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
By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY
For decades, fans of The New Yorker have been drawn to its pages for its meticulously crafted prose, its enterprising journalism and its predictable typeface and layout. New Yorker fans are going to notice some small but subtle design changes across its pages. Over the last five years, The New Yorker’s total circulation grew by 1.1 percent to 1,055,922, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. But starting on Monday, New Yorker fans are going to notice some small but subtle design changes across its pages, which were led by its creative director, Wyatt Mitchell. The magazine is updating its table of contents, contributors page, “Goings On About Town,” Briefly Noted and Fiction sections. These changes include changing the number of columns, redrawing the Irvin typeface and introducing Neutraface as a secondary one. READ THE FULL ARTICLE
Incoming Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp rallied the troops at his first meeting for top execs, saying they need to be empowered and work efficiently for the company to succeed once it spins off from Time Warner. “We can’t really consider ourselves a magazine company anymore,” he said at the quarterly management meeting, according to people present. “We’re a media company. If you’re People magazine, your competition is Facebook, Twitter.” There were no big announcements, but Ripp fielded questions from Fortune managing editor Andy Serwer, then the audience, on a range of topics from acquisitions, compensation and church-state issues. READ THE FULL ARTICLE