiency of the product.  Time Inc. deserves its place in the halls of media Olympus, but like Zeus and the gang, they are but rumblings of distant nostalgic thunder, fond to think about but forever gone. 

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted November 29, 2017
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: Where will you and your media business be in five years?

    BoSacks Speaks Out: Where will you and your media business be in five years?

    For the record I'm on many blogs, threads and various news chains. One of them a few days ago asked a typical but still important question. Where will ebooks be in five years?  That, of course, started me pondering several things about the magazine media business. Where were we five years ago and where are we now? And is that perspective an accurate forecaster for the next five years or ten for that matter? 

    In five years - Ok, shoot me if it is ten - most successful publishing businesses and technologies will morph almost beyond recognition from our traditional heritages with the exception of the one technology that won't be changing any time soon, and that is that words have to be read on one substrate or another. 

    Let me start with this: in five years, or yes perhaps ten, the media universe will have continued its trajectory away from organic substrates. I ask all the other pundits claiming an affection for print: what will stop the current trends?  Nothing really. But I agree with these same pundits that print will always have a special place for some of those who are willing to pay for it. Those printed products that do remain in five or ten years, will be very profitable. Those special interest niche magazines and digitally printed focused publications will have great longevity. As I have said many times, the print survivors will be considered as a luxury item and not an inexpensive commodity product.  CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted November 20, 2017
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: Is this the End of an Era for the Magazine Industry?

    BoSacks Speaks Out: Is this the End of an Era for the Magazine Industry?

    BoSacks Speaks Out:  I know the author of What does the departure of four top editors say about the future of magazines, Cable Neuhaus. The two of us had dinner a few years ago in New York City, where we exchanged ideas. He is smart, experienced and has great perspective, much of it from longevity on the publishing playing field. He writes a great heartfelt missive here about the magazine business. He says: 

    "In short, magazines have been my love and my livelihood nearly all my adult life. It affords me zero pleasure to observe their slow, steady decline. I cherish them, but I cannot look you in the eye and pretend that those of us who make and joyously consume magazines are not an abysmally small club these days." 

    My friend Cable and too many others mistake a change in dominance for death. Loss of dominance is not equivalent to death-it just feels that way.  I believe that there are ever-present super opportunities here today and an on-going era of great publishing expansion.  That would be the expansion of the media world, delivered by multiple methods to various devices, only one of which is paper. Here is where the disconnect comes from. In the old days - and what guys like Cable and I remember - the traditional publisher owned and controlled his own medium. Whether it was printed paper or on the airwaves, the traditional revenue stream was paid for by the advertiser. The advertiser needed that rare and hard to achieve platform of a large readership that traditional publishers provided.   This relationship, which used to pay for everything, has been totally and brutally disrupted. It will, of course, never return to the way it was. Fine, it's about time we got over it. 

    The truth is that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of publishers doing great these days. Admittedly not all, but Darwin allows for this in his publishing handbook. Those that adapt to the business conditions at hand have a great chance of survival, while those who can't adapt retire from the jungle. (Click here for the full article)

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted November 20, 2017
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: High-end digital publishers discover a new platform: print

    BoSacks Speaks Out: High-end digital publishers discover a new platform: print

    Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "There are no facts, only interpretations."  That comes mighty close to our understanding of the magazine industry today, at least when it comes to the various reports we constantly read on the subject. How many headlines have you seen that report that "Print is dead" or "Print is alive" or "Print is vibrant" and back to "Print is obsolete"? These types of headlines appear relentlessly every day. It's enough to make a grown man cry, and indeed some do.

    So, what does it mean? Can both concepts, death and vibrancy be correct?  The obvious answer is yes. It's all a matter of perspective. Falling back on another famous yet underappreciated quote from the prophet George Carlin, "Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that's twice as big as it needs to be."  

    And there you have it. The expectations and the glass that hold the print industry need to be adjusted to a smaller container to fit the current conditions we work in. Based on all relevant data that glass needs to be at least half the size it was ten years ago, as we print, mail and engage in half the advertising we once owned and cherished.  I offer this perspective because the only way to keep your sanity is to question the things that we have long taken for granted. (Click here for the full article)

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted November 20, 2017
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: This Walmart rapid delivery story at first glance has nothing to do with the publishing industry, but I will

    BoSacks Speaks Out: This Walmart rapid delivery story at first glance has nothing to do with the publishing industry, but I will

    Speed of delivery is becoming one of the paramount barometers to business success. How is your speed of delivery? How long does it take you to fulfill a subscription? Is it 6 or 8 weeks? Just writing that business cycle-time frame in the 21st century is embarrassing.

    Every year, as an industry, not only do newsstand sales drop but so do subscriptions. In this age of Amazon and Walmart and the legendarily accepted two-day delivery cycle nothing says antique when making a sale like, "I'll get it to you in month or maybe two."  There was once a time that this was an acceptable business practice. It was a time of the Sears Catalog and the horse and buggy. It was a simple time when no knew how to, nor needed to, accelerate a business proposition.

    Why do we print publishers continue such an aged process? In some cases, it is a tool for rate base adjustment. For others it is the cheapest - no, I mean the most cost-effective - path of delivery. There are several titles that I know of that ship their subscriptions instantly upon receipt. In my discussions with them they are successful with this approach, they deem it a worthwhile investment and their readers are respectful of the speedy delivery. (Click here for the Full article)

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted November 20, 2017
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  • BoSacks Speaks Out: On Charlottesville, Nazis, Trump, Hate and Love

    BoSacks Speaks Out: On Charlottesville, Nazis, Trump, Hate and Love

    It's not what we do in times of peace and tranquility that defines us, it is what we do in times of crisis that makes history and explains us to ourselves and our posterity.

    I usually try to avoid politics in these pages, which some have told me they find odd and out of character for an old outspoken hippy who was a twice elected politician and former publisher of several underground/over-ground political publications. 

    As most of you know I live in Charlottesville, Va. I am an immigrant coming south to live a little over five years ago from upstate New York. I have lived in many places both urban and rural. Charlottesville suits Carol and me, and we love living here.  It is a thoughtful, lovely community rich in multiculturalism, arts, music, history and natural beauty.  I enjoy living here more than anywhere else I have lived. 

    Yesterday that peace was temporally blown-up. We were invaded by self-proclaimed Nazis. They came here to disrupt a peaceful community and do as much harm as they could. They came with hate, helmets, shields and weapons. They came to "kill" our unity and ended up killing one of our citizens and grievously wounding dozens of others. 

    They succeeded in their mission far beyond their expectations. How so? They were endorsed by the President of the United States as co-equals. The Nazis were grossly and intentionally conflated with the peaceful defenders of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all by an ignoramus. I could go into writing pages of my outrage for the infant-king we are now saddled with. I could dissect his every infantile move of the last two years leading up to the recent, but sadly not the last, disgrace.  But I won't. 

    I write this rant to try to reconcile and understand my own feelings and share my disgust. It didn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way. Hate is obviously historic. Was there ever a time when it wasn't present somewhere, in some place or another? It is a sad reminder that with all the progress humanity has made in the last millennium we still have pockets of venom. (For the Complete Article Click Here)

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted August 13, 2017
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  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: An Honest Look at the Industry, Time Inc, High Times, & More

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: An Honest Look at the Industry, Time Inc, High Times, & More

    Re: An Honest Look at State of the Magazine Industry - Summer 2017

    Many thanks for sending David Pilcher's interesting article, "An Honest Look at [the] State of the Magazine Industry."  If nothing else, the article demonstrates how difficult it is to get definitive information on the number of titles launched, folded, or running in a given year. Different sources provide different numbers, and the differences can be pretty big. For example, Mediafinder (one of the sources of data in the article) believes there are more than twice as many magazines published in the U.S. as Statista (another source). Quite a margin of error!  But more to the point, a really "honest" article about the state of the magazine industry would discuss the number of magazine pages being printed in a given year, to reflect trends in both ad volume and circulation.  Considering that Pilcher is writing for a printer's blog, the quantity of pages printed would seem like a much more pertinent metric than the number of titles published. Of course, the definition of "magazine" is at the heart of all of this anyway. And in any case, the state of the magazine industry can't be genuinely relevant to more than a handful of people.  The trends in our individual businesses matter a lot.  The trends in other markets or in other media?  Not so much.  CLICK HERE FOR THE  FULL ARTICLE

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted August 08, 2017
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  • Bosacks Speaks Out: With Magazine Ads down 16%, what does it mean to the magazine Industry?

    Bosacks Speaks Out: With Magazine Ads down 16%, what does it mean to the magazine Industry?

    Let's be honest, although many attempt to do so, there is no way to find a positive spin to the data in this or any industry-wide report with magazine ads down another 16%. As an industry, we have seen negative numbers every year for a decade. Were you expecting a change?   Newsstand sales of magazines have plummeted at least 50%, and periodicals run through the USPS have dropped 55% and diminish each year.  Meanwhile ad sales, as seen in this report, continue on their long decline seeking a yet undiscovered plateau.   

    We have seen associations use sleight of hand to try to change the subject and use illusory metrics. Has that helped?  We have seen pundits declare that all is well and that print will live and be prosperous forever. Neither of those is helpful as a solution nor a recognition of the situation at hand.  

    While we were discussing this new data my friend Mr. Dead Tree offered this to me in an email yesterday: 

    "Maybe the message needs to be what AA and the other 12-step groups say: To fix a problem, first you have to acknowledge you have one. On the print side of our industry, there seems to be lots of denial and not much innovation."

    My hypothesis is that there is no longer a magazine publishing industry at large as we once understood it. There are however individual sectors that are incorrectly lumped into a total of false equivalency. There are the large publishing houses that have absolutely nothing in common with small niche publishers. Yet somehow, they are deemed to be in the same industry with incorrectly compared metrics. There are regional publishing houses that have little to nothing in common with enthusiast titles, but they are also judged by the same over-all criteria. 

    Let's be honest, although many attempt to do so, there is no way to find a positive spin to the data in this or any industry-wide report with magazine ads down another 16%. As an industry, we have seen negative numbers every year for a decade. Were you expecting a change?   Newsstand sales of magazines have plummeted at least 50%, and periodicals run through the USPS have dropped 55% and diminish each year.  Meanwhile ad sales, as seen in this report, continue on their long decline seeking a yet undiscovered plateau.   

    We have seen associations use sleight of hand to try to change the subject and use illusory metrics. Has that helped?  We have seen pundits declare that all is well and that print will live and be prosperous forever. Neither of those is helpful as a solution nor a recognition of the situation at hand.  

    While we were discussing this new data my friend Mr. Dead Tree offered this to me in an email yesterday: 

    "Maybe the message needs to be what AA and the other 12-step groups say: To fix a problem, first you have to acknowledge you have one. On the print side of our industry, there seems to be lots of denial and not much innovation."

    My hypothesis is that there is no longer a magazine publishing industry at large as we once understood it. There are however individual sectors that are incorrectly lumped into a total of false equivalency. There are the large publishing houses that have absolutely nothing in common with small niche publishers. Yet somehow, they are deemed to be in the same industry with incorrectly compared metrics. There are regional publishing houses that have little to nothing in common with enthusiast titles, but they are also judged by the same over-all criteria.  FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE

    by Bob Sacks
    Posted July 26, 2017
    (0) Comments

Publishing Executive E-Media

Folio

  • New York Magazine Appears to Be for Sale | Industry Notes

    Is New York magazine for sale? A spokeswoman for New York Media has confirmed that the Wasserstein family is considering "investment interest and strategic opportunities" and "evaluating the market" following reports that New York magazine and its digital offshoots are up for sale. Bruce Wasserstein originally acquired the magazine for $55 million in 2003, shortly before installing Adam Moss as...

    August 14, 2018 Read More

  • Chevy Parts and Truck Tires Dominate the Best Recalled Ads in Auto Mags

    Endemic ads were completely in the driver’s seat when it came to ads in automotive magazines this March. According to GfK MRI’s Starch Advertising Research, ads for Chevy parts and Nitto truck tires performed particularly well in consumer recall, together garnering four of the top six positions in five separate publications. Tied for the highest recall rate–90 percent of survey...

    August 09, 2018 Read More

  • Parents Magazine Proves Print Still Has Panache

    This year has brought forth a renewed optimism in print, but times are still tough for an industry that once had more advertising demand than inventory to sell. Last year, magazine media lost a reported $417.5 million in print ad revenue, a 6.4-percent drop from the previous period. So why exactly are we hearing anecdotes about print stabilizing or even rebounding? Well, perhaps it's due in part...

    August 09, 2018 Read More

Adage Digital

  • Alex Jones lost ground on Facebook and YouTube for months. Now InfoWars is starting from scratch

    Alex Jones' channels on YouTube and Facebook were shrinking for months before the panicky provocateur ultimately was shut down on the sites.Jones, who is infamous for his frenzied political rants online, had been losing views since 2016, when he peaked with about 125 million monthly views in November, coinciding with the presidential election. In July of this year, the number of views on his...

    August 15, 2018 Read More

  • Russian trolls amped up tweets for pro-Trump website

    Russia's social-media trolling operation began stepping up its Twitter presence to new heights in late July 2017 -- more than eight months after sowing discord and disinformation in the 2016 presidential election.The burst of activity -- revealed in a new, comprehensive dataset of nearly 3 million tweets -- had an overriding focus over the ensuing three months: popularizing headlines and news...

    August 15, 2018 Read More

  • Verizon is said to be close to Apple, Google deals for 5G TV

    Verizon is close to deals making Apple and Google its first video providers when it launches a superfast 5G wireless service in four cities later this year, according to people familiar with the situation.Under the deals, Verizon will offer 5G customers a free Apple TV box or a free subscription to Google's YouTube TV app for a live TV service, say the people, who asked not to be identified...

    August 14, 2018 Read More

  • Activision consolidates global media with OMD

    Activision, the Santa Monica, California-based video game developer, has consolidated its global media planning and buying with Omnicom's OMD without a review.The change comes about a month after Activision opted to stick with creative incumbent 72andSunny after a competitive review. The media assignment is effective immediately, according to a statement from OMD.First-person shooter game "Call...

    August 14, 2018 Read More

Unbound Media


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