It is hard to imagine that any business could lose nearly 40% of it volume over a five year period and continue to function in an acceptable fashion, but that is what has happened to the mass market distribution channel over the five years between 2007 and 2012. The final numbers for 2013 are not complete, but there is absolutely no reason to expect anything better; in fact all the indications are that they may even be worse. On top of that, remember that the financial performance of the channel's wholesaler level had been shaky for more that a decade preceding the abysmal numbers of the most recent six years. Just considering these simple and unchallengeable facts, is it unimaginable that 2014 turns out to be the year that the channel collapses?
Consider how last year ended, and also how the new year is beginning. In November, TNG, the largest wholesaler group, unilaterally imposed a schedule of distribution surcharges, ranging from two cents to eight cents per copy on all but 135 of the thousands of magazine titles it distributes. No publisher was unaffected.
Aggressive competition among the major wholesalers for chain retailers reignited, even in some markets where it had rarely been the norm. No one expects it will make the business more profitable. The two other large wholesaler groups are widely expected to follow the lead of TNG and propose new charges. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE
I think our publishing industry is at a crossroad and we have been approaching it for quite some time, at least since 2007 and surely since 2010, with the introduction of the iPad. Perhaps Mary Berner, CEO of the MPA, has it right when she now calls our former publishing houses Magazine Media.
In this day and age how would you define a magazine publisher? We are no longer what we once were, because our readers and, most importantly, our revenue streams are very different. And they, too, are continually becoming something else. What we are becoming is not less relevant, but is much harder to define and even more confusing as we proceed into the near future.
It seems to me we are suffering from a strong identity crisis. Pre-2007 if you were a publisher you were for the most part in the print business, and the bulk of your revenue was derived from print. Now a publisher can be called a publisher just by hosting a web page, sending out a newsletter, or a blog or, of course, a printed magazine.
The concept of magazine media does combine all the available platforms into one descriptive business type. But changing our business identity doesn’t solve the problems of lost revenue and shifting reading patterns of our current and former consumers.Even the understanding that there is a universe of multiple platforms beyond print doesn’t help most publishers. Sure the big guys have plenty of dough to throw at as many substrates as seems prudent, and they do just that. What about the moderate to small publishers? They don’t have the money or the internal infrastructure to be so omnipresent. HERE FOR THE FULL STORY
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?
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
There are more ways than ever to consume media, and more media than ever to consume. But as the landscape becomes ever more fragmented and advertising revenue continues to stall, Bob and Brooke ask the question: is the Golden Age of content sustainable, or just a supernova, a dying star burning exceptionally bright?
Posted by Ami Sedghi
Observers say move is attempt to secure future generation of readers in industry suffering endemic declines in print sales. Miss Vogue: there are plans for a second issue next year, though details have not yet been confirmed
With parted blonde locks, bubblegum pink lips and a knitted jumper thrown over a denim shirt, 19-year-old model Tigerlily Taylor has the perfectly stylised look that befits the front cover of Teen Tatler.
But despite the baby pink background, Taylor represents a new type of teen: fashion-savvy, confident and with the power to spend. And high-end women's magazines are desperate to appeal to this new generation of reader.
In May Vogue launched youth-targeted spinoff Miss Vogue, and the September issue of Tatler was accompanied with a glossy teenage supplement.
At first glance, the newly launched magazines may look like a revival of the teenage print market. But industry observers describe the move as an attempt to secure a future generation of readers in an industry suffering endemic declines in print sales.FULL ARTICLE
Generally, observers have been focusing on the sad performance of the past five-plus years, where total units are off by more than 40% and dollars by more than 30%. The New Single Copy decided to take a look at our review of the first half of 2003, ten years ago. Then, total unit sales for audited magazines were nearly 474 million copies. This year it's 250,000. That's a drop of 47.2%. Retail dollars went from more than $1.5 billion to $967 million, slipping 36.7%, and that's without any adjustment for inflation. Another point: The preliminary data for the first half of 2003 was based on 537 magazines with any single copy sales. This year the AAM reports contained only 346. Publishers seem to be making an emphatic statement about their confidence or lack of it in the retail marketplac
Most of us who read this magazine are in the word business. We are so sophisticated at this business that our expertise in wordsmanship has actual monetary value. People are willing to pay in one way or another for the clever and useful words we produce. I would add to that that we, and perhaps musicians, are one of the few industries that don't actually produce a physical product.