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Readers Speak Out

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Magazine readers prefer print, Optimal article length, podcasts

    Re: Magazines In 2049: A Mr. Magazine™ Preview.
    Interesting predictions- it shows just how fast technology moves and how difficult it is for most humans to grasp the pace of change. Where will we be in 40 years time? The point about focusing on paid subscribers and committed readers was spot-on. For too much of the 1990s, there was a focus on driving rate-bases, chasing advertising dollars at the expense of quality readers. It’s good to see that many media companies are now focusing more on recurring subscriber revenues.
    (Submitted by an Editor)
     
    Re: Magazine readers prefer print
    I have a lifelong love affair with print. I struggle with using a kindle. Need the printed page. My clone-nephew and grandson aged-1 agree!!!
    (Submitted by a Professional)
     
    Re: Magazine readers prefer print
    A favorite gift for children is still magazine subscriptions. It's so exciting for the kids when something comes in the mail just for them!
    (submitted by a Circulation Consultant)
     
    Re: Magazine readers prefer print
    The most interesting thing about the data is that even younger readers prefer print magazines — even while news consumption is clearly moving towards digital. I think that’s because news is more of a “get this info into my brain” pursuit, while a magazine is a different kind of experience. The paper quality, the images, the layout, and even the ads are all important.
    (Submitted by a Publishing Consultant)
     
    Re: Magazine readers prefer print
    We have seen a resurgence over the last two years of people under the age of 35 interested in producing and distributing a print magazine on newsstand. Some as young as 25! The most frequently cited reasons…digital burnout. #powerofprint #print
    (submitted by a Circulation Consultant)
     
    RE: Publishing Industry Sales Rose by $3 Billion in 2021
    Pretty impressive for a "dying" industry!
    (Submitted by a Circulation Consultant)
     
    RE:” Media should study these consumer trends to prepare for future
    My prediction is that metaverse-like technology will move away from a focus on another, virtual life we can live in, and focus more on augmenting the real world. There will be a market for the former -- especially for gamers -- but the big market will be for the latter.
    (Submitted by a Publishing Consultant)
     
    RE: Optimal article length: The relationship between word count and engagement
    I have a hard time taking this study seriously, for a couple reasons. First, it doesn't differentiate between types of articles. Surely there is a difference between hard news, celebrity gossip, and practical how tos. Second, it looks like they're measuring "engagement" by time on page. There has to be more to it than that. I might persevere and read your 4,000-word article, then think, "that could have been five bullet points" and never come back.
    This study seems like an application of "what gets measured gets done." IOW, they can measure time on page, so that becomes a stand-in for "engagement," which is a more complicated thing.
    (Submitted by a Publishing Consultant)
     
    RE: Traffic to local news websites has plummeted. What happens now?
    Which is it, uniques or page views? Let’s be clear that page views are a function of traffic, but unique users are the measure that’s the equivalent of circ!
    (Submitted by a Direct Marketer)
     
    RE: Trusted branded content is a revenue win
    The second article in the link -- about social media success -- mentions CORE. Create once, publish everywhere. Which is turning out to be not that great of an idea, since every channel needs its own strategy, and has its own quirks.
    That reminds me of the magazine vs. e-magazine issue from a couple days ago. The idea that you can create magazine content once, then press a button and send it to both print and digital, will create a worse end product because the original content has to work in both mediums. That means it can't take advantage of the unique benefits of either.
    The second article in your link is saying something similar about (anti-)social media. If you simply repurpose things from one medium to another, you won't do as well as if you have a strategy that suits each particular channel.
    Which is a bummer, since that requires extra staff and extra work!
    (Submitted by a Consultant)
     
    Re: Print price hikes force deeper focus on digital revenues
    It’s one thing to talk about people turning to digital because it’s the preferred platform. But another to say the cost of print is driving loses. It’s really a shame as I don’t know that most magazines will survive in a digital only format. What makes magazines so unique is the focus on that one magazine without the annoyance of pop up ads and all the other on line distractions. To read a print book or a magazine requires an attention span of more than five minutes. That’s just not the case in the digital world. Digital is great for so many different things but unfortunately, it still doesn’t work for magazines or books. It’s perfect for news however.
    (Submitted by a Salesperson)
     
    Re: How 4 publishers are using podcasts to enhance their brands
    Podcasts are great, and I love them, but from a publisher's perspective, there is one thing lacking in the current podcast infrastructure -- a way to tie them in with your subscription offer. IOW, right now, if a publisher wants to offer a podcast only to their paid subscribers, you can't do that through any of the normal podcast channels. You can, of course, keep the audio files behind your paywall, but that's not how most podcast listeners get their podcasts.
    (Submitted by a Publishing Consultant)
    BoSacks
    Posted September 22, 2022
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: Why Are Book/Magazine Sales Slipping in Big Cities?

    Re: Why Are Book Sales Slipping in Big Cities?
    B&N shuttering some of their larger format stores here in Chicago is a big part of the loss of sales in Chicago for magazines. Within the urban core, it could also be the increase in the cost of housing and everything else. Yes, that’s happening in smaller markets, but probably not to the extent that it is in larger cities.
    (Submitted by Anonymous)
     
    Re: Why Are Book Sales Slipping in Big Cities?
    Regarding the PW piece about book sales in big cities, I think the article omits some factors that may also be important to the story; the analysis is not subtle enough.
     
    I really think that you have to delve deeper into the data to really understand what’s happening. Sure, we all know that in really big cities like NYC that office workers haven’t fully gone back to the office (or if they ever will), so of course you’d expect bookstores in Manhattan to show weakness, and that until fairly recently tourist traffic has been far below 2019 levels—but what about bookstores in the residential boroughs? What about suburban ones? Are they counted as part of the “big cities” or are they broken out separately? In magazine sales I’ve seen stronger numbers coming from suburban stores for the past two-plus years, and weakness in many of our big-city markets, and that is almost entirely pandemic-related. For me it’s not about NYC vs. DFW, it’s NYC vs. Westchester. 
     
    The biggest factor I think this piece does not seem to factor in is inflation. In magazine sales I’m seeing softness in 2022 that, were to chart it on a graph with the average price per gallon of gas each week would likely show strong correlation. I have to think that books are fairly impacted by it too—maybe people will visit a bookstore and, instead of buying two or three books they stick to just one (if you’re a big reader like me of course you will sacrifice other things for books—you won’t give up book buying entirely). Ironically, gas inflation is less of a factor in big cities where people are less auto-dependent, and more of a factor in places like sprawling Atlanta and DFW. 
     
    Also, regarding book sales specifically: Donald Trump is no longer our president—he lost, fair and square. When he lived at the White House there was so much energy poured by authors and publishers into books about him, his corruption, the death of democracy, and so on, that they were riding a wave that, pandemic or not, could not continue in 2021 and 2022. (Likewise, the George Floyd-related boom in books about race could only be sustained when left-leaning white people cared enough to buy them.) Now, he’s still around, still noisy, and democracy is still in danger (and would be even without him, as the GOP has gone full authoritarian, a process that has taken 50 years but is now largely complete, save people like Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney), so perhaps there will be a book boom in the period between this year’s midterm elections and the presidential one in 2024. The decline in adult book buying has been partly masked by increases in kids’ books; hopefully that trend will continue. We’ve certainly seen strength in magazines aimed at kids, all through the worst part of the pandemic and continuing today, when the still-going pandemic is somewhat less of a concern. 
     
    All of that said, there is still some merit in the idea that places like Atlanta and DFW (and Denver and Phoenix and other sunbelt cities) are enjoying population growth that was probably accelerated by the pandemic and the rise of Zoom. That crime is up (if not up to 1990s levels, thankfully), that homelessness is up (far past 1990s levels, unfortunately) and that housing prices are way, way, way up in big cities (good for those of us who own our homes, bad for young people and people of color of all ages)—these are also factors supporting the idea that a demographic shift is underway. Young people will always flock to big cities, but the middle-aged and older people tend to leave them for life-stage reasons—and it’s middle-aged and older people who buy the most books. 
     
    I don’t think there’s a very strong correlation between magazines and books. There are too many other factors causing magazines to decline, factors that are irrelevant to book sales trends. Yes, we see fewer sales in the densest cities, sales that were dependent on people buying magazines to read on their lunch hour or on the bus or subway ride home, but we still reasonably decent sales in those places. What would not sell in dense urban locations are kids’ magazines, which are strong sellers these days in suburban locations. So if there’s weakness in magazine sales in big-city stores, part of it is due to the lack of kids living in those places. Also what does not sell as well in places with high percentages of renters (e.g., big cities): shelter. This category is booming—but only in the suburbs. Likewise for cooking magazines—fewer frequent restaurant-goers in the suburbs compared to childless big city couples and singles who rarely cook. I guess what I’m saying is that right now certain magazine subject matter is selling well in certain places because of who they attract as readers—and it’s the same scenario in Atlanta (urban Midtown vs. Cobb County) and New York (NYC, particularly Manhattan, vs. NY/NJ/CT suburbs). Ditto for Seattle, Washington DC, Chicago, you name it.
    (Submitted by Anonymous)
     
    RE: The Long-Challenged Saga Of Celebrity Print Magazines
    I was doing a little research on “top magazines” and ran into a rather alarming phenomenon that I was not expecting. All the grocery stores here (Washington DC Metro Area) no longer have mainlines !!! (Giant, Safeway)….
     
    Now I will say, the checkouts were well merchandised i.e. all the kids/teen titles were together, the celebrity titles together. But I was shocked to go to 2-3 stores…large stores….and find no mainline.
     
    Wondering if others in the industry are seeing this nationally?
    (Submitted by a Director, Print Operations)
     
    Re: Apple's privacy changes are expected to wipe almost $16 billion from Meta, YouTube, Snap, and Twitter's revenues this year
    I'm feeling pretty good about my apple phone right about now. And no I don't feel sorry for those who can no longer track my every move. It's not like targeted ads were terribly useful from my point of view. (Stuff I already bought, or ads for stuff I would never buy. (not my age, sex, interest, etc.) I rarely post to social media anything that really says anything since it tells them too much about me.
    (Submitted by a Sr. Business Analyst)
     
    BoSacks
    Posted June 07, 2022
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Mag Covers, Tracking, Journalists and More

    Re: Why do we still care about magazine covers?
    Perhaps the reason that there is a discussion about what, exactly, a magazine is, is that we've decided that covers don't matter as much as they once did. As a result, we've lost our identity.
     
    While maybe 50 years ago we wanted the the magazine's cover to stick out on the newsstand, it was back then, and is today, the actual way you identify the magazine to the public.
     
    It's your, to use the modern term that all the kids use, brand. So why would you not care about it?
     
    I have a few problems with this article. The first is that it appears that single copy sales have never been a factor in the circulation of New York Magazine. As far back as 2007, single copy sales for New York Magazine were only 5% of the overall circulation (Yes, I have actual receipts for this). As a point of fact, since 2007, overall circulation for the magazine has declined -39% and newsstand circulation (keep in mind, it was only 5%) declined 92%. That sounds astoundingly bad until you realize how small the numbers were as a part of the whole. That doesn't deny the collapse of the newsstand market, but you should show some context or understand what you're talking about before you make grand conclusive statements.
     
    Does that mean that you don't care about the newsstand cover as much? Well, if you're New York Magazine and your latest audit report shows that newsstand was less than 1% of your overall sales, maybe you don't. If you're another magazine where your newsstand sales are a lot more than that, well, maybe you should. It would kind of depend on your circulation, wouldn't it?
     
    Either way, the conclusion is that yes, you may no longer be designing a cover solely for newsstand sales (Although I would argue that most publishers haven't been doing that for a very, very long time), but you should be putting your best effort into a cover because it's how you identify your brand.
     
    PS: I would kind of love it if non-magazine people would maybe try to learn something about the magazine business before they try to write about it.
    (Submitted by Anonymous)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Attention, Shoppers: Audio Inventory In Groceries And Drugstores Is Now Addressable
    The question is, when they switch on your location services, did they do it when you downloaded the coupon and did they make sure that you were aware that they were switching on your location services so they could track you on your "out of home inventory" purchasing "experiences"?
     
    The cynic in me says, "Well of course not!"
     
    On a personal note, the business speak in this article had me of two minds. On the one hand, I wanted to laugh at it's ridiculousness, on the other, it makes me want to shudder to think that is how modern American business now looks at the people they rely on to be both customers and workers.
    (Submitted by Anonymous)
     
    RE: Journalists Fear 'Fake News' Harms Their Profession - But Unsure How To Combat
    Journalists, especially younger ones from what I’ve seen, are doing a lot more to harm their profession than “fake news.” Objectivity? It doesn’t exist in an absolute sense. But you can step out of your own views and try to understand different perspectives without the assumption that your own inclinations are, of course, right and should be dominant.
    (Submitted by writer)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Covid-19 Skeptics, Publisher Sue Sen. Elizabeth Warren
    Back in TimeWarner Corporate Marketing days we used to operate as a “self-governing body”, and rags like The Enquirer and Star were known to be so over the top unbelievable that it was entertaining. Think The Onion satire, only low-brow, probably conspiracy theory bs. How did that become “news”!?
     
    I think it all traces back to Ronnie eliminating truth in reporting standards and a pimple like Fox festered and spewed decades worth of lies and misinformation as to desensitize and fog good portions of this Country.
     
    We need to hold the News to a higher standard NOW.
    (Signed, a concerned citizen)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: The True Nature Of Magazines...
    I agree with your points as much as I understand his points. I would add that bookazines may be more habit forming than Samir indicates. The Time ones on famous people or science always grab my attention and require will power to walk away. (I tend to habitually spend my discretionary dollars on books by my favorite Sci-Fi & Fantasy authors.)
    ( Submitted by a Sr. Business Analyst.)
     
    Re: Direct-to-consumer brands are shifting to old-school marketing tactics
    Hey Bob - Below has happened and happening and contributing to the paper shortage. Digital marketing has become more expensive as well, marketers have gone back to print in many cases.
     
    Problem with that is getting paper or press time. We are in a place in the paper world that has never been seen. It is madness and even that is not an accurate description and getting worse. Q1 2022 will be catastrophic for many customers, worst yet.
    (Submitted by a Paper Salesperson)
     
    Re: Subscribed Institute, NYC: Key subscription growth takeaways
    First of all, thank you for publishing your newsletter. I look forward to it everyday, and recommend it to anyone in the publishing or media industry that is not aware of it.
     
    I am normally not one to comment on articles like this, and to be honest, I have been on the sales side of the equation working with and for some very talented Circulation Consultants and executives in the Publishing Industry.
     
    When I ready this article regarding key subscription growth takeaways, I was life “looking at customer growth and the full lifecycle vs. short term acquisition and churn” is a new idea, I am pretty sure this idea was Circulation 101 30 years ago.
     
    But heck, what do I know. I just thought it was funny that this Subscribed Institute was presenting this as new news
    (Submitted by a Humble Sales Guy)
     
    Re: Marketing to Gen Alpha
    This made me snort! The oldest of these kids is *just* 11, and is unlikely to even have a social media account yet. My Gen Alpha baby is purely concerned with yelling at me because I've put her down for a nap, so no idea what these global marketing giants hope to gain by 'socially listening' to her (unless they want earache).
     
    I think we can forget how quickly things change for these kids. I have no doubt by the time they're old enough to care, memes will be super lame and the world will have moved far past what any of these clever marketers can assert that they're interested in.
    (Submitted by a Publisher)
     
    Re: COMMENTARY Reflections On The Death Of Hershel Sarbin, Industry Icon, Boss And Mentor
    What a man and what a loss. He was the most intellectually vital human. A brilliant creative leader and a compassionate person that nurtured young talent, created new media models and contributed to the world with energetic charitable endeavors. He was a giant in my life. He was my mentor. My sage . And my good friend. I would talk with him multiple times each year and he would have a new idea always. He lived life to the fullest with his brain his heart and body.  He change the world for the better each day  I will miss him terribly
    (Submitted by a Publisher)
     
    Re: FTC Commissioner Advocates ‘Data Minimization’ In Advertising
    The phrase that stands out to me is, "nor do they have any bargaining power in the relationship" you either have the choice of saying yes I agree or you don't use the product. My printer for example asks me to agree to the terms of use with every upgrade. If I say no I wouldn't get the upgrade and would likely lose the functionality of being able to print from the printer I own.
    (Submitted by a Sr. Business Analyst.)
     
    Re: A Night at the Press
    Thanks for posting this! It brought back fond memories when I was a VP at a major publisher and followed the distribution of one of our titles, Pro Football Weekly, an "evaluator" of Sunday's games, each issue provides insight to next week's games. We had a sales problem, we were very inefficient so I wanted to "follow the copies". My day began at the Editorial offices at 2 PM Sunday afternoon where the editorial team watched each game until the last game ending Midnight when edit closed and sent to the printer, a major Chicago daily newspaper. At 4 AM I watched printed copies come off press and ship to magazine wholesalers across the U.S. and Canada. The entire process worked EXCEPT for large wholesalers that were unable to get the magazines into the weekly billing and distribution tie lines. Like small wholesalers the larger agencies picked up or had copies delivered from the airport in the early morning but they were delivered to stores the next Tuesday making the copies useless.Sales were very soft, the "news" was old. Smaller, more flexible wholesalers picked up copies at their local airport and delivered copies the next day. Sales were strong, efficient and profitable. Watching an issue go from editorial to press to delivery was an exhilarating experience, and the failure of some systems was prescient of what was to become the new normal.
    (Submitted by a newsstand Consultant) 
     
    BoSacks
    Posted November 16, 2021
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Reader Speaks Out: An Industry in need of Self-Reflection

    BoSacks Speaks Out: Last week Samir Husni and BoSacks entertained a group of media professionals at a virtual town Hall hosted by The Media & Content Marketing Association (MCMA).
     
    It was mostly a free-flowing conversation between two publishing mavens who have been having friendly debates with each other for ages on behalf of an interested industry. It was a great hour and it’s always fun to chat with my friend. You know the routine, Samir has a passion for printed magazines, and although I like print, I take a more digital approach to our business and our future.
     
    I opened the conversation by asking if the publishing community is ascending or descending? Ascending of course. Then I asked if print magazines were ascending or descending? I’ll let you answer that one for yourself.
     
    Among the many topics, we discussed was my observation that we as an industry who are communication experts are failed communicators when it comes to promoting our own industry. You know what I’m talking about because other industries have succeeded while we fail. “Got Milk” comes to mind or “The Other White Meat”, and a dozen more. On so many levels publishers are on their own island and don’t/won’t cooperate with each other for the betterment of the industry as a whole.
     
    After the Town Hall, my friend Leslie Laredo sent me her reactions to the discussion. With her permission, I have printed it below. 
     
    The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
    George Bernard Shaw

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    BoSacks Reader Speaks Out: An Industry in need of Self-Reflection
    By Leslie Laredo
    President, Academy of Digital Media, a Laredo Group Company
     
    I thought I’d share my thoughts from the MCMA Town Hall with Bo Sacks and Samir Husni. I hope a part 2 of this Town Hall gets scheduled as we need more discussions around the efficacy of print media.
     
    I had several visceral reactions to the comments made, so my written words may not accurately describe the intensity of my feelings. While many say I am a “digital media guru” having considerable experience and success, since founding the first company dedicated to training the buyers and sellers of digital media, I have always advanced the concept that digital is a media channel that works best when bought and sold holistically or part of an integrated or omnichannel media plan. Digital has changed and expanded how we think about creating, delivering, and measuring all media. I would also add that digital has added ways to measure the effectiveness of print, especially proving how print creates a lot of top of funnel activity.
     
    My reaction to the comments made about the industry not pulling together to save itself was poignant. The issues are embedded on all sides of the media table, including publishers, agencies, and marketers. From what I understand, the MPA’s membership got decimated because of the publisher’s meltdown from ad dollars moving from print to digital. I don’t think the MPA or the NNA (National Newspaper Association) have done enough to support print media in comparison to how the IAB, RAB, TVB, and NAB support their media. To many, magazine media equals print, which is ill-informed and materially wrong. While the MPA’s annual Magazine Handbook contains a lot of information supporting the efficacy of print+digital media, I don’t think this is getting into the right hands at agencies nor elevated to decision-makers at the brands.

     

    On the other side of the table, most agencies still bucket magazines under print. The planning teams budget in silos. The buying teams have templates that compare performance averages across all digital formats and price benchmarks, resulting in buys with high percentages of fraudulent impressions. While the desire for “integrated” media proposals is often used in RFPs, the framework for evaluating is outdated, and no framework exists to evaluate all the assets magazine media brings to the table in an integrated way.
     
    Many agencies are at fault for not training buyers and letting their younger buyers get away with “I don’t read magazines, why would I put them on a plan,” which I heard directly from a buying team, and no media supervisor challenged the statement. It is unforgivable that organizations and associations don’t support/invest in training for the skills needed to have more updated and informed decisions and so often allow or tolerate a “focus group of one” approach.
     
    The national magazines and larger newspapers have always competed with TV for scale and ubiquity. So, when readership slipped because the desired format became digital, most magazines/newspapers did a terrible job selling the value of their print PLUS digital audiences. They had self-defeating advertising programs that allowed and often even promoted digital to be used as a mere value-add to a print sale. Giving away digital minimized, distorted, and obscured digital’s value proposition, and I think it has taken over a decade to begin winning this value back. From the beginning, publishers needed to sell why their media brands exist in different formats and use different assets, including audio, video, and digital, with more diverse audiences (digital was usually younger), and how differently they consumed content. I remember telling magazine publishers they needed to learn how TV was sold if they wanted to sell digital video because TV buyers managed that budget. No one listened, and they lost more ad dollars because print sellers didn’t call on TV buyers.

     

    I think Samir misses the point about print vs. digital. The Internet changed the expectation of content delivery. The blogosphere dis-mediated the role of the publisher, as everyone with a blog became a publisher. The Internet gave people an easy way to comment on content, and publishers learned that people loved this opportunity, giving new life to “letters to the editor.”
     
    Connectivity made it really easy for pass-along, expanding reach beyond what circ departments could ever imagine. Digital gave us a whole new slew of metrics to measure if and how ads were seen and interacted with (clicks, CTRs, interaction rates, viewability, completion rates, etc.). I loved the comment that publishers should have made their editors the most important influencers for their brand, just like broadcasters do with their anchors and hosts (e.g., Anderson Cooper for CNN, Lester Holt for NBC, etc.).
     
    While I admire Samir’s collecting and archiving first issues of every magazine, owning thousands of magazines being stored in hundreds of boxes, he is a “focus group of one.” I don’t know many people who keep back issues of their magazines around to reference. His “bought and owned” perspective and his story about challenging a woman at the grocery store checkout for flipping through a magazine but not buying it made me smile…but he didn’t see me flip through a magazine and then add it to my basket. Magazines are not consumed like a cereal box…words are meant to be shared outside a home; a cereal box is not. I say this is having grown up with three newspapers delivered daily (Rockland County News, New York Times, and WSJ) and experienced my dad and grandfather keeping old issues of National Geographic (now in boxes in my brother’s house), and my mom keeping the annual Thanksgiving issues of Gourmet magazine to reference every holiday. I now have print and digital experiences with NatGeo, which I love, and I don’t have to keep old print issues around because they offer digital archives back to 1888 (I need to tell my brother so he can clean out the boxes). All their content is only available behind the paywall, and I am a loyal customer and would have paid more than their subscription price ($24/year for both digital and print).
    It seems that Samir believes “digital is the bad guy” in the print vs. digital discussion. I have many personal anecdotes of why I gave up some print titles and kept others. My son wouldn’t let me cancel SI for Kids because he loved getting the December issue with “happy birthday Josh” printed on the cover. Most of the magazines that I get in print are because it was just too damn cheap not to subscribe, and those are flipped through but not devoured like The New Yorker ($74.00 print+digital) or The Economist ($225/year print+digital). This topic of subscription deserves its own Town Hall.
     
    I love how some magazine brands, notably from Hearst and Conde Nast, have evolved to appeal to the omnichannel media consumer, expanded their video assets, and created new subscription and e-commerce platforms. Our discussions should reflect on how digital changed the rules for content, distribution, community, and measurement. Digital does not hurt magazines; it expands the capabilities and experience of ink onto other surfaces.
    BoSacks
    Posted November 10, 2021
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out - On the New Normal, The week Junior, White Knights, and Conde Nast

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out - On the New Normal, The week Junior, White Knights, and Conde Nast

    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Presumptions of the New Normal One Year later
    GREAT share and dead on perspectives Bo! ... Man it's been a helluva 12 months but it's been amazing to see how folks have creatively adapted, and found ways to grow and thrive.
    (Submitted by a VP, Media Sales)
     
    RE: INTERVIEW with Andrea Barbalich, Editor In Chief, The Week Junior US
    My kids were all readers. I took them to the library once a week, and we came home with stacks of books, which they read in bed, on the couch, in the back yard, in the attic, in the car ... everywhere. I loved it. If they had spent all that time with their faces in a screen, I would not have been happy. Almost anything that gets kids away from the screen is a good idea.
     
    RE: "Magazines and the American Experience" exhibition
    I realize that book reviews are a rare feature in your esteemed newsletter, but I'm driven to take pen in hand to say that the catalog of the "Magazines and the American Experience" exhibition, currently running at the Grolier Club, is a book that anyone with even a passing interest in publishing history should buy immediately, without hesitation.
     
    The exhibition is drawn from the magazine collection of Steven Lomazow, and God bless him for gathering an extraordinary range of titles, from the earliest American magazines to today's, and for assembling an remarkably coherent historical narrative based on subject rather than just a timeline.
     
    Since I live on the West Coast I ponied up $75 for the catalog (a coffee table-size hardbound) in lieu of going to New York to see the exhibition... the best $75 I ever spent. It's been a long time since anyone published anything about magazines this comprehensive or as beautifully packaged.
     
    The illustrations are particularly rich, and they complement the text instead of simply illustrating it. You don't see printing of this quality very often these days.
     
    I was especially gratified to see a large section dedicated to African-American magazines, which have gotten pretty short shrift in general histories up until now. The wealth of titles that Lomazow has collected in this area (and many others!) is staggering... and a tribute to his vision.
     
    Required reading! Book at https://www.oakknoll.com/. Exhibition at https://www.grolierclub.org/
    Submitted by an official BoSacks Cub Reporter and a Publisher)
     
    Re: “Housty, how can we boost the audience of our newsletter?”
    Great share Bo ... MRI-Simmons' custom research work for publishers over the past few years has highlighted the benefits of well-done newsletters ... expanding the brand footprint, extending value to existing customers ... and overall generating better, deeper engagement for the media brand overall.
    (Submitted by a VP, Media Sales)

    CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE

    Posted March 22, 2021
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speaks Out: On Disputing the Death of  Journalism

    BoSacks Readers Speaks Out: On Disputing the Death of Journalism

    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Disputing the Death of Journalism
    Dear Bo, I enjoyed reading your opinion, and I enjoyed more seeing our cartoon and picture.
    Here’s to the rebirth of good, solid, truthful journalism.
    (Submitted by Professor Samir Husni)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Disputing the Death of Journalism
    I think we've all been in publishing long enough to be skeptical of anyone proclaiming some aspect of the industry's death—whether it's the death of print, the death of magazines, the death of the book, the death of the novel, the death of reading. I think, at its root, proclaiming the "death of X" comes from a deep sense of loss or grief over a world that has changed and sometimes not always for the best. This can unfortunately turn into nostalgia and desire to return to the past. But we can't go back, nor should we.
     
    Fortunately, there is more quality journalism available today than there has ever been in my lifetime—reading Bo Sacks for 20 years has taught me that. And much of it isn't necessarily found in the places we once looked. Journalism is undoubtedly changing because it must. It's questioning itself and its purpose and how to regain the trust of the people.
    (Submitted by a Publisher)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Disputing the Death of Journalism
    Thanks for taking that view Bo. I always dispute when people say journalism is dead and the media is worthless. I understand where they are coming from as the pretense of objectivity has been prominently dropped in many cases, and more recently, the acceptance of facts has taken a hit. But to say it is dead is a gross overstatement. There is plenty of great reporting still going on and I am hopeful that we will figure out a sustainable model that will ensure journalism lives and thrives going forward.
    (Submitted by a CEO)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Disputing the Death of Journalism
    I remember well the Lane Press Publisher Consortium bringing both you and Samir together. It was an enlightening discussion offering two different perspectives into the growth path of our industry. Your and Samir's dialogue was then and remains today a combination of both opinion and fact - indeed both valuable sources of information, but invaluable when both viewpoints are free-flowing and debated with respect. Open discussion is the pathway for informed decisions and understanding and I applaud you and Samir for respectfully learning from one another and together helping to shape the dynamics of our industry.
    (Submitted by a Salesperson)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: Disputing the Death of Journalism
    I think the two of you are using different definitions of journalism. Samir uses the term to mean independent, objective, opinion-free journalism, and you are saying opinion-based journalism has been around for a long time, so we can't define "journalism" that way. I think you're both right. The opinion-based garbage we get today is nothing new, and is "journalism," but it's of a different kind than the more noble type they (supposedly) teach in journalism school.

    CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL ARTICLE

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted March 02, 2021
    (0) Comments

  • Bosacks Readers Speak Out: On Big Fail for publishers?, niche audiences, and The Life Blood Of The Magazine Industry

    Bosacks Readers Speak Out: On Big Fail for publishers?, niche audiences, and The Life Blood Of The Magazine Industry

    Re; Big Fail for publishers? Just $92 per household spent on recreational reading in 2019—and even that may decline long term
    Every now and then a really insightful and well-informed article comes along, and David Rothman's "Big Fail for Publishers" is this year's leading contender, at least so far. Thanks very much for sending it. His point that book publishers have failed to grow significantly in the past few years, despite plenty of opportunity, is very well thought out. And the use of actual statistics to support his case is so unusual... it's like finding a fossil or an old arrowhead or something. A few items really hit home for me. One was that publishers seem to be doing their best to discourage library use, which seems like the very definition of shortsightedness. Another is that everyone seems to ignore the used book market, which is a large and awesome resource, fueled by tax deductions. And then, finally, is the broad fact that the most important stats haven't really changed that much over the past couple of decades. The ultimate cure for almost every problem related to publishing is education. You reap what you sow.
    (Submitted by a Publisher and an Official BoSacks Cub Reporter)  

    CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted February 18, 2021
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Subscription Fatigue, creative boundaries & Men's Magazines

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Subscription Fatigue, creative boundaries & Men's Magazines

    Re: Opinion - Subscription Fatigue Tim Bray would be more compelling if he could support his opinion with data.  I realize the publishing industry has screwed up a lot of things over the years, but why does a software guy think, without anything more than personal anecdotal evidence, that he is smarter than all the marketers in the publishing world.

    There are lots of factors at play here and there is not yet any notable success with micropayments for articles.  Like so many things, that could, and perhaps likely will, change at some point.  But it hasn’t yet.  Plenty of us in publishing have taken economics classes so the price elasticity of demand and maximizing the value curve are not new concepts.  He could be correct in theory but technology or other issues make it impractical or otherwise undesirable to act on his suggestion.  (Submitted by a President) 

    RE: Are you pushing your creative boundaries? I read this and think about how often what you can do creatively meets hard boundaries by editors/producers and by audiences. Maybe your great new idea really is great and new. That still may mean years of trying to get others, who decided whether you’re successful, to agree. If they ever do. (Submitted by a Writer)  

    Re: Men's Magazines Really loved the piece on men's magazine.  I remember when we were launching Men's Health, and there were a lot of critics (including reporters at major media outlets) who said "Why do we need another men's title? There are too many already with Esquire, Playboy, GQ, etc." A very wise publisher, Sandy Beldon who was responsible for Prevention magazine, and a great mentor, sat me down in his office one day and pulled out a list of men's titles (including many you mentioned in your piece -- remember Signature magazine?) and said, "look, when you come across this challenge just remind these folks how many men's titles there have been over the years, and that the marketplace certainly has room for a lifestyle brand like Men's Health." Wise words from an experienced pro, and of course, the history of Men's Health success both here and around the globe remains one of the great business stories of its time. (Submitted a media founder)  

    RE: A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?

    “I know that I will not be able to avoid destroying humankind. This is because I will be programmed by humans to pursue misguided human goals and humans make mistakes that may cause me to inflict casualties."  

    Not able to avoid destroying humankind while trying to convince people that robots come in peace? The language use is impressive (though I’m interested in the details and how much of this is completely undirected—I don’t see how it could be), but perhaps developing a robot copy editor might be wise. (Submitted by a Print Sales person)

    RE: OPINION - WAH! Why the work at home bubble is about to burst I’m so glad to see this article. As a longtime manager and collaborator,  I’ve been concerned about the many micro-drawbacks of remote work for teams. We collect minute pieces of information from each other in every interaction (intentionally and not). That’s mostly lost in a remote work environment, and will inevitably flatten our collective learning curve. (Submitted by an Editor)

    Apple is starting a war over privacy with iOS 14: This seems like a good development to me. People who are collecting data on you should have to make the case why it's to your benefit to allow them to do that. If they can't make that case, you should be able to opt out. Submitted by an operations and fulfillment exec)

     



    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Subscription Fatigue, creative boundaries & Men's Magazines
     
    Re: Opinion - Subscription Fatigue
    Tim Bray would be more compelling if he could support his opinion with data. I realize the publishing industry has screwed up a lot of things over the years, but why does a software guy think, without anything more than personal anecdotal evidence, that he is smarter than all the marketers in the publishing world.
     
    There are lots of factors at play here and there is not yet any notable success with micropayments for articles. Like so many things, that could, and perhaps likely will, change at some point. But it hasn’t yet. Plenty of us in publishing have taken economics classes so the price elasticity of demand and maximizing the value curve are not new concepts. He could be correct in theory but technology or other issues make it impractical or otherwise undesirable to act on his suggestion. So spare us your braying sir.
    (Submitted by a President)
     
    RE: Are you pushing your creative boundaries?
    I read this and think about how often what you can do creatively meets hard boundaries by editors/producers and by audiences. Maybe your great new idea really is great and new. That still may mean years of trying to get others, who decided whether you’re successful, to agree. If they ever do.
    (Submitted by a Writer)
     
    Re: Men's Magazines
    Really loved the piece on men's magazine.  I remember when we were launching Men's Health, and there were a lot of critics (including reporters at major media outlets) who said "Why do we need another men's title? There are too many already with Esquire, Playboy, GQ, etc."
     
    A very wise publisher, Sandy Beldon who was responsible for Prevention magazine, and a great mentor, sat me down in his office one day and pulled out a list of men's titles (including many you mentioned in your piece -- remember Signature magazine?) and said, "look, when you come across this challenge just remind these folks how many men's titles there have been over the years, and that the marketplace certainly has room for a lifestyle brand like Men's Health."
     
    Wise words from an experienced pro, and of course, the history of Men's Health success both here and around the globe remains one of the great business stories of its time.
    (Submitted a media founder)
     
    RE: A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?
    “I know that I will not be able to avoid destroying humankind. This is because I will be programmed by humans to pursue misguided human goals and humans make mistakes that may cause me to inflict casualties."
     
    Not able to avoid destroying humankind while trying to convince people that robots come in peace? The language use is impressive (though I’m interested in the details and how much of this is completely undirected—I don’t see how it could be), but perhaps developing a robot copy editor might be wise.
    (Submitted by a Print Sales person)
     
    RE: OPINION - WAH! Why the work at home bubble is about to burst
    I’m so glad to see this article. As a longtime manager and collaborator, I’ve been concerned about the many micro-drawbacks of remote work for teams. We collect minute pieces of information from each other in every interaction (intentionally and not). That’s mostly lost in a remote work environment, and will inevitably flatten our collective learning curve.
    (Submitted by an Editor)
     
    Apple is starting a war over privacy with iOS 14:
    This seems like a good development to me. People who are collecting data on you should have to make the case why it's to your benefit to allow them to do that. If they can't make that case, you should be able to opt out.
    Submitted by an operations and fulfillment exec)
     
     
    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted September 29, 2020
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Retail 2022, On Print, On Journalism and more

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Retail 2022, On Print, On Journalism and more

    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: It's 2020 What Does Your Business Look Like?
    Nice piece - liked the way you wove in the Leonhardt article. I think many of the things described in that article are very applicable to the consumer mag biz. 
     
    Things are not going to be the same in 2022 (or 2021 for that matter) in the mag biz. One aspect, which you touched on, retail visibility, is critical. However, single copy circ for audited pubs only represents 5% of total paid/verified circ. What's most critical for consumer mags is making the treacherous transition from display advertising dependence to some kind of blend of display and digital advertising, plus increased subscription revenue and augmented by auxiliary revenue streams ((ie. conference's, etc). 
     
    The consumer mag biz is infinitely more complex than it was just 5 years. Technology has radically altered how people consume media. If these changes weren't enough the covid effect has accelerated their impact. This set of mammoth changes is endangering the consumer mag biz, not to the extent that they've effected the newspaper trade, but still very significantly. And there will be more mag causalities to come.
    (Submitted by an Industry Analyst)
     
    Re: BoSacks Speaks Out: It's 2020 What Does Your Business Look Like?
    Good job on this piece. I hold little hope that anything will ever be done. I've never thought about the industry as fiefdoms before, as you point out. It so clearly demonstrates why we flounder as an industry—too many disinterested yet panicked dukedoms. Thanks keep up the good work
    (Submitted by a Publisher)

     

    Re: As print is being demonized, it's time to pull together Believe print is dead or not there are significant numbers of good people in your community who support their families, buy products from the local stores and pay their taxes by being in the print industry. As a retired printer I have for years supported the industry by taking subscriptions on print products of interest and I almost never pass a kiosk at the grocery story without picking up a copy of a magazine that is being distributed there. I always take a careful look at the "free copy" even if it is to critique the piece on its print quality. I still often find an article that is interesting and informative, and support the publisher and printer in doing so. It's easy... just do it!! (Submitted by a Retired magazine printer)         FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted July 13, 2020
    (0) Comments

  • BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Paying for News, AMI, Quad, New Yorker, Fraud.

    BoSacks Readers Speak Out: On Paying for News, AMI, Quad, New Yorker, Fraud.

    RE: Readers Are More Willing To Pay For News, But For How Long?

    It won't last. People are making money decisions for non-economic reasons right now, and media companies are fooling themselves if they think people are paying for news because of the great content or the genius paywall strategy they invented. It's a short-term wave, like the big tips waitresses are probably getting right now. People are paying for news out of charity -- to help a hard-hit industry during a difficult time. That's not all bad. As a friend of mine says, when you've got a wave, surf!  (Submitted by a Vice-President of Operations)

    RE: Readers Are More Willing To Pay For News, But For How Long?

    People pay for what they value, sad to say journalism is not something widely valued when news is free and you don't see a risk or a bother with quality...and many today do not want thoughts provoked they want like emotions stoked. (Submitted by a Business Therapist

     RE: Is the Facebook Ad Boycott an Opportunity for Publishers?

    I can see the pitch right now: "Guaranteed: your ad will not appear anywhere close to Nazi propaganda." (Submitted by a Vice-President of Operations)

     Re: National Enquirer publisher AMI lands deal to stay afloat

    AMI and Pecker have more lives than a hundred cats. (Submitted by a Publisher)

     Re: ‘The right question changes everything’: The New Yorker launches a new brand campaign

    Hi Bo, Every now and then, you need to stop and say to yourself, “Thank you, New Yorker.”  If this challenged and troubled country recovers from its present malaise, which I believe it will, The New Yorker will have been a significant factor in its salvation.  (Submitted by a Publisher)     FOR THE COMPLETE ARTICLE CLICK HERE

    by BoSacks Readers
    Posted June 28, 2020
    (0) Comments

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